Jeep Grand Cherokee vs. Ford Explorer

By

Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - October 18, 2019

The Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Ford Explorer have been two of the better mid-size SUV offerings from American brands for some time. The Grand Cherokee maintains Jeep’s off-roading prowess, but brings a host of luxury features with it. Ford, on the other hand, has unveiled an all-new Explorer for the 2020 model year featuring an available hybrid powertrain and a new sporty ST trim.

Both the Grand Cherokee and Explorer get you down the road in style and comfort, but which one is the better fit for the majority of consumers depends on more than answering whether you go off-roading or not.

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

What the Grand Cherokee Gets Right

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the cheaper option of the two with a starting price tag of $33,540 including destination. The Ford Explorer starts at $37,870. Being able to save $4,330 with the Grand Cherokee easily makes it the better option of the two for consumers that are on a budget.

When it comes to available trims, the Grand Cherokee has the Explorer beat. While the Explorer is available in four trims, Jeep offers the Grand Cherokee in seven. With that many options to choose from, you can pick a luxurious Grand Cherokee, one that’s more geared toward off-roading, one with blistering performance, or one that has whatever else you're looking for.

Consumers seeking sports car performance will find that the Grand Cherokee has more to offer. The range-topping Trackhawk trim boasts a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces 707 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque.

The Explorer ST comes with a 3.0-liter four-cylinder that puts out 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. Against other mid-size SUVs, that’s a decent amount of power, but it looks pedestrian compared to the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

What the Explorer Gets Right

For families, the new Ford Explorer is the more versatile option. The Explorer has three rows of seating, while the Jeep Grand Cherokee only has two. Cargo capacity is also up in the Explorer, as the SUV offers 47.9 cubic feet behind the second row and a total of 87.8 cubic feet of cargo space. The Grand Cherokee has 36.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats and 68.3 cubic feet of total cargo space.

Safety and tech features are other strong suits of the Explorer. Every Explorer comes with the Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of active safety features, which includes blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, and automatic high-beam assist. The Grand Cherokee can’t match the Explorer’s list of standard safety features.

Other notable tech features that can be had with the Explorer include a 10.1-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless charging, four USB ports, wi-fi hot spot for 10 devices, and FordPass Connect, which gives drivers access to a few features through their smartphone.

Fuel economy is also in the Explorer’s corner. The Explorer is still the more efficient option, as the hybrid Explorer is rated to get up to 28 miles per gallon combined, according to the EPA, and the base engine gets 24 mpg combined. The best the Grand Cherokee can get is 21 mpg combined.

Want to Go Off-Roading?

If you go off the beaten path quite a lot or want a high-performance SUV, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is the better option. It has Jeep’s rugged look, off-roading-oriented features, and the history to back it up as a SUV that likes to get dirty. However, if you only go off-roading once a year and don’t want a 707-hp monster, than the Ford Explorer is the more well-rounded option.

Our Verdict: Ford Explorer

The all-new Ford Explorer is a home run for the automaker. The Explorer offers more space than before, more technology features, improved powertrains, and a new rear-wheel-drive platform that makes the SUV more enjoyable to drive. The old Explorer was the top-selling vehicle in its class, and there’s no doubt that the new generation remains the option to beat.

Take a closer look at the Jeep Grand Cherokee »

Take a closer look at the Ford Explorer »

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

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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