Honda CR-V vs. Jeep Cherokee

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - April 19, 2017

Sixteen plus years ago, comparing the Honda CR-V to the Jeep Cherokee would have caused a few raised eyebrows – after all, one was a soft crossover and the other was a boxy, utilitarian SUV. When the Cherokee returned in 2014, after a 13-year hiatus, it joined the CR-V as a crossover. But while it succumbed to crossoverdom, the Cherokee managed to bring along some of the ruggedness it had back in the early-2000s.

Is the more rugged Cherokee good enough to pull buyers from the recently redesigned CR-V? Keep scrolling to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the CR-V & Cherokee »

What the CR-V Gets Right

When approaching the CR-V, its standard 17-inch alloy wheels immediately give it a more upscale look compared to the base Jeep's steel wheels.

Though the CR-V’s engines are no match for the Cherokee’s available V6, the turbocharged 1.5-liter, which injects 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque provides plenty of zippiness. What’s more, this small-displacement four-cylinder engine is good for up to 34 miles per gallon highway – easily besting the Cherokee’s powertrain options.

The CR-V also has a roomier cabin, with just a hair more rear seat leg room (0.1 inches) and a ton more cargo space: 14.6 more cubic feet with the rear seats up and 20.9 more cubes with the rear seats folded. The CR-V also has plenty of small storage areas throughout the cabin for tucking away smaller pocket-dwelling items.

Finally, the Honda CR-V is an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus, whereas the Cherokee isn’t even a Top Safety Pick.

What the Cherokee Gets Right

One advantage the Cherokee has over just about every competitor, not just the CR-V, is its available 3.2-liter V6 engine with 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque. Sure, it’s more fuel-hungry, but this six-cylinder engine delivers smooth power and respectable acceleration.

The V6 engine also plays a big part in the Cherokee’s superior 4,500-pound max towing capacity, opening this small crossover to buyers looking to haul a small boat or trailer – something the CR-V’s 1,500-pound towing capacity can’t pull off.

Finally, the Cherokee has the off-road-ready Trailhawk model and its Active Drive II four-wheel-drive system, low-range gearing, locking differential, “Rock” mode, increased ground clearance, skid plates, and tow hooks.

Who’s the Cherokee Good For

While the Cherokee isn’t a great buy for the average family when compared to the CR-V, it does have its niche. Jeep clearly designed this crossover with fans of the brand in mind. Sure, it’s softer than a Wrangler, but its let’s-get-dirty off-road capabilities and trailer-friendly towing capacity are unique for a crossover.

Verdict: Honda CR-V

While the CR-V doesn’t have the ruggedness of the Cherokee, it does fit the average crossover-buying family like a glove. It’s fuel-efficient, peppy, roomy, and delivers a smooth ride, which is more than enough to best the Cherokee.

Take a closer look at the Honda CR-V »

Take a closer look at the Jeep Cherokee »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Twitter

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