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Chevy Tahoe vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee

1. Overview

Both these off-road sport utility vehicles have been around for some time, really setting the standards in the car industry. These two vehicles are the Chevrolet Tahoe and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. When looking for any vehicle, the first thing you should do is set your budget. These two vehicles being in the same price category changes things up a bit. Chevrolet has done some work improving the Tahoe and it's just for a good reason; it has a whole new look to it. The Jeep Grand Cherokee hasn't changed its body style in some time, sticking with a more retro look. Now the reason for these automobiles is to take you to where you want to go and back, so one should compare the two and see as to which vehicle is more capable of doing so. That being the scope of this comparison, which of these two well-renowned SUVs is more capable of taking you off-road and back, keeping in mind that both the Tahoe and Grand Cherokee are base models, so neither vehicle may have too many of the options that would improve the off-road capabilities. (Fırat & Evcin)(Nicoletti et al.2021)(Ronspies, 2020)(Schmitt, 2020)

1.1. Introduction

If you are looking to purchase a new SUV, then you will most likely look at the Chevrolet Tahoe and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. If not, you should, for these are two of the most popular SUVs on the American market today. The Chevrolet Tahoe, which goes for $38,365 and $47,040, is very similar to the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which goes for $30,710 and $47,995 in price. They are similar in size and have similar features as well. Both have 4-wheel drive, up to 8 cylinders, towing capabilities, and seating for up to 7 people with a third-row seat. This is a brief comparative analysis of the Chevrolet Tahoe and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Both are very good vehicles, but depending on your goals, you will be able to find out if one stands out better than the other. You must ask yourself why exactly you are looking for a new vehicle. Are you looking for more space? Better on and off-road driving? Safety? And of course, money will also play a factor in your decision. Remember, what is highly important to one person might be less important to someone else. So keep that in mind when comparing these two vehicles.

1.2. Purpose

The purpose of conducting this research is to draw a comparison between these two vehicle choices as well as provide an overview of which of the two are more suited for an urban environment which would serve as a replacement for your average sedan and the one that is more suited for adventure/off-road enthusiasts who still want that same degree of practicality in doing so. Examples of the purchasing these vehicles compromising practicality would be parents who drive mid-sized sedans but need something to tow a boat, a pair of jet skis, or a recreational trailer, or elderly people who don't want to deal with the difficulty of getting in and out of a large vehicle but want to still be able to travel off the beaten path and have the capability of all-wheel drive. A lot of people with these paralleling transportation needs get forced into taking the larger vehicle route for 4WD capability or better towing capacity and this study hopes to provide some enlightenment to what really suits these two groups of people. The other intent behind this research is to provide empirical data to the commonly debated discussion of body-on-frame vs. unibody construction in SUVs and its effects on ride, handling, and off-road capabilities. With the recent redesigned Grand Cherokee having a switch from the long standing body-on-frame construction to a unibody and the Tahoe remaining to be body-on-frame, it could be of aid to Chrysler or Dodge vehicle owners with a similar model who are considering purchasing a Tahoe or currently own a Jeep and are considering a switch to Tahoe. Another the main comparison point in the two is that the starting price of a base model Grand Cherokee Laredo is only about $2500 less than a base Tahoe and the difference is even less with a V6 Tahoe model. This study hopes to sort out whether or not a GC owner would be making a wise economic decision into switching to a Tahoe, and for someone trying to make a decision between the two of whether the Tahoe is simply worth the extra cost.

1.3. Scope

The scope of this report is to directly compare the performance and reliability of these two vehicles in a realistic everyday way. In creating the report, our team will do a side by side comparison of numerous categories such as price, reliability, comfort, and ease of maintenance, fuel economy, cargo space, and towing capacity. The vehicles will also be compared in a series of rigorous tests to dictate the true off-road performance capabilities of each. These tests include hill climbs, frame twisters, and taking each vehicle through the same mud hole until one gets stuck. This is done to see if the claimed off-road performance capabilities of these two vehicles truly hold up in a real-life scenario. By doing these tests, the report aims to give a consumer a correct conclusion of which vehicle truly endures as the better vehicle for off-road use. The ultimate goal of the report is to provide a consumer with enough accurate information to make a well-informed decision when purchasing one of these two vehicles. With the amount of bias that comes from automotive company advertising, it is often hard to find accurate information on a vehicle to accurately weigh out the vehicle's pros and cons. This report gives consumers a truthful and accurate depiction of how these two vehicles will fit their everyday lives and can ultimately save them money or grief in the long run.

