Jeep Cherokee vs. Grand Cherokee (What’s the Difference)

Jeep Cherokee vs Grand Cherokee

The Jeep Cherokee and the Jeep Grand Cherokee are two popular SUV models of the American automaker Jeep. There are many similarities between these cars. They are rugged, have off-road capabilities, and spacious interiors. It can become hard to differentiate them and decide which is better.

Notwithstanding, one of the major differences between the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee is their sizes. Cherokee comes in quite a smaller size because it's a compact SUV compared to the Grand Cherokee, a midsize SUV. This small size improves its maneuverability and ability to handle obstacles.

Grand Cherokee features a larger interior space, more ground clearance, and cargo capacity than the Cherokee. However, the differences between the Grand Cherokee and Jeep Cherokee go beyond size. Each of these cars has strengths and weaknesses, and understanding them will help you make better choices.

Let’s discuss everything you need to know about the major differences between Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee.

Jeep Cherokee vs. Grand Cherokee: Detailed Comparison

SizeJeep CherokeeGrand Cherokee
Ground Clearance
8.4 inches
10.9 inches - 11.3 inches
Design: Spacing, and Comfort
Bigger and Larger
Engine and Performance
Towing and Off Road Capabilities
Gas Mileage

Six Major Differences Between Jeep Cherokee vs. Grand Cherokee

1. Design

It shouldn't be surprising that the Grand Cherokee beats the Jeep Cherokee with a better design. The interior space on Grand Cherokee is bigger, there's more room for passengers, and its build quality can handle tougher terrains.

With the Grand Cherokee, you have more comfort and space than in the Jeep Cherokee. However, Grand Cherokee takes it a step further in the integration of technology in its designs.

There are provisions of similar infotainment on both models, but most standard features on Cherokee that will cost you extra to get on the Grand Cherokee. So, you're simply paying more to get more. However, you will get more advanced features on the Grand Cherokee's top trims.

In terms of the quality of the interior design, Grand Cherokee takes the win. Jeep Cherokee's interior looks like it is made of cheaper materials, unlike Grand Cherokee which can compare with some costly luxury brands.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee offers more cargo space, and enough room for passengers and cargo, making it the best choice for families or individuals needing to haul a lot of gear.

Grand Cherokee features a 37.7 cubic feet storage space, but up to 70.8 cubic feet when the seats are folded back.

Winner: Grand Cherokee

2. Engine and Performance

When it comes to performance, both the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee offer a range of engine options, but Grand Cherokee does it better with its engine and the performance it delivers. Both models come with a V6 base engine, but Grand Cherokee has a more improved engine. You are getting either a 2.4 or 3.2-liter four-cylinder V6 engine from the Cherokee and a 3.6L V6 engine, to 5.7L and 6.4L V8 engines on Grand Cherokee.

With the Grand Jeep, you are getting more power, acceleration, and even towing capacity than what is offered by the Jeep Cherokee. Jeep Cherokee guarantees 271 hp on the 3.2L engine while the Grand Cherokee offers 293 hp on the 3.6L engine.

You must understand that there are variations in engine delivery of the different engine options of the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee. You might get a different speed and power from different models and trims of both cars.

Your choice between the engine of both cars depends on your needs for speed and power. Grand Cherokee will get you faster launches and plenty of reserves and active power.

Equipped with a 5.7 V8 offering up to 357 hp, there is no Jeep Cherokee's engine that comes close.

This makes Grand Cherokee a better choice for those who need a vehicle that can handle heavy loads or tackle tough terrain. Towing is also better on Grand Cherokee. On a normal day, with the proper equipment, Grand Cherokee can tow up to 7200 pounds. This is better than Cherokee which tows 4500 pounds.

Winner: Grand Cherokee

3. Off-Road Ability and Driving Dynamics

Another major difference between the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee is their off-road capabilities. Both vehicles come equipped with Jeep's signature four-wheel drive system and have high ground clearance, allowing them to tackle rough and rugged terrain.

However, the Grand Cherokee has a more advanced four-wheel drive system and offers additional off-road features such as a two-speed transfer case and a limited-slip differential, making it more capable on rough terrain. This is without failing to mention that Grand Cherokee's increased engine strength gives it an advantage on off-road terrains.

