The Jeep Grand Cherokee L has landed in New Zealand, the first few examples making their way to dealers this week, and the first shipment of vehicles arriving soon. It’s Jeep’s big new seven seater, a configuration the American brand has not been able to offer since the demise of the (short-lived) Commander in the mid-2000s. And this sure is big, with genuine presence at 5.2m long, 2m wide and 1.8m high.
This all-new machine, on a fresh unibody platform, arrives before the Grand Cherokee, the shorter one with just five seats, which is tentatively due here in the last quarter of the year. And there will be a plug-in hybrid of that model available with an ETA of Q1 2023. No such fuel friendly option for the L at this stage however, a 3.6-litre petrol V6 the only option with 210kW and 344Nm asked to haul the 2.2 tonne Jeep. It has a decent eight-speed auto to help out, and being a Jeep, permanent AWD is a given. Fuel consumption is stated at 10.6L/100km combined, although the WLTP3 figures from Rightcar equate to 11.9L/100km and 271g/km. That means a CCD fee of $4887.50.
The L comes in three flavours; the $99,990 Night Eagle, the $104,990 Limited and the Summit Reserve, the one that has garnered the most interest from prospective buyers so far, is $134,990. Reflecting its price, each L is well specified. The ‘entry level’ Night Eagle comes leather trimmed, the seats powered and heated, with three zones of climate A/C and no less than 12 USB ports scattered throughout the cabin. An 8.4-inch screen displays the firm’s latest infotainment system, with Android Auto and CarPlay as standard while over the air updates are available to keep the new Tom Tom-based nav system up to the minute.
With a new electrical architecture, Jeep can offer the full array of active driving features including adaptive cruise with stop and go functionally and active lane keeping with semi-autonomous drive on motorways, though it’s still a hands-on, eyes-on system. New drowsy driver detection, traffic sign recognition and intersection collision assist all the make list too. There are myriad ways to configure the infotainment system, so too the 10-inch digital cluster.
Move up to the Limited and you get more niceties including the likes of a larger 10-inch infotainment screen, a higher grade of cow coverings and more seat heaters, premium sounds and more.
Step up to the Summit Reserve and you’re treated to quilted ‘Palermo’ leather, a black painted roof, 21-inch wheels (the biggest yet fitted to a Jeep), wood trim, a 19-speaker McIntosh sounds, power folding for the third row of seats, a 360 degree camera, self-parking and more. There’s a mechanical upgrade too with the fitment of a low range transfer case, and air springs make the grade with variable ride height including an Off-Road mode to increase the ground clearance.
Inside, the Grand Cherokee L displays a genuine step up in quality and luxury, especially in the top of the range Summit, the wood panels and quilted leather giving it a western feel. An optional Advanced Technology Group pack adds a colour head-up display, wireless charging, an infrared night vision camera and from MY22, there will be an interactive display for the front passenger to fiddle with.
Those in the rear do well for space, the second row with a straightforward folding mechanism to give good access to those seats in the rear, which are spacious enough for adults too, though kids are always a better fit back there. And parents can keep tabs on back seat antics with an interior camera feeding the image to the main screen upfront to literally give parents eyes in the back of their heads. Boot space is huge in five-seater mode, with a useful amount leftover in behind the third row when it’s in use too.
We’ll have a full review of the new Grand Cherokee L in the next issue of NZ Autocar magazine.