There is no denying that the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is one sharp-looking SUV. With a brand-new third row, it’s even more practical than ever before. However, as the Grand Cherokee L marks a major leap forward for the model, it retained one ancient drawback. This is because, according to FCA, its brand-new SUV isn’t exactly all-new, especially when you look under the hood.
What is wrong with the Jeep Grand Cherokee L?
The Jeep Grand Cherokee L arrives as a replacement for one of the brand’s best-selling and most important models. For 2021, the large SUV receives some major improvements, such as a redesigned aesthetic and an interior that truly looks premium. However, FCA also announced that this new model would carry over some of the previous model’s engines. This means that under the hood, you’ll find some of FCA’s usual suspects.
The first engine available for the Jeep Grand Cherokee L is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that FCA uses across many of its models. According to FCA, this engine is set to develop 290 hp and 257 lb-ft under the hood of this SUV. While this may seem like a good thing, it is worth remembering that this dual overhead cam 24-valve V6 is over a decade old at this point. As a result, this brand-new SUV already has an aging heart.
The second and more powerful engine available for the Jeep Grand Cherokee L is actually a V8. As you may expect, it is FCA’s naturally-aspirated 5.7-liter V8. In this application, the engine develops 357 hp and 390 lb-ft. Like the V6, this powertrain isn’t exactly brand-new. In fact, this Hemi V8 made its debut in the Grand Cherokee all the way back in 2005. However, this powertrain can trace its roots to the 2003 Ram 1500.
What problems could these powertrains bring?
As you might imagine, aging engines don’t exactly spell excellent fuel economy for the Jeep Grand Cherokee L. According to Consumer Reports, its main concern regarding this new model’s release is the potentially poor fuel economy. If we look at the current fuel consumption figures for the standard Grand Cherokee, we get an average of 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway for the V6. The V8, on the other hand, consumes 14 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.
Once we factor that the Grand Cherokee L is physically larger and likely heavier than the smaller standard model, these fuel consumption figures may go down. In contrast, the base 2.3-liter turbocharged engine in the Ford Explorer offers more power than the Jeep’s V6 at 300 hp. Additionally, it is more efficient, consuming 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.
In terms of power, the largest turbo-V6 engine in the Explorer develops 400 hp and is still more efficient than the Jeep’s weaker V8, consuming 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee L has an ace up its sleeve
The big plot-twist to this Jeep Grand Cherokee L story is that FCA announced that a brand-new plug-in hybrid variant would arrive eventually. According to Car and Driver, this brand-new SUV will get the same powertrain as the Wrangler 4xe. In the off-roader, the 2.0-liter turbocharged hybrid engine develops 375 hp.
More impressively, the electrified powertrain reportedly delivers an estimated 50 MPGe. As a result, you may be better off waiting so you can get the very best out of the Jeep Grand Cherokee L.