The SUV market has become increasingly competitive in recent years, with manufacturers constantly striving to create vehicles that cater to various tastes, needs, and budgets. Two such SUVs that have long held sway in the market are the 2023 Ford Explorer and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Each model brings its unique blend of features and performance to the table, making it difficult for prospective buyers to choose between them.
In this comparison, we will delve into the exterior design, interior design, seating, storage, performance, fuel efficiency, safety, trim levels, and pricing of both vehicles to help you make an informed decision.
The 2023 Ford Explorer features a bold, athletic design that reflects its robust performance capabilities. The assertive front grille, flanked by sleek LED headlamps, ensures the vehicle stands out in a crowd. The Explorer’s sculpted body lines and muscular stance lend it an air of sophistication and confidence.
Jeep is known for its rugged design, and the Grand Cherokee is no exception. With its iconic seven-slot grille, distinctive LED headlights, and aggressive lines, the Grand Cherokee embodies Jeep’s heritage. The vehicle also boasts a muscular, yet refined, profile that captures the essence of the brand.
The interior of the 2023 Ford Explorer is designed with driver and passenger comfort in mind. High-quality materials, such as available leather upholstery, create a premium feel. The cabin layout is user-friendly, with easy-to-use controls and a large, responsive infotainment touchscreen. Ambient lighting and available heated and ventilated seats further enhance the in-car experience.
The Grand Cherokee’s interior strikes a balance between ruggedness and luxury. High-quality materials, like available Nappa leather seats, are combined with soft-touch surfaces and wood accents. The user-friendly Uconnect infotainment system offers an intuitive interface and ample connectivity options. Additional creature comforts, like available heated and ventilated seats, are also offered.
The 2023 Ford Explorer can comfortably seat up to seven passengers across its three rows of seating. Second-row captain’s chairs are available for added comfort, reducing capacity to six. Regardless of configuration, the Explorer offers ample legroom and headroom for passengers in all seating positions.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee, in contrast, is a two-row SUV that seats up to five passengers. Both rows provide ample space and support, with plenty of headroom and legroom for taller passengers. Available power-adjustable seats make it easy to find the perfect seating position for long drives.
With all seats in place, the Explorer offers 18.2 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding the third-row seats down increases that number to 47.9 cubic feet, while folding both the second and third rows opens up an impressive 87.8 cubic feet of space. The hands-free liftgate and available cargo management system further enhance the vehicle’s practicality.
The Grand Cherokee provides 36.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, which can be expanded to 68.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. While not as spacious as the Explorer, the Grand Cherokee still offers plenty of room for luggage and equipment, along with an available power liftgate for ease of access.
The 2023 Explorer comes with multiple powertrain options, starting with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine producing 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. A 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6, available in two power outputs (365 and 400 horsepower), and a 3.3-liter hybrid powertrain are also offered, providing a range of options to suit different needs.
The Explorer boasts a smooth and controlled ride, with available all-wheel drive and Terrain Management System for improved off-road capability.
Performance is at the core of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which offers a variety of powertrain options, including a 3.6-liter V6 with 293 horsepower, a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 producing 357 horsepower, and an available plug-in hybrid variant for increased efficiency.
The Grand Cherokee’s off-road prowess is further enhanced by its Quadra-Trac and Quadra-Drive II 4×4 systems, as well as its available Selec-Terrain Traction Management System.
The 2023 Ford Explorer’s fuel efficiency varies based on the powertrain. The base 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine delivers an estimated 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The hybrid powertrain offers the best fuel economy, with an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
The Grand Cherokee’s fuel efficiency also depends on the chosen powertrain. The base 3.6-liter V6 engine provides an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, while the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 offers 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. The plug-in hybrid variant is the most fuel-efficient option, with EPA ratings of 46 MPGe combined.
The 2023 Explorer comes standard with Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of driver assistance technologies, including Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane-Keeping System, and a rearview camera with a built-in lens cleaner. Available upgrades include Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Evasive Steering Assist, and Active Park Assist 2.0.
Safety is a priority for the Grand Cherokee, which comes standard with Jeep’s ProTech I package, featuring Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path Detection, and ParkSense Rear Park Assist. Higher trim levels include additional safety features, such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop, Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, and LaneSense Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist.
The 2023 Ford Explorer is available in several trim levels, including Base, XLT, Limited, Timberline, ST, and Platinum. Each trim offers different levels of features and amenities, allowing buyers to choose a model that best suits their preferences and budget.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee offers a range of trim levels as well, including Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, SRT, and the high-performance Trackhawk. Each trim level adds unique features and styling elements, providing options for buyers with diverse needs and tastes.
Pricing for the 2023 Ford Explorer starts at around $33,000 for the Base model, with higher trims like the ST and Platinum coming in around $53,000 and $55,000, respectively. Prices vary depending on options, packages, and powertrain choices.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee’s starting price is around $37,000 for the Laredo trim, while the range-topping Trackhawk can reach upwards of $90,000. As with the Explorer, pricing will vary depending on the chosen trim level, options, and powertrain.
