Jeep Cherokee vs Grand Cherokee: How Do You Decide?

The Jeep Cherokee vs Grand Cherokee battle has raged on for years. When shopping for a new Jeep it can be one of the hardest decisions to make. We jumped into this issue and tried to give you hard data to answer the question so we can move onto the next decision to make. What color. While, maybe that is just as hard of a question to answer.

The Jeep Cherokee has always been ahead of time with its innovative features and specifications. It combined the famous Jeep off-road capabilities with functionality as well as great on road handling. To offer a vehicle that one can use for utility purposes as much as for adventure plans is something that the Jeep brand has done well for years. 

Originally released in the 1970s, the Jeep Cherokee is an SUV that has seen over five generations of stylish redesigns. Despite the long history, the charm around the Jeep Cherokee doesn’t seem to want to fade anytime soon!

The Jeep Grand Cherokee was originally brainstormed when AMC still owned the Jeep brand. When Chrysler took ownership, they were quick to bring the Grand Cherokee to the market with its original release in 1992. 

The Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Grand Cherokee are comparable vehicles as they both sit firmly in the SUV market. However, there are some main differences between the two vehicles that you should be aware of.

After all, buying a jeep is a long-term investment that needs substantial comparison and an educated opinion before pulling the trigger on a purchase.

Let’s take a look at Jeep Cherokee Vs Grand Cherokee and find out what you should be looking at before making a purchase.

Jeep Cherokee vs Grand Cherokee, Let The Battle Begin

Jeep Cherokee, Small In Design But Large In Features

Like its older counterparts, the Jeep Cherokee Compact SUV offers all the Jeep-like functions they are famous for. After its major redesign which came in 2014, the company did not let the favorite features fade away with never-ending updates.

However, change is an important part of life, and a company’s success lies in going along and growing with change. 

The Jeep Cherokee saw a revised trim lineup last year, which could indicate that we could see a Jeep Cherokee with all the new and updated features in 2023.

Interior image of a Jeep Cherokee with a light gray interior

If the Jeep Cherokee does see changes I will expect there to be changes in the drivetrains that are offered. More importantly, electric drivetrain offerings. 

Let’s be honest with ourselves, one thing Jeep’s parent company has been slow to adapt to is the electrification of the vehicle market. Maybe the Jeep Cherokee could see at least a hybrid option for the 2023 models. Similar to what we see in the Jeep Wrangler 4xE.

There are some things that you should be aware of when looking at the Cherokee. Being a smaller two row SUV the trunk space is what you could consider on the small size. If you do not have rear seat passengers the heavy load floor and fold down back seats increase the cargo carrying area. 

A set of winter tires are sure to fit with all the space that is created. 

There are many different trim packages that you will be able to choose from when the time comes to making a purchase. Some of the trim packages we have seen over the years are:

  • Sport
  • X
  • North
  • Altitude
  • Trailhawk
  • Limited
  • Trailhawk Elite

Trim levels are always one of those things that confuse me when looking at a new car. It seems like the car salesmen are the only ones that know what is offered in each package. 

The highest end package that most drivers will be interested in is the Trailhawk Elite. This trim package ensures the passengers have the most luxurious cabin while equipping it with the most technologically advanced safety features.

When it comes to exterior looks the Jeep Cherokee is simply easy on the eye due to its boldness in shape and style. Being easier on the eyes and friendly towards the road, the Jeep Cherokee is surprisingly fun to drive. 

Jeep Grand Cherokee, The Cherokees Big Brother?

The Jeep Grand Cherokee could be considered the Jeep Cherokees big brother. With larger engine options, performance packages, and an ever important 3rd row of seating it sits firmly in the luxury SUV market. 

The Grand Cherokee used to be the most luxurious vehicle Jeep made until the more recent release of the Jeep Wagoneer.  

I think a vehicle with heated, massaging seats and a world class infotainment system with a “Relaxation” mode deserves an article all on its own. I am sure you would agree, so stay tuned for a future Wagoneer article.  

The Grand Cherokee comes equipped with V6 and V8 engines which we have seen in previous generations. A new feature that the consumer got an option to increase the power with a hybrid electric drivetrain system.

This system allows the driver to run the vehicle on an all-electric system at low speeds. Once it is necessary the gasoline powered engine will join in providing in power assist. This system really turns the Jeep Grand Cherokee into a true hybrid, something would be buyers have been looking for. 

Dark interior photo of a Jeep Grand Cherokees interior components

The vehicle not only offers substantial comfort and reliability but also comfort and capacity with its huge cargo and passenger space. The enhanced cargo space, drivability, and comfort really give the advantage to the Grand in the, Jeep Cherokee Vs Grand Cherokee battle.

Features

Engines

Being smaller in size the Jeep Cherokee can provide more value and better-performing vehicles with the same engine size.

The base model  Jeep Cherokee comes equipped with a 4 cylinder turbocharged gas engine that offers what we would consider a medium-level fuel economy.

This is no Toyota Prius, it is still a Jeep after all. 

The higher trim levels find the 3.2L Pentastar V6 engine with stop/start technology. 

