Jeep Cherokee vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - January 12, 2017

The current Cherokee arrived three years ago to bolster Jeep's position in the compact crossover segment. Buyers liked what they saw, and the Cherokee became a top seller for the brand, a trend we expect to continue in 2017. Jeep's flagship SUV, the midsize Grand Cherokee, behaves just as well in the wilderness as it does on the road. Buyers can be assured of go-anywhere capability along with all the luxury and technology they can handle.

Which approach to family transportation from Jeep appeals to us more?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Cherokee & Grand Cherokee »

What the Cherokee Gets Right

The Cherokee offers a good deal of passenger space for its class, and the rear seats slide and recline so everyone can get comfortable. The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine generates 184 horsepower. If that's not enough, there's also a 3.2-liter V6 with a hearty 271 horsepower. The Cherokee uses a nine-speed automatic, regardless of engine.

The Cherokee offers two optional all-wheel drive systems, available with either engine. The standard system is fine for inclement weather, but the Trailhawk's exclusive all-wheel drive is designed for go-anywhere capability – a terrain selector is standard on both. Properly equipped, the Cherokee can tow up to 4,500 pounds.

What the Grand Cherokee Gets Right

The Grand Cherokee provides generous room for five passengers and up to 68.3 cubic feet of cargo space. You have a choice of three engines: a 290-horsepower V6, a 5.7-liter V8 with 360 horsepower, or a 3-liter turbodiesel V6 that develops 240 horsepower. Jeep uses eight-speed automatic transmissions on all Grand Cherokees. With the V8 or diesel under the hood, you're good to tow up to 7,200 pounds.

The Grand Cherokee is eligible for numerous high-end features and mechanical upgrades. The new Trailhawk model promises even more exhilarating off-road experiences.

Does "Grand" Mean Better or Just More Expensive?

The Cherokee does of a fine job of emulating its big brother's considerable talents, especially when equipped with the V6 engine and all-wheel drive. But in a head-to-head matchup, the Grand Cherokee proves more capable in just about every measure.

Our Verdict: Jeep Grand Cherokee

When shopping for a Jeep, there's no substitute for going grand.

Take a closer look at the Jeep Cherokee »

Take a closer look at the Jeep Grand Cherokee »

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

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


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