UPDATE, 2 February 2021: The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L has been spied testing again on local roads – this time free of camouflage.
In fact, the dark red example spotted in Melbourne by CarAdvice's own James Ward is the same right-hand-drive prototype photographed last week, complete with identical Victorian registration.
However, there's little of note beneath the camouflage, given the Grand Cherokee L was revealed in full in January 2021.
Our original story continues below.
Click any of the images for the full gallery of undisguised spy photos.
29 January 2021: The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L has begun local development and tuning for Australia, ahead of its expected showroom arrival in August or September 2021.
A sighting of a camouflaged Grand Cherokee L prototype on local roads this week (top) validates Jeep's claims it would test the upcoming seven-seat family SUV in Australia prior to launch, in order to tune it for local buyers' tastes.
Christian Meunier, Jeep global president, detailed the brand's local development plans in an interview earlier this month.
"We're going to test your roads. We're going to test your dirt roads. Going to test the towing capacity, because we know it's important in your market."
"We're going to make it perfect, we're very determined to do that. And just for you to be reassured as well, we don't test it only in Australia; we've tested it in all the most extreme places in the world."
Despite the lack of a torque-rich diesel engine with the Grand Cherokee L Down Under,Meunier confirmed towing will be a major focus of the local development program.
"I've been completely brainwashed when I came to Australia about towing. Completely brainwashed, it's all about towing."
"If you can't tow enough, it's not going to work. So are we going to do it in Australia, because towing in North America is not the same. People don't tow the same thing. They don't tow the same trailers. They don't do it the same way. And the roads are not the same."
It's understood Australian Jeep engineers will test the new model across a variety of surfaces and road conditions, from open-road tarmac and city driving to gravel and off-road environments.
Hot weather testing will also be conducted in Alice Springs, while the seven-seater's infotainment system and connected features will be localised for Australian buyers.
Unveiled earlier in January 2021, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee L is understood to be on track to arrive in local showrooms in August or September 2021.
Beneath its evolutionary exterior design hides an all-new platform, offering a range of V6 and V8 engines and efficient plug-in hybrid powertrains, mounted in front of a high-tech cabin with large infotainment screens and digital instrument clusters.
A new-generation five-seat model, simply badged Grand Cherokee as before, will arrive later, following the seven-seater's local launch.