We don't spend all of our time off-road, though, so if you're going to be doing a lot of commuting in your 2017 Jeep Cherokee and rarely plan to head off the beaten track, the 4-cylinder option is for you. It offers a healthy 184 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque, so it handles somewhat like a sporty hatchback, going from zero to sixty in eight seconds.
The V6 engine is still available, which offers a raucous 271 horsepower and 239 lb-ft of torque. It's quick, responsive, and fun. Like the 4-cylinder, it has an auto on/off system that will cut the engine when it's not in use, boosting fuel economy.
The 9-speed automatic on the Cherokee is easy to use and perfect for so many driving tasks. It offers a quick initial takeoff with its low first gears but then settles into overdrive upper gears that improve mileage when you're on the highway. The larger range of gears means the Jeep Cherokee performs better than the Ford Escape in virtually any situation, as the Ford struggles to find the right gear for the task.
Surely all this additional power and prowess has a price at the gas pump? Surprisingly, no. The 2017 Jeep Cherokee gives you more miles to the gallon than the 2017 Ford Escape in nearly all driving situations.
Driving around the city, both the Cherokee and the Escape will get you around 21 miles to the gallon. Head out on the highway, though, and those overdrive upper gears of the 2017 Jeep Cherokee come into play, driving you an extra mile for every gallon you put in the tank.
In real world terms, if gas is $3.50 a gallon and you drive 30,000 miles a year, the Jeep Cherokee will save you $162 a year in gas compared to the Ford Escape.
The Ford Escape also simply won't be able to go as far as the Jeep Cherokee. In the city, the Cherokee will go 18 miles further than the Escape before requiring a refill. Head out onto the highway, and that figure rises to 35 miles, mainly due to the poorer highway gas mileage the Ford Escape has.
If you drive 30,000 miles a year, you'll need to head to the gas pumps two times more in the Escape than you would do in the Cherokee.
Inside, the refinement of the Jeep Cherokee shines through. There's no wasted space or pointless inclusions. There's no tiny 3rd-row bench that would cut into rear passenger space and add little to no utility. The finish is undeniably luxurious and well thought out.
The 2017 Jeep Cherokee is around 182 inches in length. There are 41.1 inches of legroom for front seat passengers, and almost as much in the back for rear passengers. This is higher than what you get in most sedans today.
Traditional Jeep cues like the center stack are blended with more modern touches for a timeless design. The seats are better than the Escape's seats, offering more support and the option of attractive Nappa leather. Power-adjustable driver memory seats that are heated and ventilated are available, and there's a lot of flexibility in how the second-row seats can be adjusted so you can get extra storage space or legroom as and when you need it.
Noise levels are very low on the 2017 Jeep Cherokee. You'll find a noticeably higher amount of engine and road noise entering the cabin of the 2017 Ford Escape.
More thought seems to have been put into the interior of the 2017 Jeep Cherokee than the 2017 Ford Escape. The Cherokee has an abundance of small spaces all around the car for storing all of your small items. The infotainment system is one of the best you'll find in an SUV; responsive and intuitive.
Jeep interiors are refined, clean and functional without superfluous bells and whistles. This works well in the 2017 Jeep Cherokee, paired with its soft-touch materials and high-quality finishing.
Whereas one might think the Ford could trump a Jeep in safety, Jeep has been the manufacturer that has made the biggest strides in passenger safety over the years. Even the lowest level trims include traction control, stability control, front, side, and rear airbags, and antilock brakes. A rearview camera is included as standard or as an option, depending on chosen trim level. Even without this, the Jeep Cherokee has excellent visibility.
Tests on the 2017 Jeep Cherokee performed by government agencies and industry testing bodies found the car to be exceedingly safe. For example, it got a full five out of five stars in federal side impact testing. The IIHS awarded the 2017 Jeep Cherokee the highest possible ratings in tests such as roof strength, side crash protection, and front impact protection.
Uconnect Access on the Jeep Cherokee includes the advanced features of theft assistance, crash notification, on-demand emergency and roadside assistance - all available on the bright 8.4-inch touchscreen.
There are advanced driving aids on offer in higher level trims. Cruise control, a forward collision warning and mitigation system, lane departure warnings, blind-spot monitoring, and cross-traffic alerts elevate the 2017 Jeep Cherokee to another level. The frontal collision mitigation system was awarded the 'Superior' rating by the IIHS.
Consider the fact that the 2017 Jeep Cherokee has all of these advantages over the 2017 Ford Escape but is still cheaper than the Ford, and you can begin to see why it is such a big seller. It has more power, more torque, and offers better gas mileage, all for a lower sticker price.
Put the comparatively priced Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Nissan Rogue up against the 2017 Jeep Cherokee, and you should be able to see that the Jeep is a completely different proposition altogether. While its competitors are simply compact SUVs, the 2017 Jeep Cherokee offers so much more - a daily transporter that is durable, off-road ready, and with an all-wheel drive that the others can't come close to.
The Ford Escape can't match the prowess the 2017 Jeep Cherokee shows off the road, especially when you consider the awesome performance of the off-road Cherokee Trailhawk trim. The class-leading suspension and engines make it an off-road winner, but it's the fact it's able to impress on the road or running around the city that puts the icing on the cake.
The interior of the 2017 Jeep Cherokee seals the deal, with the 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system one of the best you can buy.
If you're in the market for a crossover SUV which can be both an off-road tearaway and a luxury people carrier, choose the Jeep Cherokee in 2017. The Ford Escape in 2017 still falls somewhat far behind it and costs more, so it's quite an easy decision to make when all's said and done.
The 2017 Jeep Cherokee is offered for sale at Briggs Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram of Lawrence, near the towns of Mission, KS; Prairie Village, KS; Leawood, KS; and Kansas City, KS.