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A black 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is shown parked in front of a building after winning a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L vs 2021 Chevy Traverse comparison.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L vs 2021 Chevy Traverse: A Fierce Fight

We know how it feels to be stuck between two vehicles that you’ve likely already heard positive things about. Once it’s time to purchase a new vehicle, you don’t want to make the wrong choice in retrospect. On the one hand, we have Jeep, a long-running manufacturer that has garnered a large following during its time on the market. Even today, vintage Jeep models are likely to retain their value better than most other brands. Next up is Chevy, an even older brand that has become a household name for multiple generations. However, this year Jeep has released a new SUV built on the foundation of a popular pre-existing model, and it’s been pitted up against a familiar Chevy favorite. This comparison is the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L vs 2021 Chevy Traverse, and let’s see if either of these vehicles has what it takes to win a spot in your garage.

The 2021 Grand Cherokee L starts with the base model known as Laredo, and there are five more trim levels to select from. Additionally, you’ll have the choice between RWD and 4WD for better handling in the harsher seasons. The first immediate difference between the Grand Cherokee L and its regular Grand Cherokee counterpart is the addition of an extra row of seats, but the changes don’t end there. Next is the 2021 Traverse, and this SUV has seven trim levels to select from and can be fitted with AWD or FWD. While the Traverse starts at a lower MSRP than the Grand Cherokee L, you’ll find that this can ultimately make a world of difference.

A black 2021 Chevy Traverse is shown from the side parked in the mountains.

Rundown of Performance

Here’s the rundown, folks. The 2021 Traverse is limited to a single powertrain, and while yes, this will come with its own set of positives, there’s also a massive negative that we want to address. Simply put, the Traverse may look decent on paper, and by itself, that’s what it is. However, stack the newly released 2021 Grand Cherokee L into the mix, and the Traverse’s performance begins to show its limitations. Let’s break it down by first discussing the engine that comes with every 2021 Traverse, and that’s a 3.6L V6 that comes paired to a 9-speed automatic transmission. There’s nothing wrong with this V6 as it’s admirable in its performance that generates 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, especially since that means the 2021 Traverse can tow upwards of 5,000 lbs when fully equipped.

The Grand Cherokee L also starts with a 3.6L V6, this one coming paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission instead. Ultimately, this engine does provide less horsepower and torque than Traverse’s offering, with this one giving 290 hp and 257 lb-ft of torque instead. This is only a 6% decrease in horsepower and an even smaller 3% decrease in torque output, yet this engine can still outperform the competition. This is because equipping the V6 inside of the Grand Cherokee L with the appropriate towing packages will make its maximum capacity 6,200 lbs, which is a 24% difference over the 2021 Traverse.

As we said, there’s not much else to say about the Traverse’s performance, but there’s still a powerful engine to discuss on Jeep’s side. This optional engine for the Grand Cherokee L is a massive 5.7L V8 engine that produces 357 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Let’s place this in perspective quickly by stating that this V8 offers a 23% and 51.75% increase in horsepower and torque against the base engine. More impressively, this engine also allows the Grand Cherokee L to produce 25.8% more horsepower and 46.6% more torque than the Traverse. This is without mentioning the maximum towing capacity of 7,200 lbs, which is 44% more than the Traverse.

Features to Look For

There are a few features that are worth mentioning, all of which give any new automobile a luxurious feel. The first of these features that we want to discuss is sound systems, and this is something that manufacturers have only gotten better at over time. However, the sound systems inside of both the Grand Cherokee L and the Traverse are wildly different, interesting when considering they’re both incredible audio solutions. Inside of the 2021 Traverse, standard inclusion call for your average run-of-the-mill audio setup, and upgrading to the Bose Premium audio system completely breathes new life into your old favorites. Impressively, this speaker system comes with 10 speakers, easily more effective when compared to the standard option. Unfortunately for the Traverse, these speakers look like child’s play when compared to the Grand Cherokee L’s audio solution.

The 2021 Grand Cherokee L isn’t even limited to just two audio systems, and the option of which one to implement will be dependent on the trim level you’ve selected. Like the Traverse, the base audio system isn’t all too impressive, but the next available option for the Grand Cherokee L upgrades the standard six speakers up to nine. However, if you’re looking for some of the best audio quality in the business, then you’ll want to opt for a model that allows for the McIntosh sound system. Along with a 10-inch deep subwoofer for supreme amounts of bass, this sound system runs an outstanding 950 Watts, but this is necessary to power the nineteen speakers that will be placed throughout your interior. With nine more speakers than the Traverse, you’ll hear the intricacies of every song with what Jeep claims is a 17-channel amplifier. Unless you have an incredible home theater at home, you’ve never heard music like this.

Technology is all around better in the Grand Cherokee L, but this doesn’t come to us as a surprise considering the price difference. However, these two vehicles almost feel years apart, especially in regards to infotainment. The 2021 Traverse offers a 7-inch touchscreen that comes with the massively popular Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Although not all the time, this is slowly becoming the standard across the industry; Jeep takes it one step further with an available 10.1-inch touchscreen that can utilize Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you need to charge your phone, the Grand Cherokee L has you more than covered with a total of a dozen USB ports compared to the Traverse’s six.

A silver 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is shown from the side parked in a city.

Our Verdict

There is very little reason for us to recommend the Traverse over the Grand Cherokee L, and if you have the choice, the Grand Cherokee L will be the most powerful and relevant out of the two. While the Traverse has had its strong points in the past, it is quickly being pushed aside by this new entrant into the market. It’s hard to beat the power and poise that comes with owning a Jeep, and while the Traverse has a lower starting price, the Grand Cherokee L simply blows it out of the water.

If you want a V8 engine, the Traverse can’t help you, and the same can be said for a host of features that you’ll want on Jeep’s offering. While the Traverse is priced lower than the Grand Cherokee L, this ultimately means several sacrifices were made to achieve this lower price tag. Simply put, for those who want a far more capable vehicle in every sense of the term, then the Grand Cherokee L is one of the very best ways to spend your money.

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