However, each one is different, and it could be hard to figure out which one will meet your needs. Consumer Reports reviewed both of them, so let’s see what they had to say about each one, starting with the Jeep Cherokee.
The good and bad about the Jeep Cherokee
The Jeep Cherokee’s base model comes equipped with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. However, it doesn’t seem to have very much pep under the hood. Acceleration is sluggish, only clocking 7.5 seconds for a 0 to 60 mph run.
Choosing the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder might be a tad bit better, but not by much. Consumer Reports reported that the engine produces 270 hp, but you could hardly tell that it does. It still seemed slow. In fact, they said to skip past both of these engines and go straight for the V6 motor because it had better power delivery.
The Jeep Cherokee’s braking performance blows many other rivals out of the water. There were short stopping distances on all the tests they did on both wet and dry conditions. The brake pedal responded well to their touch and was easy to modulate.
The Jeep Cherokee has an exceptional interior space. Consumer Reports gave four out of five stars for seat comfort and for interior fit and finish. Few rivals can claim the same thing.
What didn’t impress them was the transmission, fuel economy, and trunk space. Jeep’s nine-speed automatic didn’t shift gears smoothly, nor was it very responsive. EPA ratings gave the Cherokee a score of three out of five points since the SUV could only get 34 mpg on the highway, and 23 combined. Rival vehicles could do better.
All in all, the Cherokee wins when it comes to off-roading. There’s nothing better than going off the beaten path with a rugged vehicle like the Jeep Cherokee.
What the Chevy Equinox offers SUV owners
The Chevy Equinox did somewhat better with Consumer Reports critics, but not by much. What Chevy got right is easy: The Equinox excels in ride comfort, roominess, and quiet cabin space. However, the interior fit and finish was nothing special. Hard plastic surfaces abound. Chrome accents sprinkled around was a nice touch, but they did little to impress the critics.
Trunk space is decent with the Equinox, having plenty of storage for groceries, luggage, and all sorts of items you need to store. The only problem you might have would be the way they designed the rear hatch. The slope in the door could limit what items could go back there. Kelley Blue Book reports that the Equinox does well as a family vehicle.
Under the hood of the Chevy Equinox is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 170 hp. But critics felt there just wasn’t enough zip with this six-speed automatic motor.
That was apparent when its acceleration time came out to be 9.6 seconds for a 0 to 60 mph run. However, you can choose a more powerful motor, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 252 hp with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Which one should you choose?
Each vehicle has its pluses and its downsides. The Chevy Equinox shines through with its ride quality and trunk storage space. It has better fuel economy than the Cherokee, achieving 34 mpg on the highway, 17 mpg in the city, and 25 mpg combined. The Jeep Cherokee is a couple of mpg behind in both city driving and combined ratings.
On the flip side, the Cherokee outshines the Equinox when it comes to off-roading and towing if you opt for the V6 engine. With the more powerful motor, the Jeep can handle up to 4,500 lbs, and that number dips to 3,500 lbs if you chose the 2.0 engine.
You’ll find many features built-in that’s geared for driving on rough terrain surfaces. It can handle snowy areas, mud, and sand. The Equinox isn’t designed to go off-road at all.
Either vehicle would be a great option, but it depends on what you’re looking for in a compact SUV. If you want to tackle off-beaten paths, the Jeep Cherokee is the one to go for. If you’d rather have trunk space and an edge on fuel economy, the Chevy Equinox is the No. 1 choice.
Both the Jeep Cherokee and the Chevy Equinox have their strengths and weaknesses, but each one has a market that they’re designed to appeal to. If you’ve figured out a compact SUV is what you want, these two vehicles will be the ones to turn to.