The 2018 Jeep Cherokee vs. 2018 Ford Escape

 

Introduction

There is no vehicle on the road quite like a Jeep, and there's no vehicle off the road like it, either. Jeeps are in class all their own, offering unparalleled performance in even the roughest terrain and a distinctive style that has earned legions of fans. With the release of the new 2018 Cherokee and the 2018 Grand Cherokee, Jeep stands ready to accumulate even more admirers: the seats and cabin trims are better than ever, the safety options are more intuitive, and the off-road capabilities are superior to just about any other SUV.

Not that there isn't competition. The 2018 Ford Escape is clearly trying to muscle in on Jeep territory, beefing up its overall size and specs from previous years. Yet even this year's models still fall short of the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee's superior power, cargo space, and gas mileage. Come see for yourself why the new Jeep Cherokee line stands head and shoulders above the competition. Your local Kansas City Jeep dealer has them in stock!

Trim Levels

The new Jeep Cherokee for 2018 has five different trim levels, starting with the Cherokee Limited, which has a starting MSRP of $24,395. The new Jeep Grand Cherokee has a multitude of trim levels in both 4x2 and 4x4 and an MSRP that starts at $30,595. The 2018 Ford Escape starts at $23,850 but comes in only four trims.

Jeep Cherokee Latitude

This is the Cherokee's new base trim, but there's nothing basic about it. Six-way manual adjustments for the front seat and a 60/40 split folding rear seat ensures a comfortable ride, and the cloth upholstery is both stylish and durable. The Uconnect 3 infotainment system with 5-inch touchscreen is standard, as are a USB port, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system. Keyless entry, a rearview back-up camera, and parking sensors round out the package.

Jeep Cherokee Limited

This trim is both classy and comfortable, with a heated steering wheel, heated Nappa leather front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control. In addition to the Latitude's features, the Limited offers a power liftgate and improved safety systems, such as rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring.

Jeep Cherokee Overland

On the upper end of the Cherokee's many trim options, the Overland stands out for its tasteful wood trim and heated, ventilated front seats. It also features a fully-integrated navigation system and a premium nine-speaker sound system from Alpine.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

This base trim for the Grand Cherokee line further proves that Jeep has a far more impressive definition of "standard features" than most automakers. A push-button start, voice command, and a proximity key make life easier, and the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are as comfortable as they are classy. The Uconnect 4 infotainment system uses a 7-inch touchscreen interface and is ready to go with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a USB port, and Bluetooth. All this sounds clear as a bell through the Laredo's six-speaker sound system. Dual-zone automatic climate control keeps your cabin at just the right temperature, and rear parking sensors and a rearview back-up camera help keep you safe.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

This model is tailor-made for the off-road enthusiast. With its Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive system, Quadra-Lift air suspension, limited-slip differential, five different settings for traction-control, and a tow hitch with rear-leveling suspension, this is an SUV that's literally made to be taken off-road. Yet no matter where you take it, you will stay comfortable with its heated, ventilated seats, which will look good along the way with a mix of suede and leather upholstery. It also packs a nine-speaker sound system from Alpine and an 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

This SRT is all about power and performance, with a 455-horsepower 6.4L HEMI SRT V8 engine and a Quadra-Trac active on-demand 4x4 system with adaptive damping. The luxury interior is the very top of the line, and the class-exclusive Selec-Track System allows you to personalize your Jeep's performance depending on the weather. This includes a special towing mode that allows you to haul bigger loads than ever before.

Performance

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee line is available with a host of different engines, ranging from the standard 2.4L I4 MultiAir engine up to a HEMI V6. Their performance is further enhanced by their industry-changing 4x4 systems: the Jeep Active Drive I, Jeep Active Drive II, and Jeep Active Drive Lock. Topping it all off is the Selec-Terrain Traction Management System, which helps you overcome the worst environmental conditions.

The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee line offers four different engine options. The 3.6L Pentastar V6 is the proven and true standard option and now features Stop/Start technology. At the next level is the 5.7L HEMI V8, for those who prioritize fuel efficiency, and then there is the beastly 6.4L HEMI SRT V8 engine. For those who refuse to settle for anything less than the most powerful in the industry, the ultra-premium Trackhawk trim features the 707-horsepower Supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8 engine that can produce 645 pound-feet of torque.

Obviously, the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee are heavy hitters under the hood, so how does the 2018 Ford Escape stack up? Offering 1.5- and 2.0-liter turbocharged engines, the Ford Escape isn't exactly a powerhouse. Even more disappointing, the fuel economy is even weaker than you would expect from such equipment.

Exterior

In addition to impressive performance, Jeeps also have a signature look that just can't be beat. The new Jeep Cherokee has been designed to be the most aerodynamic model ever, but the iconic grille design remains unchanged. The LED-lit daytime running lamps announce the presence of a timeless vehicle, and between the swooping tailgate and the rear spoiler the Cherokee looks as good going as it does coming.

The new Grand Cherokee likewise commands attention and respect. Even the standard trims are big and beautiful, and the optional upgrades enhance its looks as well as its performance. The power sliding CommandView panoramic sunroof is a popular addition, as are 20-inch polished aluminum wheels and automatic high-beam headlamps. The now-classic incorporation of LED lighting into the tail lamps rounds out an already impressive package.

Jeeps have such a unique look it is perhaps not surprising that imitators should fail to measure up in this department. The 2018 Ford Escape may have improved on earlier generations in some departments, but its exterior is still just a bit boring.

Interior

While Jeep has always had a reputation for hardy exteriors and powerful performance, the 2018 releases have confirmed Jeep's commitment to providing the most comfortable interiors, too. Depending on the trim, you can go from tough and easy-to-clean cloth upholstery all the way up to luxurious Nappa leather with wood accents. The highly adjustable seating system allows a wide range of on-the-fly customization, depending on who or what you're taking along for the ride. The roomy interior provides great acoustics for both the Uconnect infotainment interface and the various premium audio systems. The Grand Cherokee boasts even more elegant options to transform the cabin of your Jeep into a sanctuary of soft textures and high-quality accents.

As for the competition, the 2018 Ford Escape runs into a familiar problem: if you want anything more than the bare bones, you will have to splurge on a higher trim level. The Escape advertises a low price to draw folks in, but getting it up to snuff always requires a lot of pricey add-ons. And even if you do drop a lot of money sprucing up the interior, critics have still found the rear seat to be a little too low.

Safety Features

Jeep prides itself on its safety record. A rearview back-up camera comes standard, as do numerous other safety features. The new 2018 Jeep Cherokee actually managed to earn five stars for every NHTSA side crash test and a four-star safety rating overall.

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee is likewise fully loaded with safety features. There are over 70 of them in total, many of them standard. With everything from collision avoidance warnings and automatic braking to blind spot monitoring and parking assistance, the safety features are a crucial component of the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Safety is another arena where the Ford Escape does okay. So, is okay good enough where safety is concerned? With the better safety features such as forward-collision warnings requiring an expensive upgrade and other features such as automatic emergency braking not available at all, this is another arena where Jeep is the clear winner.


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