Did the 2021 Grand Jeep Cherokee L Copy the Ford Explorer?

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is here. It’s the Grand Cherokee that’s now large and in charge, because it has a third-row seat. However, did the Jeep Grand Cherokee L borrow anything from the Ford Explorer, which already serves as a midsize family hauler with three rows? 

Is the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L cheating off the Ford Explorer? 

Maybe. If you look at the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L and the Ford Explorer, you will notice some similarities. They both have a narrow grille with thin headlights that curve around the bumper. 

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L driving on wooded road
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L | Jeep

However, the Cherokee has the classic six slots in its grille, while the Explorer has horizontal lines going across. The Cherokee L just got a new face for 2021, but the Ford Explorer has been sporting this look for a few years. Both boxy SUVs also have narrowing sidelines toward their backends. But looks may be the only thing they have in common. 

The Jeep Grand Cherokee L vs. the Ford Explorer 

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L has an MSRP of about $38,690. That’s about $2,975 more than the two-row version. So, those extra seats in the third row cost about $3,000 extra. We hope they’re large enough to be worth it. Meanwhile, you can get started in the 2021 Ford Explorer for about $32,225. 

With the Explorer, you get a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder base engine with 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. You can upgrade to the 3.0-liter V6 for 365 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. Plus, the hybrid engine provides 318 hp and 322 lb-ft of torque. 

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The Grand Cherokee L has a 3.6-liter V6 base engine with 290 hp and 257 lb-ft of torque. You can upgrade to the 5.7-liter V8 engine for 357 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque.

The Grand Cherokee L 4xe may be available soon. Even though the Explorer has more ponies, it can only tow up to 5,600 lb, while the Cherokee L can tow up to 6,200 lb with the V6 engine and up to 7,200 lb with the V8. 

But both SUVs have a unibody frame and are offered in rear-wheel drive. However, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L is better suited for off-roading adventures thanks to its air suspension system that can provide additional ground clearance. But the new ford Explorer Timberline off-roading trim might be better equipped to compete. 

Jeep Grand Cherokee L and Ford Explorer features 

According to Traction Life, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L has 46.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. There are up to 84.6 cubic feet when the second and third-row are folded flat. 

The 2021 Ford Explorer has 18.2 cubic feet behind the third row with up to 87.8 cubic feet total. The third row has 38.9 inches of headroom and 32.2 inches of legroom. The Cherokee L only has 37.2 inches of headroom and 30.3 inches of legroom, so the third row is a little smaller.

The 2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch edition driving on a dirt road
2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch | Ford

Both SUVs have an optional 10.1-inch vertical touchscreen. Also, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. An available rear-seat entertainment system is available in the Grand Cherokee L too. 

Also, both SUVs have a long list of available safety features, including automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. However, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L hasn’t been tested by IIHS or the NHTSA for official safety ratings yet.