Should you drive the Jeep Cherokee or Ford Explorer? Both SUVs offer impressive AWD systems to handle tough weather, but is one the right choice for you?

The names Jeep Cherokee and Ford Explorer have been around for many years. These two SUVs have led the charge in bringing on and off-road qualities to the masses where their counterparts, Bronco and Wrangler, were not useful on many roads. Each SUV has some advantages over the other; let’s explore these and see which model could be the right vehicle for you to drive and enjoy every day.

Which SUV offers more affordable pricing?

Generally, vehicle shopping begins with pricing. If you know your budget and understand what you can spend, it might put you in the range of one of these SUVs over the other. The price range of the Ford Explorer is between $41,298 and $62,004, while the Jeep Cherokee beings lower at $37,412 and ranges to $45,407. This means you can easily enjoy the drive in a 2023 Cherokee and spend a lot less than if you were to choose the Ford SUV.

How do the powertrains compare?

The 2023 Jeep Cherokee is reduced to only two trim levels and powertrains. The base Cherokee Altitude Lux uses a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine making 180 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque. This engine mates to a 9-speed automatic transmission to return 21 city/29 hwy mpg while offering standard AWD for the drive.

Move to the Trailhawk trim, and the Cherokee uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that delivers 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The same transmission is found in this higher trim level, which can tow up to 4,000 pounds and offers 20 city/26 hwy mpg.

When we look at the 2023 Ford Explorer, we find three powertrains. The base model is found in the Base, XLT, ST-Line, Timberline, and Limited trims of this Ford SUV. This powertrain gives us a 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This system gives you 300 horsepower, 310 lb-ft of torque, and 21 city/28 hwy mpg in RWD models, while AWD versions return 20 city/27 hwy mpg. This powertrain can tow up to 5,300 pounds.

Move to the Limited and Platinum trims, and you’ll find a 3.3-liter V6 engine plus an electric hybrid motor. This powertrain brings you 318 horsepower and 322 lb-ft of torque for the drive. You’ll enjoy 27 city/28 hwy mpg in RWD models and 23 city/26 hwy mpg in AWD versions. The hybrid model is limited to 5,000 pounds of towing capacity.

Finally, the top powertrain for the Ford Explorer gives us a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine. This powertrain is used for the ST, King Ranch, and Platinum trims. You’ll enjoy 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque while receiving 18 city/26 hwy mpg in RWD models and 18 city/24 hwy mpg for AWD versions. The tow rating for this top powertrain is 5,600 pounds.

Does the Jeep Cherokee have more cargo room than the Ford Explorer?

The 2023 Jeep Cherokee features 24.6 cu-ft of cargo room behind the rear seats with 54.7 cu-ft of cargo volume when you fold the rear seats down. The Cherokee only includes two rows of seats, but you’ll find three rows in the Ford Explorer. When we look at the Explorer for cargo volume, we find 18.2 cu-ft behind the rear seats, which expands to 87.8 cu-ft when the rear two rows are folded down.

Which SUV is rated higher for quality and safety?

The iSeeCars Overall Quality rating for the 2023 Ford Explorer is 8.5 out of 10, which exceeds the 7.8 rating for the 2023 Jeep Cherokee. These ratings might now sound like a great difference between the two SUVs, but the Explorer is ranged 7 out of 61 models in the Crossover SUV class while the Cherokee sits in the 27th spot.

When we look at the safety ratings of these two SUVs, the NHTSA scores the Ford higher with a five-star rating, while the Jeep SUV receives four stars. Both SUVs are safe to drive, but given the choice, wouldn’t you want to drive the model that has the higher safety rating?

A new safety test from the IIHS puts the Explorer near the top, ensuring your rear passengers can feel safe and secure inside this Ford SUV.

Which SUV should you drive?

Unless you’re stuck on a Jeep or must stick to a more affordable price, the 2023 Ford Explorer is a much better option than the 2023 Jeep Cherokee.

This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning a commission is given should you decide to make a purchase through these links, at no cost to you. All products shown are researched and tested to give an accurate review for you.

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