2. Exterior Features

The manufacturer's design for the lighting of these vehicles has been to create a progressively modern appearance. Tahoes now come equipped with Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs) and dual-functioning headlights, granting the vehicle a total of 4 headlights. An interesting feature with the GMT800s is the roof marker lights originally used on full-size pickups. Although it has no real use for SUVs, having these lights in some states deems the vehicle able to use high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes when the driver is the only person in the vehicle and a good excuse to possess a set of CB antennas. The Grand Cherokee has had a number of changes between WJ and WK models. Laredo and Limited WKs feature round fog lights and high beams positioned near the grill. Changing from its previous model, the WK Grand Cherokee now has the option for HID headlights and advanced directional project beam headlights. Both of these vehicles offer a standard or optional liftgate flip-up window for quick cargo access to the rear and have new LED tail lamps to replace the dim old stock versions. The tailgate window and door are quite helpful when a person is used to the storage and vast utility of an SUV.

The Tahoe, being a longer and wider vehicle, offers more interior cargo and passenger space for whatever you may need to carry. Tahoe dimensions revolve around 198" L x 78" W x 77-80" H. The largest dimension of the Grand Cherokee is its height, coming in at 69-71 inches, and does not exceed any of the width and length measurements of the Chevy Tahoe. Both vehicles feature roof racks, which may come in handy at some point for a paddle to a camping spot or to just store some items outside of the vehicle. This may not be too difficult for the Grand Cherokee owner who is used to putting a canoe on a full-size SUV, but it will be a difficult task for the person stepping down in vehicle size.

Chevrolet has chosen to keep the style of the 2000 Tahoe the same as the current model, which in my opinion is the best way to handle the Tahoe. The box-style late 90's models can be found across the nation and have become an icon for the full-size GM SUV. It would be easier to recognize a person without their face rather than to recognize a Tahoe without its 95-99 body style. Known for having a rugged truck-looking design and appearance, this also sets the Tahoe apart from competing SUVs. The Grand Cherokee, a unibody constructed vehicle with its off-road capabilities, is not much smaller than the Tahoe. In some cases, due to the terrain in the US and the availability of ZJ and WJ Jeeps, there are just as many, if not more, Jeeps than Tahoes still on the road, and a large population of these vehicles still go off-road. This could be a reason why a person may mistakenly purchase a Grand Cherokee, thinking it would meet the same family/utility requirements as a full-size SUV Tahoe without much research.

2.1. Design

In comparison to the original, the interior of the redesigned Cherokee was much less successful. In trying to attract a much wider customer base, the simple and utilitarian design of the old Cherokee was lost. While the majority of Grand Cherokee buyers attain a luxury trimmed model, the base model interiors are still important to consider. The Tahoe, its Tahoesque. Panel gaps are consistent and much of the interior is composed of hard-wearing, rugged, practical, and easy-to-clean materials. In short, there is no mistaking that the interior of a Tahoe is a truck interior. While some may find little excitement in that, it has its benefits. The 1999 to 2004 Grand Cherokees stick to much of the current Jeep interior styling. Interiors are of both two vehicles are best characterized as functional. While the Jeep boasts somewhat better materials, both have a generally hard-wearing, easy-to-clean interior, but the Jeep is better designed for frequent off-road expeditions with more nooks and crannies to store equipment. While the recent success of the Jeep revolves around its image as a "luxury capable" off-roader, the reality of the matter is that in adhering to tradition, the majority of Jeeps are sold in base model trim to people who cannot afford nor do they desire a more upper-class vehicle. In saying that, the newer base model interiors are less austere and quite comfortable, but the recent price increase of the Grand Cherokee has particularly harmed the cost-value relationship. Step outside and turn around, both of these vehicles are better looking from the back. Because the Tahoe is larger and heavier than the Jeep, the two are not as close in off-road capability as one might think, but unfortunately, the Tahoe simply outshines the Jeep in accomplishment of purpose. Its larger size allows for more interior passenger and cargo space, its towing capabilities are excellent with the availability of the inherently more stable rear-wheel drive, and in taking frequent long trips especially to more remote locations, the Tahoe's 4WD is more suitable for on-road snow or rain. The Tahoe is also more durable and will better handle abuse from towing or off-road escapades, but the mileage penalties of the Tahoe are unavoidable with figures of 14mpg in the city and 18mpg on the highway with 2WD models and 1mpg less for 4WD models. This is another area in which the Grand Cherokee with a more gas-efficient engine and smaller size has more clear advantages in being the more economical choice. However, the Tahoe is a more diverse vehicle in capability, and the comparison of capabilities could easily justify the restricted fuel costs.

