Skip to main content

The 2021 Jeep Cherokee and the 2021 GMC Terrain make for interesting vehicles. Both reside in the compact SUV segment and are available with your choice of engine under the hood. Both the Jeep Cherokee and the GMC Terrain able to tow a decent amount too. But of the two, which comes out on top? 

2021 Jeep® Cherokee Trailhawk in the sand
2021 Jeep® Cherokee Trailhawk | Jeep

The 2021 Jeep Cherokee can be had with a powerful V6

While the 2021 Jeep Cherokee is standard with a 2.4-liter engine, Kelley Blue Book recommends upgrading to the Cherokee’s available V6 engine. While it will cost you, Kelley Blue Book says its well worth the spend “as the turbo’s extra torque will come in handy if you’re doing any off-roading.”

Unfortunately for GMC shoppers, the 2021 GMC Terrain isn’t available with a V6 engine. Instead, the GMC Terrain can be had with your choice of a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder or a 2.0-liter turbo engine.

Hoping to hit the trails? Then choose the 2021 Jeep Cherokee

Jeep is known for manufacturing capable off-roaders. That certainly holds true when it comes to the 2021 Jeep Cherokee. Available with a variety of 4×4 systems, the Jeep Cherokee is capable of taking on all different types of roads and trails. Opt for the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, and enjoy the advantages of a Trail Rated SUV that’s had its traction, water fording, maneuverability, articulation, and ground clearance seriously put to the test.

As for the GMC Terrain? Well, way back when in January, GMC said it would be releasing an off-road variant of the Terrain. GM Authority was even able to snag a quick look at it. So far though? The GMC Terrain AT4 hasn’t arrived at dealerships.

This capable off-roader can tow a pretty heavy load too

The Jeep Cherokee is more than a capable off-roader. In fact, when equipped with the available 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 engine, the 2021 Jeep Cherokee is able to tow up to 4,500 pounds. Opt for the available 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and that number drops to 4,000 pounds, which is still pretty impressive. And if you stick with the Cherokee’s base engine? This SUV is able to tow 2,000 pounds.

Of course, the 2021 GMC Terrain is capable of towing too. Just not as much as the 2021 Jeep Cherokee. In fact, the GMC Terrain boasts a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

You’ll be able to take advantage of the Jeep Wave program

Off-road chops and an available V6 aren’t the only reasons to choose the 2021 Jeep Cherokee over its GMC competition either. Unlike the GMC Terrain, the Jeep Cherokee comes standard with Jeep Wave. Standard on all 2021 models, this program has got you covered for your first three oil changes and tire rotations during the first 36 months of ownership. It also includes no-charge same-day vehicle rental for routine maintenance, trip interruption coverage up to $1,000 per occurrence, and 24/7 roadside assistance for the duration of the vehicle’s powertrain limited warranty.

Take the 2021 Jeep Cherokee out for a test drive

In the end, choosing between these two vehicles comes down to what you’re looking for. If you’re in the market for a capable off-roader that can tow a good amount, then the 2021 Jeep Cherokee is probably a great fit for you. But if you don’t have the desire to hit the trails and don’t need to tow more than 3,500 pounds, then the GMC Terrain might not be a bad fit after all.


It’s Clear Who Should Buy a Jeep Grand Cherokee Instead of a Jeep Cherokee