- The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Cherokee might share a name, but they're vastly different.
- Here we lay out the difference between the two to help you figure out which one's right for you.
Jeep Cherokee vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee: What's the Difference?
Two Jeeps, one name, big differences
Though they share a name, the Jeep Cherokee and the Jeep Grand Cherokee are vastly different automobiles. They're different sizes, for different buyers, at different prices, and one is far, far newer than the other. But since they share a name, they might be a little too easy to get mixed up, and that's where we come in. Here are the main differences between two SUVs that share a very well-known nameplate.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep Cherokee vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee: Size
The most apparent difference between these two is their sizes. The Cherokee is the smaller of the two, much smaller in fact. It measures 183 inches long, 73 inches wide and 66 inches tall. The Grand Cherokee, as the name suggests, is the bigger vehicle. It's almost a foot longer at 193.5 inches long, 78 inches wide and 71 inches tall. The Grand Cherokee also offers far more room than the smaller Cherokee for cargo. The smaller crossover offers 25.8 cubic feet to the GC's 37.7 cubes of open air to work with. That's almost three suitcases more that will fit in the back of the Grand Cherokee.
The size difference between the two is also apparent in their wheelbases. The wheelbase is the length between the front and rear axles. The Cherokee's is 106.6 inches, while the Grand Cherokee's is a whole 10 inches longer. That leaves room for a third row of seating, something the regular Cherokee doesn't offer at all. It also means more room for second-row passengers in the GC.
If you need even more room, then you might consider going for the Grand Cherokee L. For this latest generation of GC, Jeep split the lineup into two distinct lengths. The L quite literally means it's the longer car. While more dimensions remain the same, the L is 205 inches long overall. It also features a longer wheelbase of 121.7 inches, leaving even more room for third-row passengers and even more cargo space (46.9 cubic feet with the third row folded down).
Jeep Cherokee vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee: Engine options
Both of these Jeeps come with different engine choices. The least potent is the Cherokee's base powertrain, a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that makes 180 horsepower that's mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The uprated option is a turbocharged 2.0-liter that makes 270 horsepower mated to the same transmission. Both engines send their power to every wheel via a four-wheel-drive system.
The Grand Cherokee has more engine options than the smaller Cherokee and with bigger outputs. The base powertrain that you'll get in the Grand Cherokee is a 3.6-liter V6 engine that puts out 293 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. It's paired up with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all trims save for the base Laredo model can be had with four-wheel drive. Some higher trims are available exclusively with 4WD. Most buyers should find that to be adequate, but some may want a hybrid option.
In that case, the Grand Cherokee has an option there as well. It's called the 4xe, and it uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder plug-in hybrid powertrain and kicks out a total of 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. Basically, the engine and an electric motor work in tandem to power the Jeep, but it also has the option to run the electric motor only for around 25 miles. Plug-in hybrids aren't topping sales charts, but they do offer a nice happy medium between a full EV and a regular ICE powertrain.
The longer Grand Cherokee L also offers a V8 for those who may need the extra grunt for towing (or those who simply prefer the rumble of a V8). It makes 357 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, and it's mated to that same eight-speed automatic transmission. If you want a V8 you also have to go with Jeep's four-wheel-drive system. While there are multiple 4x4 systems Jeep offers (and getting into the details of all of them can be confusing), we'll add high-level information about the systems below.
- Quadra-Trac I:
- 4WD system with single-speed transfer case (no low-range gearing)
- Quadra-Trac II:
- Adds a two-speed transfer case (provides low-range gearing for enhanced traction in low-speed off-roading situations)
- Quadra-Drive II:
- Like Quadra-Trac II, but with fully automatic high-range 4WD
Max towing when properly equipped:
- Jeep Cherokee — 2,000 pounds
- Jeep Grand Cherokee — 6,200 pounds
- Jeep Grand Cherokee L — 7,200 pounds
Jeep Cherokee vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee: Price
Another key difference between the two is price. And that's not just because the Grand Cherokee is far newer than its smaller counterpart, but because it also carries with it a far more premium feel. The interior of the GC is a much nicer place to be, features the latest tech from Jeep, and is built on a much newer platform.
The starting price of the 2023 Cherokee is $39,290 for the base Altitude Lux model, and the pricier Trailhawk trim costs from $42,890 (2024 pricing isn't yet out). The least expensive 2024 Grand Cherokee starts at $38,290, which seems like a bargain compared to the smaller Cherokee. While it's true you get a bigger engine and more room as standard, the Laredo A trim exists as a budget-friendly option and features very few of the Grand Cherokee's tech and advanced safety features. It also has no available option packs and only comes in white. In other words, it isn't the one most customers will be buying.
The Grand Cherokee we see most shoppers going for is the Overland model, which offers far more in the way of features, tech and interior niceties. The Overlander trim starts at $63,790, and while that is a far cry from the Laredo A's starting price, but it's far more representative of a fuller Grand Cherokee experience.
Grand Cherokee L models have an even higher starting price thanks to their extra size, but you can expect them to only cost a few thousand dollars more than the standard Grand Cherokee.
Despite sharing a name, these two cars are vastly different from each other. For an even more in-depth look, you can check out our full reviews of both the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee at Edmunds.com.