2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the Chevrolet Equinox’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Jeep Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Equinox are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Equinox Premier offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Grand Cherokee only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Equinox and the Grand Cherokee have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Chevrolet Equinox is safer than the Jeep Grand Cherokee:

Equinox

Grand Cherokee

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

17%

24%

Neck Compression

10 lbs.

33 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.9 inches

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

97 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Chevrolet Equinox is safer than the Grand Cherokee:

Equinox

Grand Cherokee

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

86

172

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

5 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.7/.1 kN

4.9/2.3 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

3%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.47/.51

1.06/.54

Tibia forces R/L

1.2/.2 kN

2.3/1.3 kN

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Equinox is safer than the Jeep Grand Cherokee:

Equinox

Grand Cherokee

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.2 inches

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

18 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Equinox the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 157 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Grand Cherokee was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Equinox’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Grand Cherokee’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 25 percent more Chevrolet dealers than there are Jeep dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Equinox’s warranty.

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the Equinox have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the 5.7 V8 in the Grand Cherokee.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Equinox’s reliability 11 points higher than the Grand Cherokee.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Grand Cherokee was rated third in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 52 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 24th.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. is faster than the Jeep Grand Cherokee V6:

Equinox

Grand Cherokee

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.1 MPH

88.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Equinox gets better fuel mileage than the Grand Cherokee:

MPG

Equinox

FWD

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/31 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

Grand Cherokee

RWD

3.0 turbo V6 Diesel

22 city/30 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.0 turbo V6 Diesel

21 city/28 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/25 hwy

5.7 OHV V8

14 city/22 hwy

Regardless of its engine, the Equinox’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Jeep only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Grand Cherokee V6.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl., for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Grand Cherokee.

Brakes and Stopping

The Equinox stops much shorter than the Grand Cherokee:

Equinox

Grand Cherokee

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

188 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

157 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Equinox’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 65 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Grand Cherokee Laredo’s standard 70 series tires.

The Equinox has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Equinox Premier AWD handles at .86 G’s, while the Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 pulls only .72 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Equinox Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 (27.7 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.8 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

The Chevrolet Equinox may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1250 to 1750 pounds less than the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The Equinox is 6.7 inches shorter than the Grand Cherokee, making the Equinox easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Equinox uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Equinox has .1 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front legroom and 1.3 inches more rear legroom than the Grand Cherokee.

The front step up height for the Equinox is 3.3 inches lower than the Grand Cherokee (17.2” vs. 20.5”). The Equinox’s rear step up height is 3.3 inches lower than the Grand Cherokee’s (17.5” vs. 20.8”).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Equinox easier. The Equinox’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.6 inches, while the Grand Cherokee’s liftover is 32.4 inches.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Equinox LT/Premier’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Equinox Premier’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

The Equinox’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Grand Cherokee’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

On a hot day the Equinox’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Grand Cherokee can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Equinox LS/LT/Premier’s available exterior keypad. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system, and its extra cost Uconnect Access can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Equinox owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Equinox will cost $275 less than the Grand Cherokee over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Equinox is less expensive to operate than the Grand Cherokee because typical repairs cost less on the Equinox than the Grand Cherokee, including $32 less for a starter, $83 less for front struts and $123 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Equinox will be $5437 to $14274 less than for the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Grand Cherokee isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Chevrolet Equinox outsold the Jeep Grand Cherokee by 48% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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