2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

The wide range of trims and off-road capability of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee make it easy to find a version of this SUV that suits your every need.

3 months ago
Nicole Wakelin
Contributor
PROS
  • Wide range of trim levels
  • Four engine choices
  • Legendary off-road chops
  • Outrageous 707-hp Trackhawk has extreme appeal
CONS
  • Fuel economy is middling to bad, particularly with V8 variants
  • Pricing escalates quickly from base to upper trims
  • Big footprint for a five-passenger SUV

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a midsize, five-passenger SUV that was introduced back in 1993. It has an upscale interior and impressive off-road capability courtesy of one of its four available 4×4 systems. It’s big enough to handle cargo, can tow, and even comes in a performance focused Trackhawk trim for those who put a priority on power. There’s also a special anniversary edition to celebrate the brand’s 80th birthday. The wide range of trims and off-road capability of the Grand Cherokee make it easy to find a version of this SUV that suits your every need. Pricing for the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee starts around $34,000.

Grand Cherokee Exterior

The Grand Cherokee looks like a Jeep with that iconic seven-slot grille as its most prominent feature. It has a bold, rugged design that hints at its genuine capability. This isn’t an SUV that simply looks like it can climb a mountain. You find the mountain and the Grand Cherokee is up to the task. There’s a minimum of 8.6 inches of ground clearance, climbing up to 10.8 inches in trims equipped with air suspension.

The most trail-ready trim of the lot – the Traillhawk – boasts Goodyear All-Terrain Adventure tires with Kevlar reinforcement to further assist with off-road exploring. There’s also an approach angle of up to 36.1 degrees and a departure angle of up to 27.1 degrees to help keep your bumpers in one piece on steep terrain. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is designed top-to-bottom for off-road adventures.

Grand Cherokee Interior

As rugged as the Grand Cherokee is, the interior puts a priority on passenger comfort. Seating is plush and comfortable with available leather trims and heated seats. It steps up to luxury territory in top trims, but there’s nothing delicate or fragile about this interior. It never forgets it’s a Jeep and will be seeing some mud and dirt. The interior is up to the challenge.

There’s a large 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen on all but the base Laredo trim, which has a 7-inch touchscreen. Standard features for the Uconnect system include two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto for seamless smartphone connectivity. The system is easy to use with intuitive menus that reduce frustration and distraction and won’t confuse passengers who are new to its features.

The interior is roomy so even second-row passengers have plenty of space to spread out. Three adults can easily make a go of it without feeling like sardines in a can. Even with a full load of people, there’s room for cargo with 36.3 cubic feet behind the second row. If you don’t need the seating, fold those seats down for 68.3 cubic feet of cargo room. There are also eight cargo tie-down loops on the floor to keep everything secure.

If whatever you need to take along for the ride is too big to fit inside, the Grand Cherokee still has you covered with its ability to tow. It has a maximum tow rating of up to 7,200 pounds.

Grand Cherokee Powertrain

There are four powertrains available for the Grand Cherokee and a choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Most of the lineup has a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 (295 horsepower/260 lb-ft of torque) paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission with the option for a more powerful 5.7-liter V8 (360 hp/390 lb-ft of torque). The Laredo has only the V6 while the SRT gets a 6.4-liter V8 (475 hp/470 lb-ft of torque) as its only engine. The Trackhawk gets a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 (707 hp/645 lb-ft of torque) that’s the most powerful of the bunch.

That wide range of engines comes with an equally wide range of fuel economy ratings, but none are especially fuel efficient. The V6 with rear-wheel drive gets 19 mpg combined while the thirsty supercharged V8 gets only 13 mpg combined and comes with a recommendation for 91-octane fuel. Plan your engine choice and your fuel budget accordingly.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

Grand Cherokee Driving Experience

The Grand Cherokee offers different driving experiences depending on the engine you choose. We drove the full range of engines, including the supercharged V8, which delivers exactly the track-worthy drive experience you’d expect. The 295-horsepower V6 that’s standard for most trims does a great job of getting the Grand Cherokee up to highway speeds. Choose one of the two available V8 engines for a more responsive ride that not only accelerates more quickly but is better suited to towing thanks to the additional torque that comes with the extra power.

Regardless of what’s under the hood, the Grand Cherokee has a smooth ride that belies its size and off-road capability. Cruising at highway speeds it’s quiet and comfortable making it an ideal family-hauler for those long road trips. There’s a minimum of road and wind noise with a suspension system that evens out rough pavement, even in off-road trims like the Trailhawk.

