A side by side comparison of two competent crossovers

There was a time when the two SUVs mentioned here were not in the same category. To put them in the same class would be questionable, at the least. But when the Cherokee was resurrected in 2014, it did not return as a utilitarian SUV but joined the ranks of the crossovers. It did bring its rugged characteristics over as well, but would that be enough for the Jeep with the legendary name from the capable Honda? We’ll find out.

The Honda CR-V

At first glance, there’s something about the Honda CR-V that just makes it look more upmarket. Take a moment and you realize that it’s thanks to 17-inch alloy wheels that come as standard as compared to the steel wheels installed on the base variant of the Jeep Cherokee.

The CR-V is powered by a 1.5-liter, turbocharged V6 that churns out 90 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque. This engine is completely outgunned by the Cherokee’s V6. But the CR-Vs engine is no slouch. This small displacement four-cylinder performs well and at 34 miles per gallon, is far more efficient than the Cherokee’s engine.

On the inside, the CR-V has a bigger cabin, slightly more leg room, and a lot more luggage space in the boot. Fold the rear seats down and you could carry most of the items you own with it. The cabin is also quite practical with a number of small storage areas and creature comforts.

When you consider safety, the Honda CR-V outshines the Cherokee. It wins safety standards that the Cherokee doesn’t even qualify for.

The Jeep Cherokee

Where the Jeep Cherokee outshines its competition is with its engine. The 3.2-liter V6 that generates 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque blasts every other crossover away. While it is a very thirsty monster, the engine is also very smooth, delivers its power well and accelerates in a respectable manner.

The engine also allows the Cherokee to tow up to 4,500 pounds, something the CR-V’s 1500 pound towing limit just can’t match. This makes the Jeep an option to consider for people who may want to tow a small boat or a trailer behind their crossover.

And then, there’s the one thing all Jeeps are known for. Their ability to crush off-road trails. The Cherokee lineup includes the Trailhawk model with its Active Drive II 4WD system, low range gears, ‘Rock’ mode, high ground clearance, locking differentials, tow hooks and bash plates that add a layer of ruggedness to an already formidable package. We don’t have to tell you that these features are unique in the crossover segment. They won’t appeal to most buyers, but the Jeep will definitely corner the off-road enthusiast niche of the crossover market.

The Winner

It’s a simple choice really. While the Jeep Cherokee does make some very strong arguments for its case, the overall winner is the Honda CR-V. It fits the requirements of the crossover segment perfectly and will do all that is expected from it for the families that buy it. It’s practical, spacious, easy to drive, responsive, smooth and fuel-efficient. That’s the crossover we choose.