Refreshed for 2019 (with a new, less-polarizing front end), the Jeep Cherokee starts at $23,995 in front-wheel-drive form, while pricing for a 4x4 Cherokee starts at $25,495, and top-of-the-line Overland models begin at $36,970 in 4x4 configuration. Fuel economy ranges from 26 mpg combined for a front-wheel-drive turbo four-cylinder model down to 21 mpg combined for a V6-powered four-wheel drive Trailhawk (the trail-rated version for those who actually plan on taking their SUV off-road). Because this type of information always is more helpful when you have something to compare it to, the editors at Autobytel have come up with a list of 10 Jeep Cherokee competitors to consider. Read on to see how they all stack up.
10 Jeep Cherokee Competitors to Consider
Photo Credit: Volkswagen
10. 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan
If you’re looking for a crossover with a bit more of a sophisticated European look but still want something affordable, then the Volkswagen Tiguan might be the solution. Starting at $24,595, you get a very nice interior and a very comfortable ride, but unfortunately the handling isn’t quite up to what you’d expect from Volkswagen, and the engine is a bit weak while only returning 23 to 24 mpg combined.
On the other hand, the Tiguan is one of the few compact SUVs available with a third row (though it does eat up cargo room), or if you want something smaller and sportier, Volkswagen also offers the Golf Alltrack.
Photo Credit: General Motors
9. 2018 Chevrolet Equinox / GMC Terrain
Starting at $23,580 in a front-wheel drive trim, the Equinox manages to just undercut the Jeep Cherokee in terms of price. Both the Chevrolet Equinox and its sibling the GMC Terrain are surprisingly agile and fun to drive, and if you go for an all-wheel drive version you can choose between front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive mode. Fuel economy for the smaller gasoline engine is a reasonable 28 mpg combined in front-wheel drive trim, though all-wheel drive models with the larger engine are less economical at 23 mpg.
There’s also an available diesel option with a combined fuel economy rating of 32 mpg, though you’ll need to do lots of driving in order for the extra price of the diesel engine to pay off.
Photo Credit: Ford
8. 2018 Ford Escape
The Ford Escape starts at $23,940 for a base front-wheel-drive model, with the cheapest all-wheel-drive model starting at $27,050. While you can’t complain about the available small turbocharged engine's performance, the Escape's fuel economy isn’t particularly good, ranging from 26 mpg for a front-wheel-drive model with the smaller turbocharged four-cylinder down to 23 mpg for an all-wheel-drive version with the larger turbo engine.
The interior materials are nice, the ride is smooth and the handling is good, though like most compact SUVs the Escape is best on-road, with the all-wheel-drive system working best to keep you moving when the road gets covered in snow or ice, rather than to get you out of a mud hole.
Photo Credit: Kia
7. 2018 Kia Niro
The Kia Niro is a little bit smaller than the Jeep Cherokee, but with a starting price of $23,340, it’s also cheaper while providing a hybrid powertrain that produces excellent fuel economy of 50 mpg combined (in the base FE trim). That makes the Niro nearly twice as economical as the Cherokee, something that could make the next family road trip just that much more epic. Alternatively, there’s a plug-in hybrid available with 26 miles of electric range that would be perfect for a family that makes lots of short trips.
The main drawback is the complete lack of an all-wheel-drive option, making the Niro more of a fair-weather friend, but once you get around that it’s a great Jeep Cherokee alternative.
Photo Credit: Volvo
6. 2018 Volvo XC60
The Volvo XC60 starts at $41,500, and while that is significantly more expensive than a Cherokee, you do get a more premium and comfortable vehicle for your extra money. The XC60 is more luxurious than sporty, and like all Volvos, the XC60 places an emphasis on safety, though not all of the available safety tech is standard. None of the models are particularly frugal when it comes to fuel economy, with the plug-in hybrid leading the trims with an electric range of 18 miles and a combined fuel economy rating of 26 mpg after that.
If you don’t need the higher driving position or extra ground clearance offered by the XC60, you may want to consider a Volvo V60 wagon as they’re slightly less expensive, almost as roomy, better to drive and available with all-wheel drive.
Photo Credit: Mazda
5. 2018 Mazda CX-5
If you want an SUV for its space or driving position but place more emphasis on thoroughly enjoying paved roads and never plan on doing any serious off-roading, then the Mazda CX-5 is a great choice. Sure, there are competitors with more power, but the CX-5’s sweet handling and encouraging chassis make up for any power deficit (and probably do more to put a smile on your face than a few extra horsepower would). Fuel economy ranges from 29 mpg for a front-wheel-drive model with the smaller four-cylinder engine down to 26 mpg for an all-wheel-drive model with the larger four cylinder, all respectable numbers (especially for normally aspirated engines).
Photo Credit: Honda
4. 2018 Honda CR-V
With a starting price of $24,250, the Honda CR-V is a great package, offering nice styling, a pleasant interior with good materials and lots of passenger and cargo space, capable handling and a comfortable ride. The CR-V isn’t the quickest off the line, but its engines are efficient ranging from 30 mpg combined for front-wheel drive models powered by the small turbo four-cylinder down to 27 mpg for all-wheel-drive models with the larger but less-powerful normally-aspirated four cylinder. The CR-V isn’t meant for real off-road use and towing capacity is limited to 1,500 pounds, but other than that there isn’t much to complain about and it ticks just about every compact SUV box.
Photo Credit: Subaru
3. 2019 Subaru Outback
Starting at $26,345, the Subaru Outback is a great alternative to the Jeep Cherokee. On smooth pavement or dirt roads, the Outback is a match for the Jeep in terms of handling, ride quality and capability, and it’s surprisingly good for light off-roading, as well (while you may not expect it, the Outback provides an impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which is more than all but the top-of-the-line Cherokees).
Unlike other Subarus, the Outback isn’t particularly fun to drive, and all models feature a continuously variable transmission (we think a manual option would transform the Outback’s character). Four-cylinder models are reasonably efficient with a combined fuel economy rating of 28 mpg, but six-cylinder models are rated at a fairly dismal 22 mpg.
Photo Credit: Land Rover
2. 2018 Range Rover Evoque
If you have a bit more money to spend and want a compact crossover that’s good both on- and off-road, then the Range Rover Evoque might be the Jeep Cherokee competitor to consider. Ground clearance is only 8.3 inches, but the Evoque can wade through an impressive 19.6 inches of water. Starting at $41,800, base models of the Evoque are fairly reasonably priced, but it’s easy to add enough options to push an Evoque to well over $60,000. Other downsides include a very firm ride and fuel economy of between 24 and 25 mpg depending on the engine (although they are powerful enough to get the Evoque moving quickly and can tow up to 3,968 pounds).
Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
1. 2018 Jeep Wrangler
With a starting price of $30,995 for an entry-level four-door Sport version and Rubicons starting at $40,995, the new Jeep Wrangler is a bit more expensive than the Cherokee, but if you plan on doing any real off-roading it’s far more capable. And the new version of the Wrangler is much better than you’d expect on-road as well, with handling and ride comfort that’s much better than any previous open-top Jeep (though its fuel economy numbers of 24 to 19 mpg combined still aren’t great). The interior also is much improved, with an updated design, better materials and more sound deadening. A diesel engine, as well as a pickup truck version, are expected to arrive in the next year or two.