Venture off-road and the Grand Cherokee changes personalities becoming a capable off-roader that makes short work of deep mud, rocky slopes, and uneven terrain. This SUV isn’t small, yet it’s easy to maintain control and you don’t feel its bulk even over more challenging surfaces.

The Grand Cherokee delivers has a split personality. It puts passenger comfort first with good on-road driving dynamics while still being able to handle rugged off-road driving with ease.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trim Levels and Pricing

The base Grand Cherokee starts at around $34,000 and the line tops out at around $88,000. It is offered in nine trim levels with RWD and 4WD models:

  • Laredo RWD/Laredo 4WD (starts at about $34,000) – This is the base model with the V6 engine only and 7-inch infotainment screen.
  • Limited RWD/Limited 4WD (starts at about $40,500) – Adds leather-trimmed seats and an 8.4-inch infotainment screen.
  • 80th Anniversary Edition RWD/80th Anniversary Edition 4WD (starts at about $43,000) – A special edition that includes unique exterior badging and the ProTech II package standard.
  • Trailhawk 4WD (starts at about $46,000) – An off-road focused trim with increased suspension travel and two red front tow hooks
  • Overland RWD/Overland 4WD (starts at about $47,000) – Adds dual-pane panoramic sunroof and Nappa leather-trimmed seats
  • High Altitude RWD/High Altitude 4WD (starts at about $50,000) – Adds headlamp washers, LED fog lamps, and Granite exterior accents.
  • Summit RWD/Summit 4WD (starts at about $53,000) – Upgrades include 19-speaker Harmon Kardon audio and adaptive cruise control with stop.
  • SRT 4WD (starts at about $69,500) – Includes a standard 6.4-liter V8 engine, sport hood, and rear spoiler
  • Trackhawk 4WD (starts at about $88,000) – Adds a standard 6.2-liter supercharged V8 and suede and Nappa performance seats. 

If you are looking for a more accurate idea of pricing, you can build and price a Grand Cherokee on Jeep’s official web site.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

Grand Cherokee Best Features

The Grand Cherokee’s best feature is its ability to be all things to all people. It’s a luxurious, comfortable SUV with plenty of room for passengers and cargo. It’s also a capable off-roader for those who plan to go past where the pavement ends. Finally, there’s the available supercharged engine that make it ideal for spending time at the track. Whatever your priorities, the Grand Cherokee has you covered.

What is Our Favorite Version of the Grand Cherokee?

We pick the Overland (starts at about $47,000), which sits roughly in the middle of the Grand Cherokee lineup. It has a good range of standard equipment, an available V8 engine for those who crave more power, and a choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive depending on your propensity for off-roading.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

Grand Cherokee Notable Safety Features

The Grand Cherokee has a solid list of standard safety features common to the full lineup. The one exception is forward collision warning with active braking. This is not available at all on the base Laredo and is only available as part of the ProTech II package on the Limited, Trailhawk, and Overland. It’s a standard feature on the 80th Anniversary, Summit, SRT, and Trackhawk.

Who Should Buy a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee?

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has wide appeal as a roomy SUV with a well-equipped and comfortable interior. It has the space families need for kids to spread out and for carrying along all their stuff. It’s also a good option for those who want a luxurious SUV when they go off-roading without moving up to the cost of a true luxury brand. It’s equally suited to empty-nesters with road trip adventures in their future.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

CarExpert’s Take on the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is unique for its combination of features. Every trim is roomy and comfortable with increasing levels of luxury as you move through the lineup. Every trim is also capable with available four-wheel drive that makes it well-suited to rough weather and rugged trails.

Not content to stop there, Jeep also offers a performance version of the Grand Cherokee in the Trackhawk, which still has the capability to go off-road. If you’re looking for a roomy, attractive SUV with off-road chops and powerful engines, then the Jeep Grand Cherokee should be on your list.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

Grand Cherokee Competitors to Consider

  • Chevrolet Traverse
  • Dodge Durango
  • Ford Edge
  • GMC Terrain
  • Hyundai Palisade
  • Kia Telluride
  • Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  • Lexus GX
  • Subaru Ascent
  • Toyota 4Runner


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OVERALL RATING7.9
Show Breakdown
Cost of Ownership 8.4
Ride Comfort 8.1
Safety 8
Fit for Purpose 8.5
Handling Dynamics 8
Interior Practicality and Space 7.9
Fuel Efficiency 6.1
Value for Money 7.6
Performance 8.3
Technology Infotainment 8.4