2.2. Size and Dimensions

Jeep Grand Cherokee's wheelbase is 5 inches longer compared to the Chevrolet Tahoe, but the Tahoe is 4 inches wider and 4 inches taller than the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The differences in their dimensional specs are significant and the full-on four-door American SUV look is imminent with both vehicles. The Grand Cherokee is a capable off-road vehicle and has decent approach and departure angles if you opt for the off-road package. If you were comparing a base model to a base model, the platforms are actually quite similar. The Tahoe looks and feels bigger due to its height and width, and it is actually heavier than the Jeep. This results in a vehicle with a larger interior and more cargo space. The Jeep Grand Cherokee weighs about 4000 lbs, has a wheelbase of 109 inches, is 69 inches tall, and it is 77 inches wide. The base model 2-door Chevy Tahoe weighs 5500 lbs and is 76 inches tall, 79 inches wide, and it has a wheelbase of 116 inches. In any event, the dimensional differences make the Tahoe look and feel like a much larger SUV compared to the Grand Cherokee. Both SUVs have special edition models. Most notably, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 and the Chevy Tahoe Z71. These are their own respective breed in terms of performance, but the SRT8 has more notoriety and consumer recognition. (Nicoletti et al.2021)(Schmitt, 2020)(Ronspies, 2020)

2.3. Lighting

The contrast of the warranty with the Tahoe's DRL lamp is an early indication of one of the major benefits of the Grand Cherokee over the Tahoe. While both are versatile and durable vehicles, the Grand Cherokee is smaller and more maneuverable. This is due to its design. The Grand Cherokee's standard features include body color fascias and door handles, black belt and hood moldings, a modern-looking one-piece lift-gate, and a roof rack with crossbars. When contrasted with the Tahoe's vast amount of chrome accenting and detail, it's clear that while the Tahoe appears somewhat more sleek and modern with its polished features, the Grand Cherokee's less cluttered approach provides better function and optional durability for off-road use. An example of this would be the Tahoe's optional autoride suspension. While this is considered to provide the best on-road comfort, the Grand Cherokee's standard independent front suspension and its optional off-road packages yield results which would be superior to the Tahoe.

Both the Chevy Tahoe and Jeep Grand Cherokee come with halogen reflector multi-par lighting and manual leveling. However, the specifics of each brand can alter that. The Tahoe has Daytime Running Lamps (DRL not an option) which enhance safety and a specific LS cargo area lamp. The Grand Cherokee comes with the trademarked Quadra-Trac 4-wheel drive system and a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty. At first, it seems the warranty is not actually an exterior feature. However, in the instances where the daytime running lights may cause the car to be in use/frequently on, the warranty may come into play if there are any malfunctioning issues with the lights on the Grand Cherokee.

3. Interior Features

Comfort and convenience vehicles don't get better than these. Tahoe and Grand Cherokee have tailored front and second-row heated seats. An available cooled driver's seat (must be with SLT trim levels) helps maintain the driver's comfort level in warm climates. Dual-zone heating and cooling controls and an automatic HVAC system are standard (Manual for CJC on Laredo and Limited models). GM was thoughtful enough to incorporate available removable and adjustable pedals (radio and LPC with MAP, except SLE and SLT1). Spring tension assist on the pedals makes adjustment simple. Dual-level heating allows the customer to set the remote start option to heat or cool the seats and cabin (Heat only on mid-high-level vehicles). Tahoe features tri-zone climate controls for driver simulation management. All these features make the vehicle especially customized to individuals for ideal comfort. Pricing helps determine vehicle features, offering the customer many options. High-level GM trims offer more features and flexibility compared to the one set price of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which offers many standard luxury features in one competitive package.

