Car Comparison

2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2020 Jeep Cherokee: Which Is Better?

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee 4WD Latitude Plus
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee
MSRP $31,580
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee 4WD Latitude Plus
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee
MSRP $31,385
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee 4WD Latitude Plus
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee
MSRP $31,580
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee 4WD Latitude Plus
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee
MSRP $31,580
RELATED READING
See all Jeep Cherokee articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Karma cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs MAZDA cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Eric Brandt February 2020

Ford Explorer and Jeep Cherokee are two old names in the SUV world. They might bring back memories of SUVs from the 90s driven by your parents or even yourself, and they're two names that still represent big players in today's SUV market. They compete with each other, but there are a few distinct differences that set them apart and make them good for different drivers.

Which one is right for you depends on your wants and needs. Here are some of the differences and similarities between the Ford Explorer and the Jeep Cherokee.

2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2020 Jeep Cherokee exterior

Exterior

One of the biggest differences between these two SUVs is size. The Explorer is a midsize SUV, and the Cherokee is a compact SUV. As a result, the Explorer is 17 inches longer and a few inches wider and taller than the Cherokee. This makes the Cherokee more maneuverable and easier to park, but it obviously gives the Explorer more interior space, which we'll dive into shortly. See the 2020 Jeep Cherokee models for sale near you

In the exterior design department, these two SUVs have distinct character. The Cherokee is one of the more rugged entries in the compact crossover segment, and that's reflected in its design, especially in the more off-road-ready trims, like the Trailhawk. The Explorer, on the other hand, is intended to be more of a road-going family SUV and has a look that's sleek and stylish. See the 2020 Ford Explorer models for sale near you

2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2020 Jeep Cherokee interior

Interior

In both SUVs, you'll find mostly nice, quality materials with some hard plastics here and there. The Explorer has been fully redesigned for 2020, but frankly, it doesn't feel all that modern on the inside. It's a nice interior, but the design is just a bit bland. The interior design of the Cherokee has a little more character that Jeep shoppers will likely appreciate.

As for seating, every 2020 Cherokee has two rows of seating with a total of five seats, while the 2020 Explorer comes standard with 3-row seating. The Explorer can seat up to seven, but most models have second-row captain's chairs and a total of six seats. The Explorer is open on the inside and has above-average cargo space for its class. The Cherokee has adequate seating space and below-average cargo space for a compact crossover.

Because it has more seating and more cargo space, the Explorer is clearly intended to be more of a family SUV than the Cherokee. The Cherokee can be good for small families who don't have a lot of cargo to haul, but if you're looking for a minivan alternative, you'll find what you're looking for in the Explorer.

2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2020 Jeep Cherokee mechanicals

Mechanicals

The Cherokee has three engine options and the Explorer has four, including two variants of the same engine and a hybrid option. The Jeep comes with standard front-wheel drive and optional four-wheel drive, while the Explorer returns to its roots of standard rear-wheel drive and optional 4WD.

2020 Ford Explorer Engines

  • 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-four making 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque; up to 21 miles per gallon in the city/28 mpg on the highway

  • 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 making 365 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque; up to 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy

  • 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 (ST) making 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque; up to 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy

  • 3.3-liter hybrid V6 making 318 hp and 322 lb-ft of torque; up to 27 mpg city/29 mpg hwy

2020 Jeep Cherokee Engines

  • 2.4-liter inline-four making 180 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque; 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy

  • 3.2-liter V6 making 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque; 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy

  • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four making 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque; up to 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy

Clearly, both of these SUVs offer quite a bit of variety under the hood. The Explorer achieves excellent fuel economy for its class with its base turbo-four and its frugal hybrid model. It also has a new ST variant that adds exciting on-road performance to this family hauler.

The Cherokee also achieves pretty good fuel economy for its class and is one of the few compact SUVs in its class to still offer a V6 engine. We recommend opting for the turbocharged four-cylinder in the Cherokee if your budget allows it since it's the best engine available in the Cherokee for both performance and fuel economy.

The Explorer is pretty good off-road, but the Cherokee really lives up to its Jeep name when it comes to off-roading capabilities. This is especially true of the Cherokee Trailhawk which adds special off-road suspension and an upgraded four-wheel drive system to tackle particularly tough terrain. On the other hand, no form of the Cherokee comes close to offering the on-road performance of the 400-hp Explorer ST.

If on-road performance is a priority for you, then you'll prefer the Ford. If you want an everyday commuter than can also do some pretty technical off-roading, then you'll love the off-road chops of the Cherokee.

2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2020 Jeep Cherokee technology

Technology

The redesign of the Explorer brought with it a generous host of standard driver assistance technology. The 2020 Explorer comes standard with the Co-Pilot360 driver assistance tech suite which comes with blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beams, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, and post-collision braking. The Cherokee, on the other hand, comes standard with a rearview camera, rear parking sensors and not much else. Available options include lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.

As for infotainment technology, these SUVs are a little more evenly matched. The standard infotainment system in the Explorer is an 8-in touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay that's upgradeable to a big, vertical 10.1-in tablet-style display. The Cherokee has a standard 7-in Uconnect infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and it's one of the most user-friendly systems on the market.

2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2020 Jeep Cherokee pricing

Pricing

Since these two SUVs are in different segments, the midsize Explorer is obviously more expensive than the compact Cherokee. The Explorer has a starting MSRP of $32,765 and can cross the $60k mark in the range-topping Platinum trim when you add features like a rear-seat entertainment system. The Explorer hybrid is only available in the Limited trim and starts at $52,280. The smaller Cherokee is much more affordable starting at $25,740 and getting up to around the $40k mark in the top Trailhawk Elite trim when you add extra options.

2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2020 Jeep Cherokee conclusion

Conclusion

These two SUVs are a little too different from each other to declare one clearly better than the other. The Cherokee is the better off-roader, and it's much more affordable than the bigger Explorer. Meanwhile, the Explorer is clearly the better family SUV with a lot more space, three rows of seats and a generous cargo hold. Which one is right for you will depend on your priorities.

If you like the idea of a midsize SUV like the Explorer, but with the rugged capabilities of a Jeep, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is worth consideration as long as you don't need three rows of seats. Find a Ford Explorer for sale or Find a Jeep Cherokee for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee 4WD Latitude Plus
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee
MSRP $31,580
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee 4WD Latitude Plus
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee
MSRP $31,385
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee 4WD Latitude Plus
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee
MSRP $31,580
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee 4WD Latitude Plus
New 2020 Jeep Cherokee
MSRP $31,580
We use cookies and browser activity to improve your experience, personalize content and ads, and analyze how our sites are used. For more information on how we collect and use this information, please review our Privacy Policy. California consumers may exercise their CCPA rights here.
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2020 Jeep Cherokee: Which Is Better? - Autotrader
×