The Jeep Grand Cherokee has since its initial launch in 1992 been regarded as one of the quintessential off-roaders. A pioneer in the then fairly unknown medium-sized SUV market segment, it represented itself as a new option for buyers wanting more space and off-road ability. The first-gen Grand Cherokee, now known as the ZJ, is an all-time favourite in the off-road and overlanding community. However the last few generations has deviated from this heritage with more on-road focus and less emphas on off-roading capability. According to its makers, however, the new-gen (now the fifth iteration of this legendary vehicle) promises to be a beast both on and off-road.
The 2021 model will be based on an all-new architecture and is set to boast some styling changes. The new architecture provides a third row which is something Jeep owners have been hoping and asking for. It also provides better handling, better durability and is versatile and comfortable. The Grand Cherokee’s off-road tech will be groundbreaking in its class, if reports are to be believed. It will have Jeep’s Quadra tech namely Quadra-Trac I in some specs and Quadra-Trac II in the higher off-road spec’s.
Quadra-Trac I is basically a single-speed active transfer case that uses sensors to adjusts the vehicle’s torque pre-emptively as to ensure that the wheels with the most traction have it available. This is achieved with multiple sensors. The Quadra-Trac II is identical to its counterpart except that it comes with the addition of a two-speed active transfer case instead of one speed. The final variation of this off-road system is the Quadra-drive II. Again similar to its predecessor, it comes now boasts an addition to a rear eLSD which prevents rear tire slip and loss of traction. It is, according to Jeep, industry-leading technology. The Jeep will also be available with Qudra lift which is the normal Jeep air suspension — certainly a welcome addition to some and a nuisance to others. It all depends on what your application for the vehicle will be.
The Grand Cherokee will come with Selec Terrain mode, offering five different modes including: Auto, Sport, Rock and sand/mud. The Selec Terrain mode will help control the traction control and torque; as well as power output and adjust on the fly depending on the terrain in front of you. This will allow you to only focus on the steering aspect of off-roading, similar to Toyota’s crawl control. Although all these off-road systems look to be impressive I suspect it will still be a far cry from the original ZJ. Do not expect a hard-core off-roader, rather expect a luxury buffy somewhat capable cruiser.
Regarding the powertrains available: we have the all-aluminium 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine with 213kW and 250Nm of torque, a 5.7 litre V8 with 263kW and 530Nm of torque. There has yet to be an announcement dealing with the diesel-powered engine. We certainly expect (and hope) for a diesel powertrain option for the Euro, Australia and African markets. As for the vehicle’s safety features, it will boast all the modern tech we have come to expect such as:
- Full-Speed Collision Warning with Active Braking and Pedestrian/Cyclist Detection
- Rear Cross Path detection
- Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go
- Active Lane Management
- LaneSense Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist
- Advanced Brake Assist
- Blind-spot Monitoring
- ParkView rear back-up camera
- ParkSense rear park assist sensors with stop
- Switch-activated electric park brake
- Tire-pressure monitoring
The interior which is said to be luxurious and comfortable will boast Jeep’s all new connect 5 system which has the following tech:
- 8.4-inch or 10.1-inch digital touchscreen
- Five user profiles plus a valet mode – customizable music preferences, apps, seat position, mirror angles and climate comfort levels
- Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Fully customizable home screen for quick access to frequently used features and one-touch operation
- Simultaneous connectivity for two Bluetooth-enabled phones
- Alexa “Home to Car” functionality to include in-vehicle Alexa virtual assistant with natural voice capability and “Car to Home” features
- All-new Uconnect mobile app
- SiriusXM 360L platform and new Personalized Stations Powered by Pandora
- TomTom navigation with predictive search, natural speak and live traffic updates
- Maps OTA updates at the push of a button for Uconnect NAV system
- 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot to connect up to eight wireless devices
The vehicle is said to be launched internationally later this year and is expected to hit the US market at the start of the 2nd quarter of 2021.