Chevy Tahoe and Jeep Grand Cherokee, both with their outstanding performance, show a big difference in their interior features. Talking about the seating capacity, Tahoe has 9 maximum seats, whereas Grand Cherokee has 7 maximum seats, 2 seaters less. Segmenting the seats, GMC Yukon (LT) has 9/8 seats, GMC (Non LT) has 9 seats, whereas the Z71 model and LS model have 8 seats. Jeep Grand Cherokee gives more room for its passengers and suits adults more than teenagers. It has two rows of seats that can accommodate four adults very comfortably. There's 36 cubic feet of cargo area and more than 68 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded down. Tahoe and Yukon have a relatively low floor height, which makes it easier to enter and exit the vehicle. The 60/40 split rear bench can be removed and reinstalled for simple customization of passenger and cargo space. Models equipped with captain's chairs offer a 40/20/40 split, allowing the center portion to be removed for a variety of combinations to suit passenger and cargo needs.

3.1. Seating Capacity

Whether you're sitting in the first row or the last, both the Chevrolet and the Jeep offer good comfort. Both the Chevy Tahoe and the Jeep Grand Cherokee come with 3 rows of seating and can be equipped to seat up to 7 or 8 passengers, respectively. Tahoe's captain's chairs for the second row are a plus. Getting to the third row is not as easy in the Tahoe, however, as the 2nd row seats do not tip and slide forward. The Grand Cherokee's front and 2nd row seats are comfortable and provide good support. The available Quadra-Trac II Full-Time 4WD system adds weight to the JGC, and it is obvious in the seating comfort. The Jeep's 3rd row, while a nice addition, is a bit more cumbersome to access than the Tahoe's and is best reserved for children. Both the Tahoe and the Jeep second row seats fold and flip forward for easier access to the 3rd row, with the Tahoe offering a manual second row release as well as an available power release. Both vehicles also offer competitive cargo room when the 3rd row is not in use, with the Tahoe ahead in this category as it offers 55 cubic feet of cargo space while the Jeep provides 36.3.

3.2. Comfort and Convenience

With 3-passenger, 40-20-40 split-folding rear seats and available 3-passenger, 60-40 split-folding rear seats, the Tahoe has satisfactory seating for eight passengers. The Grand Cherokee only provides for five passengers. The Chevy has 55 more horsepower with its standard 5.3 V8 engine than the standard 6-cylinder Grand Cherokee. The Grand Cherokee offers a V8 but it is limited in availability and it spikes the vehicle's cost considerably. Because of its truck frame, the Tahoe has subpar interior space for a large SUV. But it has far greater cargo capacity than the Grand Cherokee which gives it an edge as a better utility vehicle even if its passenger accommodations are only slightly better than the Jeep's. The Tahoe's cargo volume is a huge 109 cubic feet. The Grand Cherokee's even smaller cargo volume was expanded to 68 last year with the introduction of a new body style, but it is still not as utilitarian as its competitors. Both vehicles have power liftgates and the Grand Cherokee's has a convenient flipper glass feature. The Tahoe has a far greater towing capacity than the Jeep. A Tahoe can be equipped to tow as much as 8,600 lbs., approximating the capacity of a full-size pickup. Jeep Grand Cherokees are rated to tow 6,200 lbs. with V8 power.

