2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee WL vs 2022 Ford Explorer

People who have been driving for a few years are probably familiar with SUVs like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Ford Explorer. After all, the Jeep brand has practically become synonymous with adventurous SUVs, and the Explorer is now in its sixth generation of production, but things are a little different in 2022. The Jeep Grand Cherokee has entered a new generation and taken on a completely new personality. Meanwhile, Ford continues to perfect the Explorer to meet the ever-changing needs of American drivers.

Deciding which vehicle makes the most sense for you, your life, and your driving style can take a lot of consideration. So what are some of the things you need to consider when comparing 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee WL vs 2022 Ford Explorer? Let’s take a look at what makes these two vehicles stand out from the competition and each other.

First impression is everything

We like to say “looks don’t matter”, but at the end of the day, most of us have a certain aesthetic that we prefer. For example, some drivers don’t like colorful vehicles, while others go out of their way to get custom paint jobs that reflect their personality. Different strokes for different people, as they say. At first glance, the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee WL and the 2022 Ford Explorer are very different vehicles.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is very clearly a Jeep. While it’s not as boxy and symmetrical as the Wrangler or Gladiator, there’s no doubt this is a strong, capable SUV fresh from the tanks that gave us the standard Cherokee. Available in two-row and three-row seating, the Grand Cherokee is definitely one of the larger SUVs on the market, but those who need seating for up to 7 passengers or a massive 84.6 cubic feet of cargo space will appreciate what the Grand Cherokee L has to offer . And for those who don’t need much, the two-row Grand Cherokee isn’t far behind, with room for 5 passengers and up to 70.8 cubic feet of cargo space.

The 2022 Ford Explorer, on the other hand, has a very athletic look, not unlike its performance-oriented Ford siblings. The Explorer is a three-row SUV, though drivers can choose between iterations with a second-row bench seat to accommodate 7 passengers or replace the bench with captain’s chairs, dropping seating capacity to 6. With the second- and third-row seats folded, the Explorer has slightly more cargo space, 87, 8 cubic feet at your disposal.

The obvious advantage the Jeep has in this case is flexibility, as drivers can choose the Grand Cherokee or Grand Cherokee L, giving them two or three rows of space. On the other hand, the Explorer comes in only one configuration, which gives an impressive amount of space for those who want it, but may feel a little too big for those who don’t always need the seats or the cargo space.

Get behind the wheel

Performance is a big deal, especially in a large vehicle. Those who drive SUVs want to know that they can accelerate, brake and navigate city streets without a problem. That’s why it’s important to have a vehicle with enough power under the hood and enough control in the cabin to keep it running smoothly, even when the going gets a little rough.

The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee WL comes from a long line of rugged and capable vehicles. With three available 4×4 systems, optional Quadra-Lift suspension and precision steering, the Grand Cherokee maintains impeccable handling, regardless of size.

The standard engine offered in the Grand Cherokee is a 3.6L Pentastar V6, which should be familiar to longtime Jeep aficionados. With up to 293 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, Grand Cherokees equipped with this engine can tow up to 6,200 lbs. Thanks to technological advances that have improved fuel efficiency, it can also get up to 26 MPG on the highway, which is quite reasonable among SUVs of its size. Those who crave a little more power, whether for hauling loads up to 7,200 lbs or for pure driving pleasure, can opt for the available 5.7L Hemi V8 engine, which takes the excitement level up several notches with 357 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque.

At first glance, the Explorer has some pretty impressive engine options. The base engine option is a 2.3L turbocharged inline-4 good for 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive versions of the Explorer running this engine can get up to 28 MPG fuel on the highways. The sportier engine option, standard on the new ST trim and exclusive King Ranch and Platinum trims, is a 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6, making 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque.

But if towing is something you need to do often and with gusto, the Explorer has some bad news to go along with these impressive powerhouses: it can only tow up to 5,300 lbs. So while it may be very zippy, it has yet to channel it into hauling a trailer full of camping gear, adventure gear, boats, or whatever you need to fully enjoy your destination.

What happens when you leave the sidewalk?

Not all SUV drivers need a fully loaded off-road vehicle. In fact, drivers are becoming more and more enamored with four-wheel drive, even on city streets. When it’s wet or cold, that extra bit of traction control can mean the world to a car full of kids and other valuable cargo.

That’s why Jeep has created a line of Grand Cherokees that offer all the Jeep ruggedness without having to understand how an e-locking rear differential can help you on a climb. But for those who really enjoy leaving the pavement behind, the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is ideal. It’s got its Trail Rated badge, which means it’s got what it takes when it comes to traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation and water lining. It can splash through up to 24 inches of water, with a total of 11.3 inches of ground clearance. Jeep’s Active Drive II and Active Drive Lock technologies are also available on the Trailhawk model, allowing for extra torque, traction and low-range performance.

The Ford Explorer offers the Timberline trim, which comes with standard skid plates, a terrain management system to give the Explorer a boost through unknown terrain, and a limited-slip rear axle. Intelligent 4×4 capability helps smooth the road as needed. It has borrowed some suspension cues from the Ford Interceptor Utility SUV to keep it poised over rough terrain, but it simply lacks the Jeep technology that has made the brand adept at tackling a variety of terrain. Additionally, ground clearance is just 8.66 inches.

A red 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee WL is shown from the rear off-road.

Which one fits?

As with all vehicles, there’s a lot more to the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer. We’ve barely looked at all the comfort and convenience features and all the optional packages that can be added to make your SUV absolutely perfect for your needs. Both brands offer a plethora of creature comforts, including massaging seats, premium sound systems and superb safety technology. Depending on the trim chosen, you can transform your Jeep Grand Cherokee or Ford Explorer into a full-on glamping experience or choose just what you need to enjoy the drive.

But for most, a vehicle is more than automatic climate control or the most advanced infotainment system. For many drivers, the capability and performance factors are most important when it comes to taking home a brand new vehicle. When it comes to the Grand Cherokee WL or Ford Explorer, drivers must decide if bigger is better or if capacity is king.

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