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Jeep has finally ripped the covers off its crucial fifth-generation Grand Cherokee large SUV, which will be available in three-row L form as well as the standard five-seat version, and is due to touch down in Australian showrooms in from late 2021.
Built on a new unibody architecture designed to improve ride and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels, box-fresh Grand Cherokee aims to pair rugged off-road capabilities with comfort, style, safety and technology, according to Jeep.
The bonnet and tailgate are now made from high-strength aluminium to reduce weight and improve fuel economy, while the front axle is now mounted directly to the engine.
Underneath, front and rear independent suspension features, while all versions of the Grand Cherokee L will be fitted with a form of Jeep’s ‘Quadra’ 4x4 system and an active transfer case.
New however, is the ability to automatically disconnect the front axle to keep the Grand Cherokee L in rear-drive mode until the system detects that extra traction is needed.
The Grand Cherokee L will also be available with a ‘Quadra-Lift’ air suspension system, which increase approach, departure and breakover angles to as much as 30.1, 23.6 and 22.6 degrees respectively.
The set-up can also boost ground clearance from the standard 212mm to 277mm, while also being able to lower the car by 46mm once parked to ease ingress/egress.
Jeep’s ‘Selec-Terrain’ drive selector is also on offer, able to be toggled into Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow and Mud/Sand settings depending on environment.
Powering the new Grand Cherokee L (at least when it launches) is a choice of two carryover petrol engines – a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 and a 5.7-litre V8 – both paired to an eight-speed ‘TorqueFlite’ automatic transmission.
Jeep has also confirmed an electrified 4xe option will arrive later, though whether that comes to Australia is still unclear given the limited local appetite for plug-in SUVs and the decision not to bring in 4xe versions of the Wrangler, Compass and now-discontinued Renegade.
There is no word yet on whether the new-generation Grand Cherokee will be available with a diesel engine.
The 3.6-litre V6 is a carryover from before, but now makes 216kW/348Nm in the US market, with a braked towing capacity of up to around 2800kg.
For reference, the current 3.6-litre V6 found in the Grand Cherokee produces 213kW/347Nm and can also tow up to 2800kg.
The US-spec V8 engine meanwhile, makes 266kW/529Nm, can tow up to around 3200kg and sports cylinder deactivation technology that can increase fuel economy by up to 20 per cent.
Compared to the existing V8-powered Grand Cherokee, the new version ups outputs by 7kW/9Nm.
From the outside, the new Grand Cherokee is easily distinguished by new slimmed-down LED head- and tail-lights, a wider seven-slot front grille, reworked glasshouse, tailgate spoiler and integrated exhaust tips.
A gloss-black roof is also available on some grades to add a touch more luxury to the Grand Cherokee L.
Inside, occupants will notice a new Uconnect 5 multimedia system measuring 8.4 inches as standard, but also available at 10.1-inch size that also adds wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality on top of features like satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and 4G mobile hot-spotting.
Other interior appointments include a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, leather-rapped steering wheel, power-adjustable front seats with massaging function, heated and cooled seats, four-zone climate control, premium McIntosh sound system, powered tailgate, head-up display, and sunroof.
Some Grand Cherokee L grades are also fitted with second-row captain’s chairs, which provide a bit more lateral room for occupants.
Safety wise, Jeep is touting traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, driver attention alert, lane-keep assist, night-vision camera, 9.2-inch digital rearview display, surround-view monitor, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, rear-seat monitoring camera, and tyre pressure monitor.
Storage volume is also key to the Grand Cherokee L’s appeal, and with the 50:50 split fold third row stowed, it can swallow around 1328 litres, expanding to nearly 2400L with the flat-folding second-row seats tucked away.
Jeep’s new Grand Cherokee will be built in a new Detroit facility, while trim levels will include Laredo, Limited, Overland and Summit at launch – at least for the US market.
Exact dimensions for the Grand Cherokee L are yet to be revealed, but the wheelbase measures 3091mm in length.
Full pricing and specs are yet to be confirmed for the Australian versions though, but Jeep Australia head of corporate communications Tracie Stoltenburg said more details will surface closer to the Grand Cherokee’s launch.
“The product specifications of the Grand Cherokee L revealed today are specific to North America,” she said.
“We will provide more information on the timing and specifications of the Grand Cherokee L for Australia closer to the local launch.”
For reference, the current Australian Grand Cherokee line-up starts at $59,950 before on-road costs for the Night Eagle entry grade, and extends to $139,950 for the performance-focussed Trackhawk.
CarsGuide also understands that Jeep's Australian dealers were given a preview of this new model from as early as February 2020 when Jeep's global boss Christian Meunier came Down Under.