The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Isn’t Weakened By Its Unibody Frame

Gasp! The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L has a unibody frame. How could it? That’s so UNJEEP. What is it? Like the dang Honda Ridgeline? Alright, before we freak out further, we will take a deep breath because the Jeep Grand Cherokee is still pretty epic without having a body-on-frame design. 

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L sports a unibody frame 

Wow, even though 2020 is over, the surprises keep on coming. The new three-row Jeep Cherokee just made its debut after the three-row Jeep Grand Wagoneer came out. Also, don’t forget about the V8-powered Wrangler Rubicon 392 and hybrid-powered Wrangler 4xe. 

But this post is about the Grand Cherokee L. The L is for large, and despite having a unibody frame, it’s still in charge. In fact, according to AutoBlog, every Grand Cherokee that has come before it has had a unibody chassis, and they still proved themselves as excellent Jeep models. 

Typically, body-on-frame designs are seen as the better off-roading option. The body is mounted to the frame and allows more suspension travel, is more resistant to mud, dirt, snow, etc., and is usually mounted higher. 

A gray 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve in a forest
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve | FCA

Body-on-frame vehicles tend to have stronger hauling and towing capabilities thanks to their sturdy foundations and tolerance for torsional flexing. Also, they can be cheaper to build and repair. 

Unibody vehicles have the chassis and body together. They have a lower center of gravity to provide a smoother ride and allow SUVs to handle like cars.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a luxury vehicle. It needs a smooth ride. The Toyota 4Runner has a body-on-frame design and is noted for being stiff and bumpy. Unibody frames have also been viewed as safer and help provide a better fuel economy. 

The Grand Cherokee L is still a beefy off-roader 

About 60-percent of the 2021 Grand Jeep Cherokee L frame is composed of high-strenght steel. Aluminum is used for the hood, hatch, shock towers, and front subframe to keep the weight down too.

A multi-link independent suspension is used at all four corners, and an adjustable air suspension is available. With the standard suspension, you get an 8.5-inch ground clearance. The Jeep Wrangler has a 9.7-inch standard ground clearance, so it’s not far behind. 

RELATED: How Reliable Is the Jeep Grand Cherokee?

You can use the air suspension to raise the ground clearance to 10.9-inches. With this height, the approach, break over, and departure levels are raised to about 30.1, 22.6, and 32.6 degrees. The Jeep Wrangler Sport has a 41.4-degree approach angle, 25.0-degree break-over angle, and 35.9-degree departure angle. 

Plus, there are three four-wheel-drive systems available. 

  • The Quadra-Trac I is a single-speed automatic system 
  • The Quadra-Trac II is also an automatic system but adds low-range gears. 
  • The Quadra-Drive II adds an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, skid-plates, and 18-inch wheels with all-season tires. 

Plus, the Grand Cherokee L’s 4×4 system can automatically disconnect from the front axle when it isn’t needed to save fuel. 

What else do we know about the Grand Cherokee L? 

The Jeep Grand Cherokee L has two engine options. The 3.6-liter V6 pumps out 290 hp and 257 lb-ft of torque and can tow up to 6,200 lb. The optional 5.7-liter V8 provides 357 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque and can tow up to 7,200 lb. 

An image of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L outdoors.
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L | FCA

While the Grand Cherokee L is entering production soon, we won’t see the upcoming 4xe hybrid models until a little later this year. Verison of the Jeep Cherokee with two rows will have a brand new frame too, but we don’t know much about it yet.