Close up view of the Pentastar engine

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is also powered by either V6 or  V8 engines like its predecessors; however, you can also get an available plug-in hybrid version; the 4xe, which has been added into the lineup for 2022.

The 4xe can drive about 25 miles on all-electric power on a full charge before the  need to switch to the internal combustion engine. 

The 4xe generates a maximum of 375 hp and 470 pounds-ft of torque, this really is  a bonus to the great fuel economy this feature offers. The performance it offers is even more than the potent V8 engine. 

The Grand Cherokee will come with the three engine options that include:

  • 3.6 Liter V-6 produces 295 HP and 260 pound-feet of torque.
  • 5.7 Liter Hemi V-8 powers the vehicle with 360 HP and 390 pound-feet of torque.
  • Plug-in Hybrid, producing a whopping 470 pound-feet of torque and 375 HP 
  • If lucky enough to get a Trackhawk model, 6.2L V8 with 707 HP and 645 pound-feet of torque

The Jeep Cherokee will come with two engine options that include:

  • Turbocharged four cylinder engine with 271 HP and 239 pound-feet of torque
  • A standard 3.2L engine with 270 HP and 296 pound-feet of torque

Transmissions

While the engine options leave drivers with many options the transmission options are fairly basic for new model vehicles. 

These options offer nine-speed automatic transmission that offers front-wheel and an optional all-wheel drive for the Jeep Cherokee. 

The larger Jeep Grand Cherokee 2023 will be available with an eight-speed drive transmission.

There used to be a time when eight and nine speed transmissions made for exciting news releases. It now seems with each new model year vehicle a nine speed transmission is now considered normal. Different from the four speed transmissions I grew up with. 

Fuel Economy

The V6 test vehicle for the Jeep Cherokee 2023 is rated at 22 mpg (19 within the city and 27 on the highway), which can be a downfall compared to its more fuel efficient competitors. 

If you opt with the optional 2.0L turbo engine your fuel economy will increase. 23 city and 31 highway mpg will make all commuters happy when filling their tanks. 

The 3.6L Pentastar engine in the Grand Cherokee can get up to 18 city and 25 highway mpg depending on the drivetrain and transmission that is equipped. 

If you need extra towing capacity or need the extra power of the 5.7L HEMI engine, fuel economy will suffer. The 5.7L engine is rated for 14 city and 22 highway mpg, a significant decrease in fuel economy when compared to the V6 engine option. 

Cargo Capacity

Even though some would consider the trunk small, the Cherokee still offers a storage and cargo space of around 24.6 cubic feet. People can have more storage options for the daily household items that people bring inside the car.

The bottom cushion and rear seatbacks have marked child safety seat anchors and the rear seats also feature safety tethers. You can also equip it with an optional towing package that increases the total towing capacity to 4500 pounds.

The larger sibling  has 37.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat for cargo purposes. Moreover, one may fold the seats to accommodate even more luggage. The load-in height for tall luggage can be a problem, but the cup holders and hollow consoles between the front and rear seats offer more internal storage. 

Its towing capacity also beats other rivals with over 6200 pounds for a V-6 engine and around 7200 pounds for a V-8 engine.

This is a large towing capacity for an SUV. 

Major Problems

There are only a few issues that have been known in these vehicles. The Grand Cherokee is equipped with the Pentastar 3.6L engine. This engine is a very reliable and long lasting engine but does come with some issues.

The roller rockers have been known to fail which can cause internal damage to the engine. This can result in significant repair costs to the vehicle owner to get these repairs done. 

The 5.7L HEMI engine has also been known to have issues with exhaust manifold gaskets. The exhaust manifold bolts can break. When this happens the cylinder heads need to be removed from the vehicle due to space issues to complete the repair correctly. 

As you can imagine either of these issues can be a time consuming and expensive repair. 

2023 Jeep Cherokee Dimensions (pre-release)

Length204.9 inches
Width77.9 inches
Height71.5 inches
Ground Clearance10.8 inches
Wheel Base12.17 inches

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee Dimensions

Length204.9 inches
Width77.9 inches
Height71.5 inches
Wheelbase121.7 inches
Curb4692 lbs
Ground Clearance8.5 inches
Gross Weight6500 lbs

Conclusion

The Jeep Cherokee vs Grand Cherokee battle is a tough comparison. Because there are many similarities between these two vehicles it comes down to what features you are looking for in a vehicle. 

Both features offer various interior trim packages that can be upgraded or downgraded depending on your preferences. 

If you are a commuter that is looking for a vehicle that is capable of getting good fuel economy while also being able to get out in nature for the weekend. The Cherokee is probably the best fit for your lifestyle. 

If you have some children at home and enjoy the aspects of camping or should I call it glamping. You may enjoy the extra towing capacity of the Grand Cherokee. 

If you like this comparison check out one of our other favourites. The Ram ProMaster vs. Ford Transit : Which is better?

Staff Writer
Staff Writer
Our team of staff writers goes above and beyond in creating material that our readers love. They bring unique skills to the team that always provides a fresh perspective on the automotive industry.

Latest Articles