Upgrading from a compact to a mid-size SUV need not include a third line. Small families and empty nesters who want a little more versatility can enjoy a midsize crossover’s cabin volume without having to stow or store unused seats. There are several good options to choose from, but the 2022 Honda Passport and the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee are two prominent ones.
Based on the larger three-row Honda Pilot, the two-row Passport gets a more rugged look for 2022 and a TrailSport trim with bolder styling cues, standard all-wheel drive and unique 18-inch wheels. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, meanwhile, is redesigned for 2022, building on its off-road capability and cabin refinement, and further adding a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Which SUV should you choose? Edmunds experts compared them to find out.
POWER AND FUEL ECONOMY
Like the Pilot, Honda’s Passport is powered exclusively by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower. Buyers can choose between front- and all-wheel drive configurations with a nine-speed automatic transmission. In Edmunds testing, this combination took the pass from 0 to 60 mph in a brisk 6.8 seconds. All-wheel-drive Passport models earn an EPA-estimated 21 mpg combined (19 city/24 highway), and our 115-mile test route averaged a rosier 22 mpg.
Jeep offers its Grand Cherokee with three powertrains: a standard V6, a potent V8, or a plug-in hybrid with 26 miles of all-electric range. V6-equipped models produce a healthy 293 horsepower, V8 versions pump out 357 horsepower, and the 4x plug-in hybrid delivers an impressive 375 horsepower. Rear-wheel drive is standard on V6 derivatives, and all-wheel drive is available. Other versions come standard with four-wheel drive.
Our evaluation of the all-wheel-drive, V8-powered Grand Cherokee included a 0-60 mph run of under 6.5 seconds. However, this segment-leading performance comes with a fuel economy penalty. The eight-cylinder model gets just 17 combined mpg. On the upside, the Grand Cherokee’s V6 delivers up to 22 mpg combined and the plug-in hybrid has the potential to be the most fuel-efficient of the bunch.
Winner: Grand Cherokee
COMFORT AND CAPACITY
The Passport offers plenty of head and leg room for five adult passengers. The doors open wide to make getting in and out easy, and seating comfort is excellent. The front seats are available with heating and ventilation, while the rear seats can be folded, with heating as an option. Ride quality is excellent over small bumps, and the cabin is well insulated from wind and road noise. The Passport is decently capable off-road, although its maximum ground clearance of 8.1 inches isn’t great. Maximum towing capacity when properly equipped is 5,000 pounds, which is adequate for towing a small to medium trailer.
The Grand Cherokee can’t match the Passport’s interior volume, though adults fit comfortably in both rows. All seats can be equipped with heating and ventilation and the rear row reclines. The ride is compliant with road imperfections, although wind and tire noise is louder than similarly priced SUVs.
Off-road, the Grand Cherokee impresses with available four-wheel drive, low gears, and an optional air suspension that offers up to 11.3 inches of ground clearance. There are few places this SUV can’t go, and with up to 7,200 pounds of available towing capacity, there are few toys the Grand Cherokee can’t bring.
The Honda Passport is more spacious and comfortable, but the Grand Cherokee ties this category with its astonishing capacity.
FEATURES AND VALUE
Honda has dropped the Sport trim for 2022, leaving the most popular EX-L trim as the entry point of the range. For $41,195, the EX-L includes desirable amenities such as leather seats, heated front seats, driver assistance technology and a power moonroof. Combined with exceptional materials and build quality, these features reinforce the passport’s value.
Jeep casts a wide net with the Grand Cherokee’s options and pricing. At $40,120, the entry-level model is competitively priced but lacks many standard features available elsewhere. At the same time, fully loaded trim few equipment competitors can not match, but Grand Cherokee price invades luxury vehicle territory, albeit without justified build quality. The pass doesn’t skimp on creature comforts and doesn’t raise the price, making for a win.
This one is close. The redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee features elite amenities and lives up to Jeep’s reputation for providing capable outdoor adventures. But the Honda Passport’s refined ride quality and higher value proposition make it a better choice overall for most midsize SUV shoppers.
This story was submitted to The Associated Press of automotive website Edmunds.
Miles Branman is a contributor at Edmunds. Follow Miles on Twitter