Third row of seats for new Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Seven seats, more sophisticated kit and an “L” adds up to a more family-friendly Jeep 4x4 wagon.

The next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee will boast a longer wheelbase and for the first-time third-row seating for six or seven occupants when it arrives here late this year.

The new Grand Cherokee L was unveiled recently in the USA, finally giving the iconic American off-roader a competitor in the full-size SUV segment, where a third row of seats is a key requirement for many family buyers.

A statement from Jeep said the newest iteration of its Grand Cherokee 4x4 wagon was designed and engineered to deliver even more off-road capability and superior on-road refinement, while boasting premium styling and craftsmanship, and a host of advanced safety and technology features.

The Grand Cherokee L boasts a new body style with signature Jeep design cues, including its classic seven-slot grille, along with aggressive front approach angle for superior off-road performance and unusual-looking trapezoidal wheel arches, the latter housing 21-inch wheels.

Under the skin there’s an all-new vehicle architecture, including independent front and rear suspension and air suspension with electronic adaptive damping.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L.

 Jeep claims the new setup delivers class-leading off-road capability and premium on-road driving dynamics.

The spacious cabin boasts a premium fitout, including standard 10-inch display screens across the instrument panel, a frameless digital gauge cluster and touchscreen radio, all-new LED lighting with ambient features, driver and front passenger seat massage function and personalised climate zones.

Other next-generation technologies include an updated version of Jeep’s Uconnect operating system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, windshield head-up display, digital rear-view mirror, frameless digital cluster and a rear-seat monitoring camera.

Other luxury features on the US market model – which is available in Laredo, Limited, Overland and Summit trim configurations – include quilted Palermo leather, open-pore waxed walnut wood and a premium 960-watt, 19-speaker McIntosh audio sound system.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L.

A spokesperson for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Australia said the product specifications of the North American model were specific to that market and the company would hold fire on announcing pricing and features for this market until closer to the Australian launch, which is expected to be late this year.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Australia has also given no indication yet on what the future is for the five-seat Grand Cherokee, now dubbed the “two-row” Stateside, but that model as well as a Grand Cherokee 4xe electrified version are not scheduled to debut in the US until later in 2021.

Back with the Grand Cherokee L, the US model also boasts L2 driver-assist systems, meaning hands-on automated driving, along with 360-degree surround view and night-vision cameras.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has indicated that advanced hands-free L2 automated driving system will be available in late 2021 on the US market 2022 Grand Cherokee L.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L.

Available powertrains look to be the same 213kW/347NM 3.6-litre petrol V6 and 259kW/520Nm 5.7-litre petrol V8 as in the current line-up, with the electric powertrain due to launch Stateside later in 2021.

Sales of the current Jeep Grand Cherokee five-seater held up fairly well in 2020, notching 2870 sales, a decrease of only 3.9% on its 2019 performance, despite the overall market falling 13.7%.

The addition of a seven-seat model would enhance its competitiveness against the likes of the Ford Everest and Toyota Prado.