There are quite a few full-size SUVs on the market out there, so looking at all of your options and finding the right one can be tricky. And yet, despite all the competition, Jeep has seen fit to introduce a new one just to make things more complicated – or, at least, a new variant on an old classic. I’m, of course, referring to the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee L, which is set to hit the road in the next few months. More than a new trim level for the popular Grand Cherokee, there are some pretty significant differences with this model.
First and foremost is the fact that this model has a third row of seating, which is really what sets it apart from other Grand Cherokees. It’s big and bold, with an available 4×4 and a Selec-Terrain traction management system, so you can enjoy it just as you would any other Jeep vehicle. But with three rows of seats, you can have more passengers along for your next big adventure. So, is this new Jeep Grand Cherokee L the right choice for you, or should you go with the classic Grand Cherokee?
Jeep Grand Cherokee L – Size and Style
I could pretty easily argue the size and style are the defining characteristics of the Jeep Grand Cherokee L since they’re going to be the major selling points for a lot of people. So I figured I’d start here. Essentially, the Grand Cherokee L is a new version of the Grand Cherokee that comes with more room inside for seating.
Now for the bad news: right now, I can’t tell you precisely how much larger the L is than the standard Grand Cherokee. Jeep hasn’t released those exact specs yet on this new model, so we’re going to be sticking to general terms here rather than clear math and numbers. Still, there’s enough to have a pretty good sense of how it all shakes out.
The biggest advantage to the Jeep Grand Cherokee L in terms of overall size is the fact that it has a third row of seating. This is the first time that three rows of seats have ever been offered for the Grand Cherokee, so that’s a big deal. The addition of this third row means you can now fit up to seven people inside the Jeep Grand Cherokee L: two in the front, two in the middle, and three on a bench seat in the rear.
Despite the addition of the third row of seats, there’s still plenty of room for passengers, particularly in the front and second row. Jeep has specifically mentioned “spacious second-row legroom,” which is great, but I can’t help but notice they haven’t called the third row “spacious.” I’m going to guess that means it’ll be a bit cramped for a full-size adult, but it should be a terrific option for kids to sit in the rear with adults in the front and second row. Or if you have a friend or cousin that kind of annoys you, then stick them in the back and delight in their discomfort. I’m not going to judge. However, since we don’t yet have specifics, we can’t be sure what the back row legroom will be like, and it may be comfortable for adults but simply not as spacious as the second row.
Jeep Grand Cherokee L – Performance
Again, because we don’t have all of the specs yet on the Jeep Grand Cherokee L, I can’t say with 100% accuracy exactly how it will perform. However, there are some details available, which give me enough info to make some judgments. Overall, the L is going to be a great choice for anyone looking to conquer the road (and off-road).
Jeep has mentioned an available 5.7L V8 engine, which tells me that it will likely have the same two engines that most standard Grand Cherokees have. That means it will probably start with the standard 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine, which offers up to 295 hp and up to 260 lb-ft of torque. The available 5.7L V8 engine would then be the one that delivers up to 360 hp and up to 390 lb-ft of torque for improved performance.
This makes sense since Jeep has said the Grand Cherokee L will have up to 7,200 lbs of maximum towing capacity available with a 5.7L V8 engine, so it’s safe to assume that the specs will fall in line with those of the regular Grand Cherokee. The Grand Cherokee L will also be available with 4×4 and Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction management system, with settings for five different terrain modes, including snow and mud. It will also have an available Quadra-Lift suspension system with electronic adaptive dampening that lowers the vehicle on the highway to reduce drag and improve efficiency.
It’s clear the L has impressive performance and excellent off-road functionality – that suspension can adjust automatically for rough off-road conditions too. It also has up to 24 inches of water fording ability. So whether you prefer the trail or the highway, this is going to be a great option that’s fun to drive and has seating for big groups.
Jeep Grand Cherokee L – Luxury and Technology
From what I’ve seen so far, the interior of the Jeep Grand Cherokee L is absolutely gorgeous, and Jeep has really gone all out with this. In fact, the features here are quite a bit better than what you can get in the standard Grand Cherokee in some ways. I’m sure the standard model will likely catch up next year, but for now, the L really gets to shine.
For example, there are 16-way power adjustable front seats available, with memory and massage features, soft leather trimming, and quad-zone automatic temperature control. That gives you amazing control over the climate inside your vehicle to keep everyone comfortable. Plus, ambient LED lighting creates a warm, comfortable environment that your passengers will really love.
There’s an available 10-inch infotainment display that looks fantastic, as well as an available full-color 10-inch head-up display that projects turn-by-turn navigation information and more onto the windshield. For audio, there’s an available McIntosh 17-channel sound system with 19 custom-designed speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer. This is the first time McIntosh sound has been available in a full-size SUV. While an available rear-seat monitoring camera lets you keep an eye on what’s going on in the rear of the vehicle without having to turn around and take your attention away from the road.
All of that’s without even mentioning the impressive new safety tech available. This includes things like intersection collision assist to warn you about risks coming from multiple directions, available active driving assist that helps with adaptive cruise control, and an available drowsy driver detection system that can warn you if you seem to be fading behind the wheel. There’s even an available night vision camera system that can scan for pedestrians and animals more than 200 yards ahead of you and outline their positions on the instrument cluster display.
Which Model is Right for You?
So, should you be looking at the standard Grand Cherokee or the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee L? Obviously, the number of passengers you need to take with you is going to be a big part of this decision. If you want three rows of seats for up to seven people, then the L is definitely the way to go. But even if you don’t need all that seating, the impressive performance and incredible interior features are going to make the L a fantastic choice.
The only real drawback is that so far, Jeep hasn’t announced a performance trim for the L. If you like the power of the SRT or Trackhawk trims available for the standard Grand Cherokee, then you won’t find them on the L – at least not right away. Of course, Jeep could certainly announce something in the future, but for now, it’s a point to consider.