2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L vs 2021 Dodge Durango

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  • 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L

    A silver 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Laredo is angled left.

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    2021 Dodge Durango

    A grey 2021 Dodge Durango R/T is angled right.

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    Power 12-Way MassageSeatsPower 8-Way
    950Sound System (w)925
    10.9Ground Clearance (in)8.1

    When it comes to three-row SUVs, we have always pointed our customers in the direction of the Dodge Durango. This powerful and comfortable family vehicle has been around for over two decades now, providing a reliable and capable ride. However, the recent introduction of the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee L has created an attractive alternative to the Durango. The Grand Cherokee has long been one of our most popular SUV models, but with only five seats, many families simply found it too small. Now, the extended-length Grand Cherokee L allows everyone to experience Jeep’s premium SUV. Let’s dig into some of the differences between the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L vs 2021 Dodge Durango to help you determine which of our two favorite three-row SUVs is the right choice for your needs.

    Overall, these two models are very similar in size and power, even sharing the same engine options. However, there are some important differences worth noting. The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is a brand-new model built around a brand-new platform, while the 2021 Dodge Durango hasn’t seen a major update in quite a few years and shares a platform with the previous Grand Cherokee generation. The Jeep also offers a broader selection of premium features, including a unique McIntosh sound system, and is more capable of tackling off-road adventures - particularly if you opt for the Overland trim of the Grand Cherokee L with its Trail Rated badge.

  • Interior

    The tan and black interior is shown through the open doors of a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L.

    When it comes to the interior dimensions of the 2021 Grand Cherokee L and 2021 Dodge Durango, you won’t find many major differences. If you have driven a Durango and found that it could fit your family comfortably, then the Grand Cherokee L will do the same. Both vehicles come standard with three rows of seating for a total of seven passengers, and both offer the option of second-row captain’s chairs, which reduce the total seating capacity to six but provide more comfort for second-row passengers. However, the slightly larger cabin of the Grand Cherokee L means that all three rows enjoy about an inch more legroom.

    If you often find yourself loading up your SUV with shopping bags, sports gear, luggage, or even larger items, you can rest assured that both of these models can handle it. Dodge and Jeep both designed their three-row models to accommodate a touch over 17 cubic feet of cargo space in the back, or roughly 85 cubic feet when both rows of rear seats are folded down. If you need to move a bookcase or haul some lumber from the hardware store, the Grand Cherokee L can take care of it just as well as the Durango.

    Features and Styling

    The largest interior difference between these two models isn’t their dimensions but their styling. Despite being built on a decade-old platform, Dodge has done a good job keeping their SUV feeling fresh inside. However, there is only so much that can be done before you need a clean-sheet design. The 2021 Grand Cherokee L is that clean-sheet design, and it exudes a modern, premium feel. Even the base trim presents a sleek interior loaded with up-to-date conveniences. From the compact dial shifter that frees up center console space to the standard power-adjustable driver’s seat, Jeep has made sure that you always have everything you need.

    As you climb the trims, the Grand Cherokee L adds even more features that widen the gap between it and the Durango. Where the Dodge offers a power sunroof, the Jeep provides a panoramic sunroof that allows everyone to enjoy fresh air and sunlight. Where the Durango has options for 8-way power-adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation, the Grand Cherokee L is equipped with 12-way power-adjustable seats that boast a massage setting in addition to heating and ventilation. Dodge has produced an excellent three-row SUV, which is reflected in the continuing popularity of the Durango, but Jeep has outdone itself and created the best option in the segment with the all-new Grand Cherokee L.

  • Exterior

    A maroon 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is shown overlooking mountains after winning a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L vs 2021 Dodge Durango battle.

    The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L and 2021 Dodge Durango are fairly similar in size but differ in appearance and features. The Durango sports a muscular look in keeping with the Dodge reputation, while the Grand Cherokee L offers a more relaxed and luxurious style. However, from the chrome seven-slot grille to the standard roof rack rails, there is no doubt that this Jeep is ready for off-road adventures. The Dodge Durango may be well-equipped for tearing up the highways, but when it comes to exploring the wilderness (or simply getting the kids to school in bad weather), the all-terrain features of the Grand Cherokee L come into their own.

