For a brand that prides itself on its SUV virtuosity, there’s a bit of a logjam at the core of Jeep’s lineup.
That’s particularly true of the Cherokee and Compass, two not-so-different takes on small sport utilities. Both tout two rows of seats and good on-road comfort, competing directly with the likes of everything from the Chevrolet Equinox to the Subaru Forester – as well as with each other. Not much separates the pair dimensionally, especially on the inside, and they even look strikingly similar these days. But looks can be deceiving, and lining the pair up side by side reveals some surprising differences.
If you’ve got a Jeep on your shopping list that isn’t a Wrangler, it’s hard to go wrong with either the Cherokee or the Compass. Desirable models like the ones tested here aren’t cheap, but both are good at what they do and which one’s right for you depends on what you plan to do with them.
Those with plans to tow are left with little choice but the Cherokee. It’s also the better of the two in terms of refinement, delivering near-luxury levels of cabin comfort and an impressively refined ride. Folks looking to save a few bucks will find most of what they’re looking for in the Compass, with its stylish cabin to go along with a surprising amount of space for people and stuff.