You’ve finally got your money together and you’re ready to buy your first car. You’ve decided on a small SUV because you’re looking for something safe, reliable, spacious and affordable. You have narrowed down your choices to two of the best models available, the 2022 Chevy Equinox vs 2022 Jeep Cherokee, and now you’re trying to decide which one will offer you more bang for your buck. This is key, because your budget is tight and you want to make sure you can maximize every penny you’re about to spend on transportation. Factors such as price and fuel economy should be at the top of your list.
The good news here is that both Chevrolet and Jeep have well-deserved reputations for quality and reliability, so you’ll get great value from both purchases. Now all you have to do is take a closer look at each model to decide which one suits you – and your finances – best.
Value for money
As a new driver, you probably had to save hard to afford your first SUV. Congratulations, because in today’s economy it’s hard enough to make a living without also having to scrimp and save for a set of wheels. Price is a key factor for you, which is why the 2022 Chevy Equinox may be a better choice than the 2022 Jeep Cherokee.
If price is your biggest concern, you’ll find that the Equinox is much cheaper than the Cherokee. The base model of the 2022 Equinox is the LS, with an MSRP of $25,800. This is significantly less than the two most affordable models of the 2022 Jeep Cherokee, the Latitude Lux and the new X trim, both of which have a starting MSRP of $33,995. In fact, these two models of the Cherokee have a higher MSRP than the Premium model of the Equinox, which is the top trim of the Chevy. So if you go with the Equinox, you will see that it is much cheaper than the Cherokee.
Even if this is your first SUV, you’re probably like most drivers and want a vehicle that offers excellent handling. Probably the most important factors are the powertrain and powertrain of your SUV. Chevy has decided to equip all models of the 2022 Equinox with the same engine and transmission combination, while giving drivers a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The engine is a 1.5-L Turbo I-4 gas engine, which uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing to increase performance and efficiency. This engine comes paired with a Hydra-Matic 6-speed automatic transmission, making it capable of producing 170 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 203 lb-ft of torque at 2000-4000 rpm.
Jeep has taken a different approach with the 2022 Cherokee, giving drivers the choice of two different powertrains, as well as making all-wheel drive standard on all models — except for the Latitude Lux, which is front-wheel drive standard with available all-wheel drive. The base engine is a 3.2-L Pentastar V6 gas engine with a 9-speed automatic transmission, capable of delivering up to 271 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 239 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm. There’s also an available 2.0-L turbocharged I-4 gas engine that also uses a 9-speed automatic transmission, which drivers can select on the Latitude Lux and Limited models. Despite having two fewer cylinders than the base engine, it can produce up to 270 horsepower at 5250 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at 3000-4500 rpm.
No matter which engine you choose on the Jeep, you’ll get better acceleration and speed than the 1.5-L Turbo engine on the Equinox. For example, the Jeep Cherokee with the V6 engine can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 7.6 seconds – slightly faster than the 8.9 seconds it takes the Equinox to get up to 60 miles per hour.
If you’re on a budget like most people, fuel economy is an increasingly important concern — with gas prices rising to record levels across the country. If so, it may pay off for you to forgo the extra speed and acceleration of the 2022 Jeep Cherokee and go with a 2022 Chevy Equinox instead. When equipped with front-wheel drive, the Equinox will return an exceptional 26 miles per gallon in the city, 31 miles per gallon on the highway, and 28 miles per gallon combined. Opting for the available all-wheel drive drops those numbers by just one mile per gallon across all three measurements.
The only model of the 2022 Jeep Cherokee that comes close to this is a front-wheel-drive Latitude Lux with the available Turbocharged I-4. This gives you a solid 23 miles per gallon in the city, 31 miles per gallon on the highway and 26 miles per gallon combined. But if you buy one with all-wheel drive, your fuel economy numbers will drop to 21 miles per gallon in the city, 49 miles per gallon on the highway, and 24 miles per gallon combined. As you can see, the Cherokee struggles with fuel economy when it comes to everyday commuting.
The base model Cherokee with the V6 won’t give you the fuel economy numbers you need if you’re on a tight budget. Front-wheel drive models will only deliver 20 miles per gallon in city driving, 49 miles per gallon in highway driving and 23 miles per gallon combined. An all-wheel drive Cherokee with the V6 engine is even less fuel efficient, returning just 19 miles per gallon in the city, 27 miles per gallon on the highway and 22 miles per gallon combined.
Plenty of room for your friends, family, pets and cargo is always important – even if this is your first SUV. Most small SUVs are a compromise between having room for your passengers and room for your things. Many car manufacturers choose to give you plenty of passenger space while skimping on cargo capacity.
The 2022 Jeep Cherokee fits this. It has an impressive 128 cu.ft. of interior space for you and your 5 passengers to stretch out, so there won’t be anyone complaining about having to sit in the back seat. However, it leaves something to be desired in terms of cargo space. The trunk has just 25.8 cu.ft. of cargo space, so if you need to carry more stuff, you’ll need to fold down the rear row of seats on your Cherokee to access a total of 54.7 cu.ft. of space.
The 2022 Chevy Equinox is much less of a compromise, as it gives you 29.9 cu.ft. of cargo space in the trunk. If you need more space, you can fold down the rear seats to free up a total of 63.9 cu.ft. space, which is nearly 10 cu.ft. more than the Jeep Cherokee.
Also, while the Equinox only has 103.5 cu.ft. of passenger space, the distribution between the front and rear rows puts it in competition with the Cherokee in most categories. For example, both SUVs offer the same 38.5 inches of rear-seat legroom, while the Cherokee has only slightly more rear-seat legroom: 40.3 inches compared to the Equinox’s 39.9 inches. In fact, the Equinox has more headroom in the front row than the Cherokee: 40” to 39.4”. So if this is an important issue for you, you’ll have to choose between a little more passenger space in the Cherokee or a better balance of passenger and cargo space in the Equinox.
First time’s a charm!
Buying your first car is a really exciting event. It has been and continues to be a great rite of passage here in America. Choosing a small SUV is ideal for first-time drivers because they are safe, easy to handle, affordable, reliable and economical. But not all small SUVs are the same. So, if you keep your preferences in mind, you should have no problem deciding whether the 2022 Chevy Equinox or 2022 Jeep Cherokee is the right model for you.