When it comes to compact SUVs, you can’t do better than the iconic Jeep Cherokee, right? Not so fast. The 2020 Jeep Cherokee is competitively priced and plenty powerful. It has real off-road prowess, particularly with its popular Trailhawk models. That being said, the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe also has good power, plenty of space for passengers and cargo, and it’s loaded with great safety features.
Which SUV does the team at Kelley Blue Book think is the better choice? The answer might surprise you.
The 2020 Jeep Cherokee
Jeep has quite a collection of crossovers and the Cherokee is the biggest of those, according to Car and Driver. Its off-road chops really make it stand out in both its segment and Jeep’s own lineup. It has a towing capacity of 4,500 pounds with the towing package. The Trailhawk models of this SUV possess unusually good off-roading capabilities for its class.
The Cherokee gives you a choice of three engines. There’s a 2.4-liter four-cylinder standard that gets 180 horsepower. There’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that gets 270 horsepower that’s new for 2020. And then there’s the 3.2-liter V6 that gets 271 horsepower.
According to Car and Driver, the new turbo 2.0-liter offers more torque than the V6 and offers better fuel economy too. Keep in mind, when it comes to fuel efficiency, Cherokee isn’t exactly at the top of the class. All engines get a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Aside from Jeep’s distinct good looks, it’s a comfortable ride. You can get most models as either four-wheel-drive or all-wheel drive. When it comes to cargo space, Cherokee doesn’t have the room some of its peers do.
The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
There are so many midsize crossovers SUVs available and not all of them stand out like Jeep. But the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe is definitely worthy of a closer look.
In its fourth generation, the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe is a stylish two-row SUV that’s well-made, roomy, and loaded with standard safety features. There’s plenty of head and legroom and good technology. It has great safety features like automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning with rear-cross traffic assist, and more.
Like the Cherokee, it has a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that gets 185 horsepower. There’s no V6 but there is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that gets 235 horses. Either engine gets an eight-speed automatic transmission with standard front-wheel-drive. All-wheel-drive is optional.
The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe isn’t winning any awards for being the fastest or most fuel-efficient in its segment. It does offer a quiet cruising ride and a more dynamic driving experience. It’s got great safety ratings and Hyundai’s excellent warranty.
The better SUV is…
The 2020 Jeep Cherokee wins if you’re after a compact SUV strictly for off-roading. But the KBB team favors the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe over the 2020 Jeep Cherokee overall.
The Santa Fe offers great practicality and value. It’s comparable to the Jeep Cherokee but the KBB team found the Santa Fe offered a ride that was more refined and comfortable. It has more cargo and passenger space which makes it a great family vehicle, according to U.S. News. The moment you climb into the Santa Fe, you get a comfortable, quiet almost upscale experience.
U.S. News liked the 2020 Santa Fe so much they named it the 2020 Best 2-Row SUV for the Money for its combination of value and quality. They also named it their 2020 Best New SUV for Teens $35,000 to $40,000.
Comfort, convenience, and practicality mesh with good safety ratings and the peace of mind with Hyundai’s wonderful warranty in an SUV that will appeal to many.