If you’re on the hunt for a new SUV, you shouldn’t buy just anything. Sure, there are plenty of models out there to choose from, and many of them are great, but a new car is a big purchase, and the last thing you want to do is jump the gun. When it comes to great SUVs, there are a number of standouts, and among those standouts are the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Honda Passport. These are two midsize SUVs that attempt to provide a truly well-rounded SUV driving experience. SUVs, or sports utility vehicles, are, as the name mentions, intended to be sporty and utility-focused. While there are plenty of models on the road today that don’t necessarily fit within these traditional narrow margins, these two do. But which is better? Today we are going to find out with a comparison: 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee vs 2020 Honda Passport.
The Price and the Trims
Pricing is a huge deal for any car buyer, but so is the number of available trims. The classic buyer wants to get the most bang for their buck while at the same time, drive a car that comes packed with the latest in automotive features. Well, when you visit a Honda dealership to price-out a Honda Passport, you’ll find an entry-level of $31,990 MSRP. The price only goes up from here, however, as the Honda Passport offers a plethora of trims including the Sport, EX-L, Touring, and Elite.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee, on the other hand, has a slightly higher starting price tag of $34,000. That said, in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, you’re buying into a much more diverse trim spread. The myriad of trims available for the Grand Cherokee includes the Laredo, Altitude, Upland, Limited, Limited X, Trailhawk, Overland, High Altitude, Summit, SRT, and Trackhawk. This is quite the laundry list of trim options, a list that is hard to find in comparable models.
So, which is the better option? The model with a lower price, but fewer trims, or the SUV with the higher price tag and far more available trim levels? Well, in order to get the answer we’ll have to investigate further than just first appearances.
A Comparison of Power
Power-delivery matters a great deal, particularly in an SUV. Although, in the SUV class, there is more to performance than just how much horsepower the engine can produce. Versatility and capability can play a huge role, particularly in mid-sized SUVs that promise some degree of off-road capability.
The Honda Passport is decently powered, thanks to the 3.5-liter V6 engine humming beneath the hood, which issues 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The coupled 9-speed automatic transmission and 20-inch tires aren’t half bad either. Power is typically routed to the front wheels in base models; however, you can opt for all-wheel drive should you wish to turn the Honda Passport into a somewhat competent off-roader. The Honda Passport owes its capability off and on the pavement to the variety of available drive modes. With the simple hit of a switch, you can adjust the Honda Passport for snow, sand, mud, or normal street driving.
Although, what sets the Honda Passport back a bit is the minimal degree of ground clearance, which tops out at 8.1 inches of ground clearance. While the Honda Passport isn’t low to the ground by any means, it doesn’t quite compare to the ride height of other more rugged-centric SUVs. Additionally, it lacks options in terms of engines and could use something that would offer a more torque-heavy performance. That said, what’s here isn’t half bad, and if tweaked just right could make for some smooth riding on light off-road trails.
By comparison, though, there is a sea of engines available for the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6 engine that puts out 295 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Notice that the horsepower is already better with this standard engine than the Passport’s offering – and this only increases. This engine can be easily upgraded to a 5.7-liter engine that provides 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. These numbers are already significantly better than the Passport’s. Next is a 6.4-liter V8 engine offering 475 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. And lastly, there is a top tier, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that delivers 707 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers speak for themselves.
Now, like the Honda Passport, the Jeep Grand Cherokee can adjust its drivetrain to make driving smoother in sand, mud, rock, and snow, which can be especially useful for off-roading. And if you are really interested in off-roading, upgrading to the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is the best choice. You’ll get a 50/50 power split and locking rear differential and the option to improve the ride height to 11.3 inches.
Overall, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is the clear winner when it comes to performance; however, this isn’t the only way in which we ought to judge these two SUVs. Let’s dive a little deeper before jumping to a conclusion.
The Interior Matters
The interior of a vehicle matters just as much as some of the other features as you spend most of your time inside of it. Slip into the front or rear of the 2020 Honda Passport, and you’ll find a well-designed cabin. Sporting a maximum of 78 cu.ft. of cargo space, and giving rear-seat passengers 39.6 inches of legroom, the Honda Passport is comfy no matter how you spin it. While cloth is the standard material for seating, you can easily upgrade to a lush synthetic leather. Adding to the interior experience of the Honda Passport is a decent amount of interior tech.
In the entry-level model, drivers will find keyless ignition, two USB ports, and a rather minimalistic 5-inch display that has Bluetooth connectivity. If you want a more advanced infotainment screen, you’ll need to upgrade to the EX-L, which offers 8-inches of touch-activated screen real estate and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, this is a feature that ought to be a standard-issue by now. Higher tier models of the Honda Passport make up for this misstep though, as features like wireless smartphone chargers and heated seats can be found standard in the Honda Passport Elite.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a little smaller than the Honda Passport, only offering a maximum of 63 cu.ft. of cargo space. As to be expected, cloth is the standard upholstery, although real leather is available in top-trims of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The standard infotainment system of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is far more on par with the industry standard, with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 7-inches of screen to play with. Upgrade this SUV, and you’ll find near luxurious features such as wood trim, a 115-volt household outlet, and heated seats. Overall, the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee offers far better standard interior features than the 2020 Honda Passport.
Which is the Better SUV?
So, which SUV is superior? Well, the superior buy is pretty clear in our minds. While the Honda Passport is cheaper and offers a pretty substantial cabin, it doesn’t compare to the kind of features and drive you can expect in base models of the Grand Cherokee. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is incredibly diverse, with plenty of options and tons of power beneath the hood, making it the superior SUV.