2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
Patrick Rall's picture

New Jeep Grand Cherokee L Relies on Proven Drivetrain Bits

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L has a new body, chassis and interior, but it is motivated by a pair of award-winning engines and a collection of drivetrain components which have been proven to be worthy of the Trail Rated badge.
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Last week, we brought you a first look at the all-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L. This is the first three-row Grand Cherokee, but more importantly, it ushers in the next generation of the legendary SUV. Available only in three-row “L” form at first, there will be a traditional two-row model and a hybrid electric 4xe model later this year, completing the main rollout of the next generation vehicle.

Jeep is marketing the Grand Cherokee L as being all-new and the vast majority of the vehicle is new. The chassis is new, leading to the longer wheelbase and overall length. That extra length provides space for the third row of seats in the all-new interior and of course, the new chassis needed a new body. Jeep didn’t just add some length to the rear end of the current Grand Cherokee – this body has an entirely new form.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Side

However, there is one key area where the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is not all-new, and that is in the drivetrain department. This new SUV showcases the same award-winning Pentastar V6 and Hemi V8 engines as most of the other vehicles in the company’s lineup, along with the familiar ZF transmissions and a trio of four-wheel-drive systems that have been put to the test in other models.

Pentastar and Hemi Power
The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is offered in every Chrysler, Dodge, Ram and Jeep vehicle that is available with a V6. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is the standard powerplant in literally every V8-powered Dodge, Chrysler, Ram and Jeep vehicle. Over the past decade, millions of vehicles have been sold with these engines and along the way, both the Pentastar and the Hemi have piled-up awards. Not surprisingly, Jeep has chosen these as the two engine options for the 2021 Grand Cherokee L when it goes on sale later this year.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L V6

The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is the standard engine in all four of the initial trim levels of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L. Offering 290 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque, this spunky V6 is mated to the ZF 8HP70 8-speed automatic transmission and the buyer’s choice of rear- or four-wheel-drive. Realistically, we expect that the vast majority of these will be equipped with four-wheel-drive, but I have seen a rear-drive Grand Cherokee in the past. In either rear- or four-wheel-drive form, the new Grand Cherokee L with the V6 can tow 6,200 pounds.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Hemi V8

The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is optional on the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L in Limited, Overland and Summit trim, but it is only available with four-wheel-drive. It delivers 357 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque with help from the same ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. When powered by the Hemi, the new Grand Cherokee L can tow up to 7,200 pounds.

Four-Wheel-Drive Systems
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is available with three four-wheel-drive systems, including Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II.

Quadra-Trac I is a single-speed system with the ability to transfer 100% of engine power to one axle when traction becomes an issue. Quadra-Trac II can also shift all of the power to one axle, but it is utilizes a two-speed transfer case. Active four-low torque control with a 2.72:1 gear ratio offers instant traction in loose footing.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Front

The premium four-wheel-drive system is Quadra-Drive II, featuring a two-speed active transfer case with a rear electronic locking differential. Available on Overland models with the Off-Road Group and standard on Summit models, this system also offers a 2.72:1 low gear for great grip in the worst conditions.

Advanced Suspension Systems
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee suspension features a multi-link independent front setup with aluminum arms and knuckles, coil springs and gas-charged, twin-tube coilover shock absorber. In the rear is another multi-link setup with aluminum arms and knuckles, coil springs over gas-charged, twin tube shock absorbs, which include a load-leveling feature on models with the Trailer Tow Group. This suspension system is standard on Laredo and Limited models.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee LShift Knob

The 2021 Grand Cherokee L Overland and Summit models come with the Quadra-Lift air suspension system. This air suspension setup features electronic active damping with five different settings, all of which have their own unique ride heights. Normal mode offers 8.3 inches of ground clearance. Off-Road 1 lifts the vehicles by 1.6 inches while Off-Road 2 lifts the vehicle by 2.4 inches for a total of 10.9 inches of ground clearance. When driving on the highway, Aero mode aids in fuel economy by lowering the vehicle 0.8 inches and it is activated based on speed, but Aero mode is also a part of the Sport drive mode.

Finally, Park Mode lowers the 2021 Grand Cherokee L by 1.8 inches to make for easier loading of passengers and cargo.

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is almost entirely new, but it relies on proven drivetrain and suspension components, ensuring that it will offer the level of capability expected of every Jeep vehicle.


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