Passenger Capacity and Seating Configuration:
The most notable difference between the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee is their passenger capacity. The Explorer has three rows of seating, accommodating up to seven passengers (or six with the available captain’s chairs), while the Grand Cherokee features a two-row configuration with a seating capacity of up to five passengers. For those with larger families or who frequently require additional seating, the Explorer would be a more suitable choice.
When it comes to cargo capacity, the Explorer offers more overall space compared to the Grand Cherokee. With all seats in place, the Explorer provides 18.2 cubic feet of storage, while the Grand Cherokee offers 36.3 cubic feet behind the second row. With the seats folded down, the Explorer expands to a maximum of 87.8 cubic feet, whereas the Grand Cherokee’s maximum cargo space reaches 68.3 cubic feet. For buyers who prioritize cargo space, the Explorer has a clear advantage.
While both SUVs are equipped with features that enhance their off-road abilities, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has a stronger reputation for off-road performance. Its available Quadra-Trac and Quadra-Drive II 4×4 systems, as well as the Selec-Terrain Traction Management System, provide the Grand Cherokee with a greater degree of off-road prowess compared to the Explorer, which relies on its available all-wheel drive and Terrain Management System.
In terms of fuel efficiency, the Ford Explorer’s base 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine is more fuel-efficient than the Grand Cherokee’s base 3.6-liter V6, achieving an estimated 21/28 mpg city/highway compared to the Grand Cherokee’s 19/26 mpg. The Explorer also offers a hybrid powertrain with an EPA-estimated 27/29 mpg city/highway, while the Grand Cherokee’s most efficient option is the plug-in hybrid, with a combined rating of 46 MPGe.
Trim Levels and Pricing:
Both vehicles have a wide range of trim levels, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee covers a broader price range, starting at around $37,000 for the base Laredo trim and extending up to $90,000 for the high-performance Trackhawk. The Ford Explorer starts at a lower price of around $33,000 for the base model, with the highest trims priced in the mid-$50,000 range. For those on a tighter budget, the Explorer offers a more affordable entry point.
In summary, both the 2023 Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee have much to offer prospective buyers in the competitive SUV market. Each vehicle showcases its unique blend of style, performance, and features that cater to a wide range of needs and preferences. The Ford Explorer stands out with its additional seating capacity and ample cargo space, making it an excellent choice for larger families and those who prioritize space. On the other hand, the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s reputation for off-road performance and a broader spectrum of trim levels and pricing options make it an attractive option for adventure seekers and those desiring customization.
Ultimately, the decision between the two SUVs comes down to individual priorities and lifestyle requirements. By carefully considering the key differences outlined in this comprehensive comparison, you can make a well-informed choice that best suits your needs and preferences. Both the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee have proven to be reliable, versatile, and popular SUVs, so you can’t go wrong with either choice. Happy car hunting!
2023 Ford Explorer:
- Exterior Design:
- Bold, athletic design
- Assertive front grille
- Sculpted body lines
- Interior Design:
- High-quality materials
- User-friendly controls
- Large infotainment touchscreen
- Up to 7 passengers (3-row seating)
- Available second-row captain’s chairs
- 18.2 – 87.8 cubic feet of cargo space
- Multiple powertrain options (2.3L EcoBoost, 3.0L EcoBoost V6, and 3.3L Hybrid)
- Available all-wheel drive and Terrain Management System
- Fuel Efficiency:
- 21/28 mpg city/highway (2.3L EcoBoost)
- 27/29 mpg city/highway (Hybrid)
- Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of driver assistance technologies
- Available Adaptive Cruise Control, Evasive Steering Assist, and Active Park Assist 2.0
- Trim Levels:
- Base, XLT, Limited, Timberline, ST, and Platinum
- Starting price around $33,000
- Higher trims range from $53,000 to $55,000
Jeep Grand Cherokee:
- Exterior Design:
- Rugged, iconic design
- Seven-slot grille
- Distinctive LED headlights
- Interior Design:
- High-quality materials
- Uconnect infotainment system
- Available heated and ventilated seats
- Up to 5 passengers (2-row seating)
- Ample space in both rows
- 36.3 – 68.3 cubic feet of cargo space
- Multiple powertrain options (3.6L V6, 5.7L HEMI V8, and Plug-in Hybrid)
- Quadra-Trac and Quadra-Drive II 4×4 systems, Selec-Terrain Traction Management System
- Fuel Efficiency:
- 19/26 mpg city/highway (3.6L V6)
- 46 MPGe combined (Plug-in Hybrid)
- Jeep ProTech I package (Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path Detection, and ParkSense Rear Park Assist)
- Available Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, and LaneSense Lane Departure Warning
- Trim Levels:
- Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, SRT, and Trackhawk
- Starting price around $37,000
- Higher trims range up to $90,000