It’s a Jeep so above anything the brand has ever produced that it doesn’t even use the Jeep name. It simply goes by Grand Wagoneer and it’s the big, highly capable, opulent 3-row affluent Jeep owners have been waiting for. So watch out Escalade and Navigator; there’s a new 4X4 in town and it isn’t pulling any punches.
They’re both the same size – huge – but if you prefer your Wagoneer to be grand you’re going to need an extra $30,000 and an even more fervent desire for fossil fuels. Each premium fill up of its 26 gallon tank costs more than $100 in order to feed the 6.4-liter V8. Even with engineering tricks such as cylinder deactivation and a front-axle disconnect, consider yourself lucky if you get 15mpg. But the Grand Wagoneer’s story isn’t about fuel economy. It’s about oversized American opulence; a new choice for fat-cat families in the gigantic SUV segment. GM and Ford now have a new competitor to wrangle with and Jeep is coming in hot. But you can barely find the Jeep name on the Grand Wagoneer and if you go to Jeep’s retail site the Wagoneers receive their own special tab, so consider this a Jeep subbrand if you will.
This here is the penultimate Obsidian trim in the only monotone color choice; Diamond Black with a starting MSRP of just over $100,000. But despite the name, the Obsidian is also available in white, silver, red and blue. But even those colors receive 22” black wheels, black grille and badging, black interior accents and as a bonus a 23-speaker McIntosh audio system with a cool amp app to make you feel like you’re in a home theater. The sticker price of this one is $109,025 with the optional Rear-Seat Entertainment Group, Heavy Duty Trailer Tow Package and Convenience Group. But if the blacked-out treatment just isn’t for you, the Grand Wagoneer Series III is basically the Obsidian with more shiny metal and standard equipment starting at $4,000 more.
Not long ago, before every manufacturer offered one, if your family drove an SUV it was likely either a Ford Explorer or a Jeep Grand Cherokee. And over the past 3 decades the Grand Cherokee has advanced to the position of the flagship Jeep, with some trim levels so powerful and opulent that their price tags can rise above $100,000. But never has there been a Grand Cherokee big enough for a 3rd row. Enter the all-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L with 7-passenger seating. This Overland model is slotted below the more bougie Summit and Summit Reserve trims. It’s very well-appointed with softer leather seating, massage programs, the upsized 10” infotainment screen, a 19-speaker audio system, night vision, head-up display, power-folding seats and quad-zone climate control. So this one won’t leave you wanting and comes in fully optioned at $63,915. About $40,000 gets you into the Grand Cherokee L with 6 trims available, all with optional 4-wheel drive except Summit Reserve where that is standard. Another option is a V8, but only on Overland and higher. A little more polish and a tweak here and there could make it great or perhaps that’s where the upcoming Grand Wagoner picks up the slack.
Taking a drive out to nature should be a Zen-like experience. Now you can spec your Wrangler with a plug providing up to 25 miles of quiet 4X4 EV adventures. It’s kind of cool that the Wrangler would be the first Jeep offered in the states that can operate on electricity alone. The new 2021 4xe is exclusively available in the 4-door Unlimited bodystyle and comes in 3 trims with this Sahara being the entry-level model with a starting MSRP of $51,300 including destination but excluding the $7,500 federal income tax credit.
So here’s what I’ve gathered about the 4xe this week. When you’re on electric it’s really special but like all plug-ins, it’s appeal decreases once the 25 miles or so of electric is gone. After that it’s just another hybrid. Secondly, I don’t know if it’s just my test car but the air conditioning has trouble keeping up when in EV mode, kind of like some mild hybrids when you’re waiting at a stoplight And as always, remember that in the cold winter months your EV range may drop by over 40%. But all told I really like the 4xe. It drives well, it brakes and transitions power sources without any hybrid shortcomings. It’s a worthy precursor to an anticipated fully-electric Wrangler that could arrive in 2022.
