Ford Explorer vs Jeep Grand Cherokee Head-to-Head Comparison

When shopping for an SUV, it is natural for most people to compare two models from different manufacturers. I said most people because there are some people who drive vehicles only made by one manufacturer.

Comparing the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee gives you the opportunity to see SUV comparisons between two of the greatest vehicle manufacturers.

The Explorer and the Grand Cherokee are considered to be mid-size sports utility vehicles. The mid-size is popular because it is large enough to transport families of four or more, but it is small enough to be easy to handle in all situations.

A closer look at the two vehicles will help to distinguish what amenities and capabilities they have that make them similar or different.

2021 Ford Explorer and 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Key Differences

The 2021 Ford Explorer

Beautiful White 2021 Ford Explorer
  • Starting manufacturer suggested retail price for the basic trim level is $32,925 and the highest trim level (the Platinum) starts at $52,730
  • Seating for 7
  • Expected fuel usage is 27 miles per gallon in the city and 29 miles per gallon on the highway.
  • There are 7 trim levels available. The Explorer, the XLT, the Limited, the Timberline, the King Ranch edition, and the Platinum. 
  • 5,600-pound towing capacity
  • Automatic high-beam headlamps
  • Rear-view camera with a washer to keep the camera free from dust or snow
  • Lane-keeping system to alert you if you begin to drift out of your lane in either direction
  • Intelligent/adaptive cruise control that slows your vehicle if it senses the traffic ahead of you has slowed, and then returns to the set speed when it is safe to do so.
  • Automatic emergency braking will apply the brakes and slow or stop your vehicle if an impact is imminent and you do not slow the vehicle yourself
  • Blind spot information system BLIS® alerts you to vehicles in your blind spot. It also detects movement behind you when you are backing up.
  • Offers wireless charging
  • Intelligent 4WD helps you to have the right amount of power to the right wheel for optimum traction, stability, and vehicle control
  • Trailer sway control makes sure that the trailer you are pulling stays in the lane where it should

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

White 2021 Jeep Cherokee Near Stacked Brown Pallet Boards
  • Starting manufacturer suggested retail price for the basic trim level is $34,970 for the basic trim level and the highest trim level (the TracHawk) starts at $88,690.
  • Seating for 5
  • Expected fuel usage is 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway.
  • There are 12 trim levels available. The Laredo E, the Freedom, the Laredo X, the Limited, and the 80th-anniversary edition, the Limited X, the Trailhawk, the Overland, the High Altitude, the Summit, the SRT, and the TracHawk.
  • 7,200-pound towing capacity
  • Park assist
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear backup camera
  • Rear cross path detection
  • Seven airbags
  • Advanced strength steel chassis
  • Vehicle finder activates the horn from your smartphone to help you find the vehicle in a crowded parking lot
  • Remote start allows you to start the vehicle and allow it to be warming up or cooling down before you climb into it
  • Vehicle health report on app
  • Look up destinations on your phone and have the information sent to the touch screen on the Uconnect system
  • SOS call in case of emergency
  • Wi-fi hotspot allows you to connect up to 8 devices like smartphones and tablets
  • Alexa is on-board and able to help you check fuel levels, start the vehicle, find your destination, and more
  • Have text messages read to you so you do not take your eyes off the road
  • Easily calls friends through the large touch screen

Ford Explorer vs Jeep Grand Cherokee Price, Towing, Safety, Comfort Comparison

The 2021 Ford Explorer is more suitable for large families of five or more. It is also better suited to families of five who may also sometimes travel with additional people.


The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee basic trim level is a couple of thousand dollars higher than the 2021 Ford Explorer price. Keep in mind that the Grand Cherokee is smaller and provides less seating.

The higher trim levels increase the price of these vehicles dramatically. The best price for the highest trim level is found on the top-of-the-line Ford Explorer, which is roughly $36,000 cheaper than the highest trim level of the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Fuel Economy

The Ford Explorer has the Jeep Grand Cherokee beat. Although the Explorer is larger, it gets more miles per gallon than the smaller Grand Cherokee. If fuel efficiency is important to you, and with the rising cost of gasoline, fuel efficiency is important to everyone, then you should consider Ford.


If you want a vehicle that can tow the heaviest loads, you want to get the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The Grand Cherokee can tow about 1,600 more pounds. That means you can pull a hefty camper, an animal trainer, an equipment trailer, or anything you like without slowing down or harming your vehicle.

All-Terrain Driving

Without a doubt, the Ford Explorer wins the all-terrain category.

Ford has designed a terrain management system TM into the 2021 Explorer. This system has a dial located in the center console that you turn to choose the driving mode you will need according to where you are driving.

The mode choices available include normal, trail, deep snow or sand, slippery surface, sport driving, towing or hauling, and Eco. By choosing the right terrain, the Explorer becomes most proficient at driving in those conditions.

Intelligent four-wheel drive and trailer sway control make adventure travels in the Ford Explorer more enjoyable than in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The engine power is adjusted to maintain the best control over the trailer you are pulling. The vehicle will also apply the brakes when needed to maintain the trailer safely behind it and limit roll-over possibilities.

Safety and Technology

The two SUVs are pretty much neck and neck in the safety department.

All of the latest safety features that people have come to want, like park assist, and blind spot alerts, are either standard on the basic model or can be added by upgrading to a different trim level.

The technology is not identical, and Ford offers a few things that Jeep does not. Jeep has some technology advancements, like the addition of Alexa, that Ford does not have.

You simply have to view everything offered by all of the different trim levels and decide what things would be most important to you.


If you want luxury and comfort levels far above the normal SUV style, then you want to look at the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The comfort these vehicles have to offer is far above the comfort that can be found in any of the Explorer trim levels.

From the panoramic sunroof to the Alpine stereo system and nine speakers, you will find that all of the little extra touches put into the Grand Cherokee make it a little more luxurious, a little more comfortable, and a little more desirable to some people.

If the sound system in the vehicle really matters to you then the Ford Explorer may offer one that out-shines the Alpine with the nine speakers. The Ford Explorer has a Bang & Olufsen, 980-watt sound system with fourteen speakers.

Read More: Difference Between Jeep Wrangler Sport and Rubicon

Ford Explorer or Grand Cherokee – Which one You should Choose

Choosing the right vehicle can seem so confusing.

There are so many wonderful features, new technology, and advanced luxuries that your head can quickly swim from the variety of details you are reading.

Most people think very hard about their next vehicle purchase because a vehicle is the family’s second largest investment after purchasing their home.

To make your choice easier, consider the following things.

  • The size of your family
  • What kind of driving do you do most, off-road or city street?
  • How much cargo room do you need when you travel?
  • Are luxury seats high on your priority list? (If you take long trips, consider luxury seating a must.)
  • Do you need park assistance and all of the latest technology?

Once you have answered these questions, go to dealership websites and see how many of your vehicle’s priorities can provide. This will allow you to make a grand comparison before you are at the dealership and being pressured by the salesperson.

Consider making an appointment to test drive one of the vehicles you like. Sometimes when you climb into the driver’s seat, you automatically know if you like or dislike the vehicle, how it controls, and how it feels.

Call your insurance agent and ask them about the differences in insurance prices for the different vehicles. Some vehicles are a lot more expensive to insure, and that extra cost may determine whether you can afford the vehicle.

Watch this latest video on Jeep Grand Cherokee vs Ford Explorer (2022 Model)

Final Thoughts

The Ford Explorer and the Jeep Grand Cherokee 2021 models are both excellent mid-size SUVs. The only way to really choose which of these vehicles is better for you is to make a pros and cons list based on your family’s needs.

About Brendan Burnett

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