    4x4 Comparison

    Like nearly all modern SUVs, the 2021 Durango offers all-wheel drive on all of its trims. This basic all-wheel drive system engages the front wheels when conditions get slippery, keeping you safe on the road. In the more powerful SRT and SRT Hellcat trims of the Durango, a performance-oriented all-wheel drive system with an electronic limited-slip rear differential is standard to help you tame the vehicles’ tremendous power. While these systems are more than capable on paved roads, when it comes to dirt roads and wilderness trails, the Durango is limited by its 8.1 inches of ground clearance and street tires.

    The 4x4 systems offered on the 2021 Grand Cherokee L are also capable on the road, but they really excel when the blacktop comes to an end. There are three different 4x4 systems available on Jeep’s SUV, starting with the basic Quadra-Trac I, which is equivalent to what the Durango offers. However, higher trims receive the Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II 4x4 systems, which come with a two-speed transfer case for tackling the toughest terrain and can send all their torque to either axle. Quadra-Drive II further includes front and rear electronic limited-slip differentials on both axles, allowing it to direct torque to individual wheels.

    Performance Features

    The Grand Cherokee L’s off-road and bad weather capabilities do not end with its superior 4x4 systems. The Selec-Terrain drive modes allow you to optimize the vehicle for any terrain with the push of a button, and the available Quadra-Lift air suspension will help you climb over any obstacle while maintaining an incredibly comfortable ride. With the Quadra-Lift suspension in its raised position, the 2021 Grand Cherokee L boasts no less than 10.9 inches of ground clearance and 24 inches of water fording.

    The 2021 Dodge Durango does offer more raw power than the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L, even having the option of a simply incredible 6.2L supercharged HEMI V8 engine pumping out no less than 710 horsepower in its limited-production SRT Hellcat trim. But both models share the same 3.6L Pentastar V6 base engine, and both have the option of upgrading to a reliable 5.7L HEMI V8 with over 350 horsepower. Unless you opt for one of the high-performance Durango SRT models, these two SUVs have very similar street performance, and the Grand Cherokee L is the clear winner in any sort of difficult road conditions or off-road terrain.

  • Technology

    The black and tan interior of a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

    To truly excel, a modern SUV must have more than just a capable powertrain and spacious interior - it must be loaded with state of the art technology to make your time on the road safer and more enjoyable. Both the 2021 Dodge Durango and the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee are equipped with modern infotainment systems and advanced driver-assist technologies that check all the boxes you would expect on a new vehicle, but the Jeep goes a bit further with some unique tech features you won’t find in any other model.


    Both of these quality SUVs are equipped with the excellent Uconnect 5 infotainment software, making it easy to access all your favorite features while on the road. Both models are also offered with either a standard 8.4-inch touchscreen or an optional 10.1-inch touchscreen and have wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a wireless charging pad. No matter which one you pick, you will have all your basic needs covered and then some, but if you want a real premium feel, then the added options in the Grand Cherokee L will be right up your alley.

    The headline tech feature in Jeep’s three-row SUV is its impressive 19-speaker McIntosh sound system, which is exclusive to new Jeep models. With 950 watts of power and a 10-inch subwoofer, the sound quality of this system has to be heard in person to be believed. As good as the available Harman Kardon sound system in the 2021 Durango is, it doesn’t quite stand up to Jeep’s McIntosh option. The multi-view interior camera system is another unique feature for the Grand Cherokee L, allowing you to keep an eye on kids, pets, or cargo in the back seats without having to twist your body around or take your eyes off the road.

    Safety Features

    Jeep also makes use of one-of-a-kind camera systems when it comes to monitoring your exterior surroundings as well. The available night vision camera is particularly impressive, using advanced thermal imaging and computer image-recognition technology to detect pedestrians and animals up to 100 yards away in low-visibility conditions and then highlight them on your digital instrument cluster. Of course, this feature is in addition to the standard daylight camera and radar-based Full-Speed Collision Warning with Active Braking and Pedestrian/Cyclist Detection.

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