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There’s nothing better than feeling a powerful vehicle beneath you as you traverse unknown terrain. It’s also safe to say that it’s an enjoyable experience to take a leisurely drive to pick up the kids in a roomy SUV. These things are possible within the compact SUV class, but sometimes the trick is picking the right vehicle for your needs. That’s why we’re here to talk about the 2021 Jeep Cherokee and the 2021 Ford Escape. 

It’s easy to assume that all SUVs are rugged, and even those in the compact class can be excellent options for adventurous families. With burly builds and substantial spaciousness, these vehicles appear ready to take on anything and travel any path. However, some SUVs are built for a simpler, but not inferior, life.

It’s essential to consider your lifestyle when choosing a vehicle to fit within your daily grind, but it’s even more critical with compact SUVs. If you’re into taking yours to paths undiscovered, you want to make sure you have the power, literally, to do so. Conversely, if you’re buying an SUV to act as your family or commuter vehicle, there is no reason to pay for performance you simply don’t need. 

Enter the Cherokee and Escape. These two models are mainstays in the automotive industry. If you’re considering purchasing one of these vehicles, it can be challenging to assess which one is best for you.

Let’s look at what the 2021 Jeep Cherokee and the 2021 Ford Escape have to offer. Which one will you be itching to drive off the lot? We’re here to help you find out. 

What we love about the 2021 Jeep Cherokee 

A grey 2021 Jeep Cherokee parked on display
The 2021 Jeep Cherokee on display | Photo via Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The ‘Trail Rated’ badge on Jeep models signifies off-road aptitude. The Cherokee is one of Jeep’s most affordable SUVs. So while it naturally doesn’t hold a candle to the iconic Jeep Wrangler, the Cherokee is significantly more rugged than most other models in the compact SUV class.

A 180-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder comes standard on the 2021 Jeep Cherokee, but it’s best to upgrade to one of the available engines. The upgraded 2.0-liter turbocharged engine delivers 270-hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, which helps power your adventure. 

The 3.2-liter V6 option doesn’t add too much in terms of horsepower, only providing 271 hp, and it decreases the SUV’s fuel economy. However, it dramatically improves the Cherokee’s towing capability, as it offers a maximum capacity of 4,500 pounds. Meanwhile, the 2021 Ford Escape maxes out at a towing capacity of just 3,500 pounds.

Those looking to venture off to parts unknown may want to consider upgrading to the range-topping Trailhawk trim. This model comes with skid plates, all-terrain tires, an off-road suspension, and the best 4×4 system in the lineup.

What we love about the 2021 Ford Escape 

A red 2020 Ford Escape parked next to a building
The 2020 Ford Escape in action | Photo via Ford

Not everyone is looking to get away from the city. Those who are more concerned about running their daily errands in the safest, most efficient manner possible would feel more at home in the 2021 Ford Escape.

The Escape’s 181-hp three-cylinder engine won’t wow you with thrilling performance. However, its fuel-economy rating is quite impressive, as the Escape is one of Ford’s most efficient offerings. The base 2020 Escape achieves 30 MPG city/highway combined, which is five MPG more than the 2021 Cherokee, according to EPA estimates. The EPA has not yet evaluated the 2021 Escape at the time of this writing.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Ford Escape has nearly 14 more cubic feet of cargo space than the 2021 Jeep Cherokee. Plus, it has slightly more passenger volume as well.

The final verdict: which SUV is right for your lifestyle?

The Jeep Cherokee and the Ford Escape are excellent vehicles no matter which way you spin it. These models provide ample space, agile handling, and decent fuel economy for the compact SUV class. If you want a vehicle to keep up with your active lifestyle, forgo the 2021 Ford Escape and head straight for the 2021 Jeep Cherokee. Furthermore, if your SUV is serving as your family vehicle or you maintain a more subdued lifestyle, the 2021 Ford Escape is an excellent choice for you. 


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