Jeep Cherokee remains one of the few small crossovers that can handle off-road terrains when fully equipped. This is specific to the Trailhawk trim.

This does not in any way compare to how good the Grand Cherokee can be when it comes to off-road driving.

You get more features like descent control, an off-road camera, a Limited-slip differential, a sway bar, air suspension, skid plates, and lots more. There's also a terrain management system that helps you select your desired mode, snow or mud, according to your driving needs.

The driving dynamics are more sophisticated on Grand Cherokee, delivering smoother rides, and agile handling even over rough surfaces.

This is without failing to mention that Cherokee's smaller frame gives it an edge on maneuverability, but that is how far it can go, compared to its larger pair.

Winner: Grand Cherokee

4. Safety and Technology

Both the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee earn fair safety ratings from the NHTSA and IIHS. The truth is, Jeep cars are not that big on safety and passenger protection, compared to other brands.

Jeep Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee have not earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick (+) award for quite some time. This can be worrisome. However, there are quite some good things going on with both cars.

Both vehicles are equipped with various advanced safety features like electronic stability control, traction control, rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.

Although Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee are almost equal in terms of safety, the Grand model takes the lead with technology.

Both cars are equipped with touchscreen infotainment systems, built-in navigations, Bluetooth connectivity, streaming audio, and advanced safety systems, but you are assured of more advancements in the Grand model.

We see this with the introduction of autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. The technological differences are not much, but it is worth mentioning.

You must understand that the safety and technology features vary according to the trim level of any of the models you choose. You might consider comparing the specific technology offerings of each model before making a decision.

Winner: Both

5. Pricing

Price comparisons of Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee usually depend on the model, trim level, and production year that you are comparing. Notwithstanding, Grand Cherokee is costlier than Jeep Cherokee.

The Grand Cherokee costs more because they are larger and offer more premium features. It’s more like saying that the price increase is justifiable.

The Grand Cherokee is also typically positioned as a higher-end model in Jeep's lineup, and this will contribute to its higher price.

Regarding pricing, the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee are similar, with the Cherokee starting at around $25,000 and the Grand Cherokee starting at around $33,000.

The price difference between Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee is not always much, probably an extra $7,000 - $8,000. This depends on a lot of factors.

Grand Cherokee's higher-end trim levels cost significantly more than the Cherokee's top trim, with prices reaching up to $70,000 or more. But you will get lower prices for base trims. The dealer you are buying your Cherokee from will also play a great role in the prices of these cars.

There are options for you to customize your Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee just as you want. You must understand that the transmission, engine, additional features, and amenities you choose will influence the price.

Winner: Jeep Cherokee

6. Gas Mileage

Most times, the bigger a car gets, the more gas it consumes. This is the case with Grand Cherokee.

Grand Cherokee has engines that deliver a burst of power and speed, but this comes at the expense of gas mileage. Cherokee gets 20/29 mpg for city and highway, increased to 23/31 mpg on its turbo-four engine.

Although this is not the best Gas Mileage compared to cars in its category, it is better than what the larger and heavier Jeep Grand Cherokee offers.

Grand Cherokee steps in with a meager 19/26 mpg on V6 engines and 14/22 mpg on V8.

If you are a gas conservation fan and still want a Grand Cherokee, consider going for the 4xe hybrid option that returns 23 mpg, with the EV mode getting up to 56MPGe, and 26 miles after a full charge.

Winner: Jeep Cherokee


Jeep Cherokee and the Jeep Grand Cherokee are great cars to own, considering their off-road capabilities and engine strength. It is evident that the Grand Cherokee is better than Jeep Cherokee, but this boils down to your needs, budget, and preferences.

You'd prefer the Cherokee if you need a compact and maneuverable vehicle with decent off-road capabilities, but the Grand Cherokee is a better choice if you need a larger and more powerful vehicle with more advanced off-road capabilities and a higher-end interior.

Getting a Grand Cherokee will cost you extra compared to the Cherokee, so you must be sure that your choice aligns with your budget.