2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee vs. 2019 Jeep Cherokee: Compare Cars

January 4, 2019
2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

 There’s more than just the word “Grand” that separates the 2019 Jeep Cherokee and 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

These two stalwart crossover SUVs of the Jeep lineup are popular choices for shoppers looking for capability, interior space, and even luxury. Their lineups overlap enough that some shoppers will need more than just a back-to-back test drive.

We like the 2019 Grand Cherokee a lot, even if the age of its design is starting to show compared to some rivals. It’s a 7.0 out of 10 on our scale. The 2019 Cherokee is also a good choice overall and rates 5.8 out of 10.

MORE: Read our 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2019 Jeep Cherokee reviews

Where the two crossover SUVs overlap is in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. However, it’s possible to buy a cheaper Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee lineup stretches to six figures with muscle car power.

The Cherokee’s base inline-4 engine provides adequate power, but the optional 271-horsepower 3.2-liter V-6 and 270-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 engines are better choices. No matter what’s underhood, the Cherokee uses a 9-speed automatic transmission that races too fast for higher gears to save fuel for our tastes.

Most versions of the Cherokee are rated at around 23 mpg combined. The turbo-4 is the most expensive engine and it requires costly premium fuel, but it also uses less gas. A turbo-4 Cherokee with front-wheel drive is rated at an impressive 26 mpg combined.

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Grand Cherokees start with a 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 295 hp. At upward of 4,500 pounds, the Grand Cherokee weighs at least 500 pounds more than an equivalent Cherokee, which erases its power deficit. We’re big fans of the Grand Cherokee’s slick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, however.

The optional 360-hp 5.7-liter V-8 is more muscular, but it’s not available on all trims and it’s considerably thirstier. Jeep also offers a pair of tuned V-8s from FCA’s performance division but their prices make them unlikely to be cross-shopped against the Cherokee.

Stick with the V-6 and the Grand Cherokee is rated at 21 mpg combined compared to just 17 mpg combined with the V-8.

Both crossover SUVs boast modern unibody construction, which means they don’t have separate ladder frames like the Toyota 4Runner. However, the Cherokee’s design is front-wheel drive-biased while the Grand Cherokee comes in a rear-drive configuration. If you’re in the Snow Belt or plan to go off-road, you’ll probably opt for four-wheel drive. Both Jeeps use full-time systems that require no driver intervention in most situations. To get a simulated low range in the Cherokee, you’ll have to opt for the pricey Cherokee Trailhawk, which costs about $35,000 to start. The Grand Cherokee also comes standard with a single-speed transfer case and offers a real two-speed transfer case as an option depending on the trim level.

Off-road, both Jeeps are formidable mountain goats—at least when properly equipped. Cherokees other than the Trailhawk sit low to the ground and ride on street-oriented tires. If your definition of off-roading is more than a gravel road, opt for the Trailhawk.

The Grand Cherokee is more capable right off the showroom floor with its 8.6 inches of ground clearance. An available air suspension lifts the Grand Cherokee about two more inches for more serious four-wheeling, but it’s an expensive option. Jeep offers skid plates and tow hooks—features essential for safe exploration—in several trim levels and option packages on the Grand Cherokee while they’re exclusive to the Trailhawk trim on the Cherokee.

2019 Jeep Cherokee

2019 Jeep Cherokee

2019 Jeep Cherokee

2019 Jeep Cherokee

2019 Jeep Cherokee

2019 Jeep Cherokee

Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee comfort and features

Both Jeeps make for a comfortable ride no matter the terrain underneath. Predictably, the smaller Cherokee is tighter inside. Its front seats are comfortable and its rear bench is good for two adults, but three will be unhappy after more than a few minutes. The Grand Cherokee’s front seats are chairlike and offer a slightly better view out due to its narrower roof pillars and higher seating position. Rear-seat riders in the Grand Cherokee will find ample space.

Cargo space is also better in the Grand Cherokee: about 36 cubic feet behind the second row and a maximum of 68 cubes with the rear seat folded flat. The Cherokee’s figures are about 28 cubic feet with the rear seats upright and around 55 cubes with them folded. The Cherokee’s cargo floor is adjustable to either allow for more overall volume or for a hidden storage area.

A base Cherokee Latitude costs $25,400. Four-wheel drive is $1,500 more. A Cherokee Latitude Plus with four-wheel drive, the V-6 engine, and a few typical options such as heated seats and a power tailgate costs about $34,000.

The Grand Cherokee starts at around $32,500 in Laredo trim, plus about $2,300 for four-wheel drive. The Laredo E trim with a few typical options such as a power tailgate, heated seats and steering wheel, remote start, and an upgraded 8.4-inch touchscreen for infotainment costs about $40,500—about $6,500 more than a relatively similar Cherokee. Off-road gear such as the two-speed transfer case and skid plates costs another $1,600.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard on both Jeeps. Opting for leather seats requires stepping up to the Limited trim level for both the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee

Jeep charges about $1,500 for active safety tech such as automatic emergency braking and active lane control on the Grand Cherokee, but those potentially life-saving features are only available on the Limited and higher trims. On the Cherokee, that tech costs about $1,100 on the Cherokee Limited, Trailhawk, and Overland trims.

We think the Grand Cherokee is worth the extra money, but some buyers might appreciate the Cherokee’s city-friendly dimensions.

Summary

5.8
Expert Rating
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee appeals for its adventurous side, but it isn’t as roomy as rivals.
7.0
Expert Rating
The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a hugely capable off-roader—or track warrior—wrapped in a smart package.

Styling

7.0
Expert Rating
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee sports a more cohesive exterior design to go with its fashionable cockpit.
Read More
9.0
Expert Rating
The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s looks defy its age.
Read More

Performance

6.0
Expert Rating
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee combines competent on-road manners with unmatched off-road prowess in the class, and it now offers a robust turbo-4 engine.
Read More
10
Expert Rating
No Jeep Grand Cherokee is lacking in impressive hardware—either storming a track or climbing a mountain.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

7.0
Expert Rating
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee benefits from soft-touch materials, but it offers less rear seat and cargo space than rivals.
Read More
10
Expert Rating
The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee is as impressive in its luxury as it is in its capability.
Read More

Safety

4.0
Expert Rating
The Jeep Cherokee’s middling crash-test ratings are somewhat offset by lots of available safety equipment.
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2.0
Expert Rating
The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee shows its age in crash-test scores.
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Features

7.0
Expert Rating
With a range of models and host of options, 2018 Jeep Cherokee buyers can outfit their vehicles to suit their needs.
Read More
7.0
Expert Rating
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is proof that capability (or outright speed) doesn’t have to come at the expense of comfort.
Read More

Fuel Economy

4.0
Expert Rating
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee gets just average fuel economy for its class.
Read More
4.0
Expert Rating
The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee is capable, but costly at the pump.
Read More

MSRP

from $24,795
from $31,945

Invoice

from $24,692
from $31,751

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

25
21

Engine

Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.4 L
Regular Unleaded V-6, 3.6 L

Drivetrain

Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
Rear Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
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