3.3. Technology and Infotainment

Standard on the Chevy Tahoe is a 9-inch touch screen with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It comes with a 4G LTE data connection with Wi-Fi hotspot capability to stay connected. There will be a total of 9 USB ports throughout all 3 rows with many being scattered in the rear of the vehicle. The Tahoe will also come available with a rear seat entertainment package which will include 2 screens for the 2nd row passengers. The system will be Blu-ray compatible and auxiliary HDMI and USB inputs as well as digital headphones and device projection. The system will be the same one that is currently in the recently released Traverse. The system is by Frontier with a bundled package of MyLink radio which offers a basic touch screen GUI, SiriusXM, Bluetooth and available navigation. Other options available on Tahoe will be a head-up display and a wireless phone charging center. The Grand Cherokee comes standard with a 7-inch touch screen and a 6-speaker audio system with integrated voice command, Bluetooth and USB. It too offers Apple CarPlay or Android Auto for easy device pairing. There can be an upgrade to an 8.4-inch touch screen display with SiriusXM, Navigation, HD radio, and 5-year traffic and travel link service by SiriusXM. The unit can be controlled with the Uconnect system. Housed in the center armrest there is also a Blu-ray player with an HDMI input and a USB. The rear seat entertainment package comes with 2 screens for 2nd row passengers with Blu-ray compatibility, an IR remote, video inputs and wireless headphones. Minimum requirements are at least the Laredo trim with the 8.4-inch display.

4. Performance and Handling

The 2015 Tahoe uses a 5.3-liter V-8 rated at 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. The new Tahoe is a beast; with its standard engine, it will have no problem pulling trailers for weekend projects or a summer toy. This engine features state-of-the-art technologies, including direct injection, Active Fuel Management, and continuously variable valve timing to make the most of power, torque, and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions. Direct injection helps produce more power from the same amount of fuel, which improves the Tahoe's fuel economy. Active Fuel Management, a system that allows the engine to seamlessly operate between all eight cylinders and four cylinders, depending on the load and power demand, effectively saving fuel. The Jeep Grand Cherokee has four engine options, so I will just cover the very basics of each. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6 engine that provides an impressive 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque for a capable all-around performance. For about $3000, you can upgrade from the standard engine to a 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 engine, which offers up to 30 hwy mpg and great range for over 700 miles on the highway. This is part of Jeep's sustainability efforts. The third engine option is a 5.7-liter Hemi V8; this powerful engine delivers 360 horsepower and 390-pound-feet of torque. The fourth engine, exclusive to the Grand Cherokee SRT, is a 6.7-liter HEMI V8 that delivers 475 horsepower and 470-pound-feet of torque. Moving over to fuel efficiency, the Tahoe gets 16 city and 23 highway with 2WD, and these numbers drop by 1 when you use 4WD. A 1 MPG increase was something that Chevrolet had deeply intended on getting, and did with the new Tahoe compared to earlier generations. The 4WD Tahoe has better fuel economy than its direct competitor, the Ford Expedition. The Grand Cherokee provides 17 city and 25 highway with 2WD and drops by 1 for each when using 4WD. Although these numbers are only slightly better than what the Tahoe provides. A number of factors played into the slight improvement in fuel economy for the Grand Cherokee, such as lighter overall weight, new transmission energy losses, wide-range of powertrain control, and improved thermal management. The Grand Cherokee does better on fuel ratings, but they are definitely close, and the Tahoe getting near full-size SUV fuel economy on a fully redesigned model is something Chevrolet was happy to achieve.

4.1. Engine Options

The Grand Cherokee offers more variety with a 4.0 liter straight six, a 4.7 V8, and a 2.7 Turbo diesel for European buyers. The straight six, also known by Jeep as the Powertech engine, is often criticized for being underpowered, dull, thirsty with a lack of torque. It is offered in two versions in the GC. One with a High Output cam which produces around 10 more horses and 5 ftlbs torque. In all honesty, it is probably just worth going for the V8 which is smooth, refined and not too much less economical. 249 horsepower and 375 lbs of torque make it barely any quicker than the Tahoe and would probably also take about 10 seconds from 0-60. Americans really should stop using old Diesels to power their Jeeps and leave the oil-burners to us Europeans because this is a great engine to drive but the emissions and lack of low down torque spoil it. A common rail diesel engine, it is available in the UK as there is no longer a V8 option and is well received by most. Picking the best engine is down whether you want to go fast or move fast. The diesels and sixes are not terrible but if you are used to a V8 engine in a 4x4, it's difficult to compromise.

