Comparison Review: Grand Cherokee L vs Grand Cherokee
Jeep's already comprehensive SUV range continues to expand and improve, with the Grand Cherokee gaining an extended three-row sibling in the form of the Grand Cherokee L. Beyond the extra size, is it worth switching to the new model? Read our Grand Cherokee vs Grand Cherokee L review to find out.
Extra Row, More Space
The most immediate change is the addition of a third row in the L model, taking the seating capacity up from five to seven. The extra space also means more room for cargo, with the L boasting up to 2,395L compared to the regular Grand Cherokee's 1,934L
The new Grand Cherokee L model is initially available with two engine options. The base trim has a chunky 3.6L V6 making 295 horsepower and 260lb-ft of torque. And while this is more than enough for almost any daily task, the move to the three-row format means the more powerful 5.2L V8 makes a lot of sense, with its ratings of 360 horsepower and 390lb-ft.
The regular Grand Cherokee can be equipped with either of those two engines, but also has a pair of even higher-powered options available. First, a 6.4L V8 pushes the ponies up to 475 hp while boosting the torque to 470lb-ft. But for the highest power in the whole Grand Cherokee lineup, choose the two-row Trackhawk edition with its supercharged 6.2L V8 making a mammoth 707 horsepower and 645lb-ft, safely one of the highest outputs available in the mid-size SUV class.
But whichever engine you choose on either vehicle, it'll be paired with the same eight-speed automatic transmission and your choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.
The regular Grand Cherokee enjoyed a great standard of infotainment technology, but the new L model takes things a significant step further. The standard 7" touchscreen is replaced by a more generous 8.4" version with 10.1" available, although the smaller SUV can have the 8.4" model as an option. Perhaps more significant is the upgrade of the digital display cluster from a constricted 7" in the Grand Cherokee to an expansive 10.25" format in the Grand Cherokee L.
The three-row Grand Cherokee has a few other improvements alongside, with the optional in-built navigation benefiting from real-time traffic and weather updates, available wireless charging, and an optional Wi-Fi hotspot facility.
Both SUVs are equipped with a similar range of active safety systems, including forward collision warnings, automated emergency braking, lane departure warnings, lane keep assist, and more. However, the L adds pedestrian and cyclist detection to the collision warnings, plus the promise of self-driving capability within a few months of release.
Jeep Grand Cherokee vs Grand Cherokee L Review: The Verdict
If you want a third row in a Grand Cherokee, then the L model is your only option. However, the improved infotainment technology is also a convincing reason to make the switch. But if you need high-end power for daily driving or off-roading, the regular Grand Cherokee still holds the edge until new powertrain options become available for the L.