2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee vs Ford Explorer

August 28th, 2018 by

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee vs Ford Explorer

Not all midsize sport utility vehicles are created equal, which is good news for buyers. Different buyers want different things, which is why the wide variety of SUVs on the market is a windfall if you’re looking for one. But it can feel overwhelming–which is why you need to do your research. Take the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer. While the Grand Cherokee is more of an adventurous off-roader, the Explorer is more of a dedicated shuttler–both of these vehicles have long-standing reputations for being fantastic vehicles. But which one is best for you? In this comparison, we’ll show you how one wins out in more than a few categories.

Off-roading: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee

This category may be a bit of a no-brainer, since we’re talking about a Jeep, but the 2018 Grand Cherokee offers unparalleled off-roading capability for its class. With the Selec-Terrain Traction Management System, the Grand Cherokee has the capability to take on any terrain or track. That’s a four-wheel-drive system with height-adjustable air suspension, giving you a pocket of air that adjusts depending on road or terrain conditions. On top of that, there are four engine option. The base engine is a 295-horsepower V6, with a 360-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 and a 240-horsepower V6 diesel engine option as well. On the top-tier Grand Cherokee SRT, there’s a 475-horsepower 6.4L V8 engine. If you want to maximize your off-roading potential, invest in the Trailhawk trim.

The 2018 Ford Explorer offers a smooth ride on-road, but it’s mostly out of its depth off-road. The Explorer may have started as a rugged sport utility vehicle, but now it’s evolved into a popular people-hauler. The engine options include the standard 3.5-liter V6, a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6, or a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Off Road

Fuel efficiency: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee

You might expect a dedicated off-roader to get rather poor gas mileage. But the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee defies expectations. The standard engine returns 19 city miles per gallon and 26 highway miles. But its diesel V6 engine is the real star in this category: it gets 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 on the highway.

We’re still waiting on 2018 EPA estimates, but since nothing significant has changed on the 2018 Ford Explorer, we’re expecting the same as last year. That gives us 17 city miles and 24 highway miles per gallon with the standard engine, and 19 city and 27 highway miles for the model-best turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Slightly below average for the midsize SUV class.

Reliability: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer have identical warranties: both are three-year/36,000-mile warranties and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranties. But the Grand Cherokee seems less likely to need repairs in the first place. According to JD Power and Associates, the Jeep Grand Cherokee earned a predicted reliability score of 3 out of 5, while the Explorer rated 2.5 out of 5. If you want to drive longer between pit stops, the Grand Cherokee is your pick.