Engine options on both of these vehicles are interesting as Chevrolet, a company known for its producing powerful and brute engines, only offers one engine choice while Jeep, a company known for producing slightly more refined, road-going SUVs offers no less than three! The Tahoe's engine is a new 5.3 liter V8 based on the architecture of the Corvette's LS6. 230 horsepower and 320 lbs of torque are on offer which is enough to propel this big 4000 lb SUV from 0-60 in around 10 seconds, a fairly respectable figure considering the vehicle's size.

4.2. Fuel Efficiency

The Grand Cherokee's 3.6-liter V6 and HEMI V8 return respectable fuel economy, falling not far off the rating of the Chevy Tahoe's V8, while offering equivalent on-demand power. If the goal is maximum efficiency, then Jeep offers a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 which rates highest at 30 MPG highway. Chevrolet offers a 5.3-liter V8 which will be adequate for power and towing, and claims a segment-best 23 MPG highway with standard rear-wheel drive. The Tahoe will have a few compelling caveats to this rating: 4WD models are rated lower at 22 MPG highway, and the base 2WD model starts a half-step higher at 22 MPG highway as well. This discrepancy is due to the standard 5.3-liter V8 using the Dynamic Fuel Management system (DFM), which was proven to conserve fuel and to not sacrifice power in our experiences with GM vehicles. In summation, the 5.3L DFM V8 model Tahoe gets 1 MPG less than the highest-mileage diesel model Grand Cherokee, and also has a lower cost of ownership over a five-year period. This is despite the Jeep achieving the highest rating in the segment and Chevrolet claiming the best rating of any full-size SUV. The difference in MPG will result in a variance of around $400 per year, making the Tahoe's efficiency the best in its class among non-diesel vehicles, and one of the most cost-efficient in terms of the full-size SUV segment.

4.3. Off-Road Capability

Off-road capability is a trait that both of these SUVs share, although to varying degrees. The Grand Cherokee, Jeep's flagship model, is happy to be taken off-road. Depending on the trim level, it can be equipped with either Quadra Trac I, Quadra Trac II, Quadra Trac SRT Active 4WD, or Quadra Drive II. The first two of these are standard on Laredo and Limited trims and recommended for everyday on-road driving, with the SRT Active being beneficial for on-road high performance. Any of these is a good choice for a general four-wheel-drive system. Quadra Drive II, however, includes an electronic limited-slip differential that replaces the conventional differentials and lockers found on other models. It still uses brake traction control but is far more effective and doesn't have a risk of damaging the vehicle. An air suspension can also be added to any model, which can increase off-road ground clearance. For the purposes of off-roading, the more bells and whistles, the better, so go for a model that has these features. The Chevy Tahoe does come with an off-road package, which includes skid plates, better tires, and an off-road suspension, to name a few. However, the Tahoe simply isn't as maneuverable as its competitor off-road, and its size will limit its capability somewhat. With a large overhang, inferior approach angles, and lower ground clearance, the Tahoe is not one of Chevrolet's brightest efforts in off-road design. Any actual Tahoe off-road driver would likely be concerned about damaging such an expensive vehicle and would probably consider its off-road performance relative to its on-road performance, opting to tow a smaller vehicle and use the Tahoe as a base.


Fırat, E. & Evcin, Z. L. (). THE EFFECT OF THIN RECTANGULAR PLATE ON THE AERODYNAMIC DRAG OF A COMPACT SUV. researchgate.net. researchgate.net

Nicoletti, L., Romano, A., König, A., Köhler, P., Heinrich, M., & Lienkamp, M. (2021). An estimation of the lightweight potential of battery electric vehicles. Energies, 14(15), 4655. mdpi.com

Ronspies, K. B. (2020). Evaluation and Update of MASH Test Vehicles. unl.edu

Schmitt, A. (2020). Right of way: Race, class, and the silent epidemic of pedestrian deaths in America. atlantaurbanist.com


Chevy Tahoe vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee

Discover how the Chevy Tahoe stacks up against the Jeep Grand Cherokee in our comprehensive comparison. We cover aspects like off-road capabilities, interior luxury, and overall performance.

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