We can certainly see the appeal of a Jeep Cherokee, but unless you're a dedicated off-roader you might be paying a whole lot more for features that get very little use. It's not that the starting price is that different, the Jeep Cherokee being only $500 more. But at that price point, the Cherokee is no better than the Escape. In this comparison guide, we'll help you match price points so you can see which compact sport utility vehicle has better value, the Escape or the Cherokee.
Base Engine: Tie
When you pair the Escape's best engine option to the best engine of the Cherokee, the Jeep does have a slight advantage in horsepower and torque. But looking at the base engines, there's virtually no difference. The Ford Escape offers a 160-horsepower 2.5-liter inline-4 delivering 170 pound-feet of torque. Meanwhile, the Jeep Cherokee's base engine is a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter inline-4 good for 171 pound-feet of torque. If those numbers look awfully similar, you're not wrong. If you're going for affordability, there's almost no difference in power between the Jeep and the Ford. The Escape, when properly equipped, can tow up to 2,000 pounds, which is the exact same number of pounds the Jeep Cherokee can tow.
Looking at the very best these SUVs can offer, the Ford Escape sports a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 generating 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. This engine is exclusive to the top-tier Titanium trim level. Then there's the Jeep Cherokee 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 making 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Even here the numbers aren't a world of difference. And even while we must admit that the Jeep Cherokee has better engines overall, you should know that comes at a price. More on that in the next category.
Price: 2019 Ford Escape
We've already mentioned that the standard Ford Escape is more affordable, but only to the tune of $500. That slim advantage widens considerably the higher you go in trim levels. The top trim of the Ford SUV is the Escape Titanium. Starting at just $32,620, this fun-size colossus boasts a ton almost every safety feature on record, plus active park assist, hands-free power liftgate, 10-speaker Sony premium audio system, HD Radio, auto-dimming rearview mirror, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, and navigation system.
If you're an off-roading aficionado, the Cherokee Trailhawk is your cup of tea. But it's too steep an investment if that's not your hobby. You can get the regular Trailhawk starting at $33,320 or the Trailhawk Elite for $36,315. There's also the Cherokee Overland starting at $36,275. As you can see, all three of these trim levels cost more than the top-tier Escape Titanium. And, unless you're looking for off-roading features like off-road suspension or enhanced four-wheel drive, the Escape has just about everything its Cherokee competitor offers.
We haven't even gotten to the fact that the Ford Escape has more leg room and cargo room. Jeep is a fine brand for off-roading, but the Ford Escape is just as good if not better in every other respect.