You’ve finally gotten together your funds and you are ready to buy your first car. You’ve decided on a small SUV, since you are looking for something safe, dependable, roomy, and affordable. You’ve narrowed your choices to two of the best models available, the 2022 Chevy Equinox vs 2022 Jeep Cherokee, and now you are trying to decide which one will offer you more for your money. This is key, since your budget is tight, and you want to make sure you can maximize every dollar you are about to spend on transportation. Factors like price and fuel economy should be at or near the top of your list.
The good news here is that both Chevrolet and Jeep have a well-deserved reputation for quality and reliability, so you’ll get great value out of either purchase. Now you just need to take a closer look at each model to determine which suits you—and your finances—best.
As a new driver, you probably had to save hard to afford your first SUV. Congratulations, because in today’s economy, it is hard enough to make a living without also having to scrimp and save for a set of wheels. Price is a key factor for you, which is why the 2022 Chevy Equinox might be a better choice than the 2022 Jeep Cherokee.
If price is your biggest concern, you will find that the Equinox is much more affordable than the Cherokee. The base model of the 2022 Equinox is the LS, with an MSRP of $25,800. This is significantly less than the two most affordable models of the 2022 Jeep Cherokee, the Latitude Lux and the new X trim, both of which have a starting MSRP of $33,995. In fact, these two models of the Cherokee have a higher MSRP than the Premium model of the Equinox, which is the top trim on the Chevy. So, if you go with the Equinox, you will see that it is much more affordable than the Cherokee.
Even if this is your first SUV, you are probably like most drivers and want a vehicle that offers excellent driving performance. Probably the most important factors are the powertrain and drivetrain on your SUV. Chevy has decided to equip every model of the 2022 Equinox with the same combination of engine and transmission, while giving drivers the choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The engine is a 1.5-L Turbo I-4 gas engine, which utilizes direct fuel injection and variable valve timing to boost performance and efficiency. This engine comes paired with a Hydra-Matic 6-speed automatic transmission, making it capable of producing 170 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 203 lb-ft of torque at 2000-4000 rpm.
Jeep has taken a different approach with the 2022 Cherokee, giving drivers a choice of two different powertrains, as well as making all models four-wheel drive standard—except for the Latitude Lux, which is front-wheel drive standard with available four-wheel drive. The base engine is a 3.2-L Pentastar V6 gas engine with a 9-speed automatic transmission, which can deliver up to 271 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 239 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm. There is also an available 2.0-L Turbocharged I-4 gas engine that also utilizes a 9-speed automatic transmission, which drivers can choose on the Latitude Lux and Limited models. Despite having two fewer cylinders than the base engine, it can provide up to 270 horsepower at 5250 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at 3000-4500 rpm.
No matter which engine you choose on the Jeep, you are going to get better acceleration and speed than with the 1.5-L Turbo engine on the Equinox. For example, the Jeep Cherokee with the V6 engine can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 7.6 seconds—slightly quicker than the 8.9 seconds it takes for the Equinox to get up to 60 miles per hour.
If you are on a budget like most folks, then fuel economy is an increasingly important concern—what with gas prices spiking to all-time highs across the country. If this is the case, then it may pay for you to forgo the extra speed and acceleration in the 2022 Jeep Cherokee and instead go with a 2022 Chevy Equinox. When equipped with front-wheel drive, the Equinox will provide an exceptional 26 miles per gallon in the city, 31 miles per gallon on the highway, and 28 miles per gallon combined. Choosing the available all-wheel drive reduces these numbers by just one mile per gallon across all three measurements.
The only model of the 2022 Jeep Cherokee that comes close to this is a front-wheel drive Latitude Lux with the available Turbocharged I-4. This will give you a solid 23 miles per gallon in the city, 31 miles per gallon on the highway, and 26 miles per gallon combined. However, if you buy one with four-wheel drive, your fuel economy numbers will drop to 21 miles per gallon in the city, 29 miles per gallon on the highway, and 24 miles per gallon combined. As you can see, the Cherokee has fuel economy issues with respect to everyday commuting.
The base model Cherokee with the V6 will not provide you with the fuel economy numbers you need if you are on a tight budget. Front-wheel drive models will only deliver 20 miles per gallon in city driving, 29 miles per gallon in highway driving, and 23 miles per gallon combined. A four-wheel drive Cherokee with the V6 engine is even less fuel-efficient, providing only 19 miles per gallon in the city, 27 miles per gallon on the highway, and 22 miles per gallon combined.
Ample room for your friends, family, pets, and cargo is always important—even if this is your first SUV. Most small SUVs are a compromise between having room for your passengers and space for your stuff. Many automakers opt into giving you plenty of passenger space, while skimping a little on cargo capacity.
The 2022 Jeep Cherokee fits this bill. It has an impressive 128 cu.ft. of interior space for you and your 5 passengers to stretch out, so there will not be anyone complaining about having to sit in the backseat. However, it does leave a bit to be desired with respect to cargo space. The trunk only has 25.8 cu.ft. of cargo space, so if you need to carry more stuff, you will need to fold down the rear row of seats on your Cherokee in order to access a total of 54.7 cu.ft. of space.
The 2022 Chevy Equinox is much less of a compromise, as it gives you 29.9 cu.ft. of cargo space in the trunk. If you need more room, you can fold down the rear seats to free up a total of 63.9 cu.ft. of space, which is almost 10 cu.ft. more than the Jeep Cherokee.
In addition, while the Equinox only has 103.5 cu.ft. of passenger room, the apportionment between the front and back rows makes it rival the Cherokee in most categories. For example, both SUVs provide the same 38.5” of headroom in the back seat, while the Cherokee has only slightly more rear-seat legroom: 40.3” compared to 39.9” on the Equinox. In fact, the Equinox has more front-row headroom than the Cherokee: 40” to 39.4”. So, if this is an important issue to you, you will have to decide between slightly more passenger space in the Cherokee or a better balance of passenger and cargo space in the Equinox.
First Time’s a Charm!
Buying your first car is a truly exciting event. It has been and continues to be a major rite of passage here in America. Choosing a small SUV is ideal for first-time drivers as they are safe, easy to handle, affordable, reliable, and economical. However, not all small SUVs are the same. So, if you keep your preferences in mind, you should have no problem determining whether the 2022 Chevy Equinox or the 2022 Jeep Cherokee is the right model for you.