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
Not long ago, before every manufacturer offered one if not more, if your family drove an SUV it was likely either a Ford Explorer or a Jeep Grand Cherokee. And over the past 3 decades, the Grand Cherokee has advanced to the position of the flagship Jeep, with some trim levels so powerful and opulent that their price tags can rise above $100,000. But never has there been a Grand Cherokee big enough for a 3rd row. Enter the all-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L with 7-passenger seating. Moving off of its German-derived platform for the first time in over a decade the unibody Grand Cherokee L now rides atop an Italian-born, rear- or all-wheel drive architecture preserving its iconic 4X4 capability while promising an even more premium experience on-road. Top of the line Overland and Summit models feature an updated air suspension with adaptive damping shocks that Jeep says delivers world-class driving dynamics. Combined with active engine mounts that stiffen at higher speeds and an enhanced noise cancellation system, this should be one very quiet and comfortable cruiser. The powertrains are familiar with the 290 horsepower Pentastar V6 serving as the standard engine and the don’t-call-me-a-HEMI 5.7-liter V8 an option on Overland and Summit. It’s rated at 357 horsepower and can tow 7,200 pounds. Both are paired to an 8-speed automatic with the choice of 3 available 4X4 systems ranging from a basic, single speed transfer case to one with a low range and a limited slip rear differential. Add the Off-Road Group to that system and you’ve also got steel skid plates, more aggressive tires, and up to 24” of water fording capability. With the Quadra-Lift air springs, there’s up to 4+” of additional height span, more impressive off-road geometry and nearly 11” of ground clearance. Selec-Terrain offers 5 different modes for set-it-and-forget-it driving.
But the Grand Cherokee’s biggest evolution likely lies in here where the objective was to create one of the most exquisite and technically advanced interiors in the industry. Using handcrafted materials with an attention to detail, available features include seat back massage, ventilated 2nd row seats, a mix of 12 USB ports, customizable ambient lighting, quad zone climate control, and something I’ve always dreamed of owning, a 19-speaker McIntosh audio system – an automotive first.
The second row comes with standard “tip and slide” bucket seats and an available power-folding third row. Bench seating is optional. The third-row seat features a 50/50 split and both the second- and third-rows fold into a flat-load floor.
An all-new UConnect5 system features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there’s a rear seat monitoring camera first seen on the Chrysler Pacifica, a digital rear view mirror, a head-up display, night vision, and more…including late availability of advanced hands-free driving. Don’t need the 3rd row? The 5-passenger Grand Cherokee will also be redesigned later this year with plug-in hybrid variants also on the way and an even more luxurious Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer to follow.
Jeep continues to expand the Wrangler’s portfolio by adding a plug-in hybrid for the 2021 model year. The 4-door Wrangler 4xe adds yet another powertrain choice to the various gas and diesel offerings.
And this one is a torque monster – something off-roaders crave – producing 470 pound-feet from its electrified powertrain. Recharge the 400-volt battery pack situated below the rear seats and the 4Xe provides up to 25 miles of pure electric driving. Want to preserve that quiet, zero-emission propulsion for the trail? Select the E-Save drive mode and bottle it up for later use. Otherwise, once all of the juice has been squeezed, the 4xe runs as a typical gas-electric hybrid, leaning on its 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo to produce a combined 375 horsepower working through an 8-speed auto with an integrated electric motor. Jeep estimates that the 4xe’s gas mileage will be the same as that of a Toyota Prius. The full-time 4-wheel drive transfer case provides all of the options you want; including 2WD and automatic 4-wheel drive settings to compliment the usual 4H and 4L modes. And if you think this is a fragile Jeep you can’t take deep into enemy territory, think again. All high-voltage bits are sealed and waterproof so it can ford the same 30” of water and underneath you’ll see the same Dana 44 axles and skid plates while the Rubicon has an electronic sway-bar disconnect and nearly 11” of ground clearance. Base 4xe and Sahara models are also offered and we’ll know more about pricing as the 4xe’s December on-sale date grows closer.