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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee vs 2021 Subaru Ascent

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  • 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    A dark grey 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland is angled left.

    Starting at

    $34,970 *

    2021 Subaru Ascent

    A dark grey 2021 Subaru Ascent Premium is angled right.

    Starting at

    32,295 *

    295-707Horsepower (hp)260
    7,200Max Towing Capacity (lbs)5,000
    10.8Ground Clearance (in)8.7

    Shopping for an SUV seems simple enough: you have a lot of options available to you, so finding the right one should be easy. However, all of those options can actually work against you as it is easy to get lost and end up feeling pretty overwhelmed by everything you can choose from. It often helps to take one or two models at a time and compare them directly, such as digging into the features and options of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee vs 2021 Subaru Ascent. While the Ascent has plenty of fine features available for it, when you start comparing it to the Grand Cherokee, it is certainly left wanting.

    For example, the Subaru Ascent has a pretty decent 260 hp 2.4L turbocharged engine, but that is the only engine it offers. The various trims for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, on the other hand, give you four different engines to choose from. The Grand Cherokee starts with a 295 hp 3.6L V6 engine, and it only gets better from there, including a monster of a HEMI V8. If you are interested in going off-road, then the Ascent has some surprisingly good features, such as all-wheel drive (AWD) with 8.7 inches of ground clearance – though the Jeep model unsurprisingly tops that, with more than 10 inches of clearance available through the Quadra-Lift air suspension system.

    One area in which the Subaru Ascent has historically had an advantage is seating: the Ascent is a three-row SUV with seating for up to eight people, while the Grand Cherokee is a two-row model with seating for five people. That has changed, however, with the introduction of the all-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L, which offers three rows of seating for up to seven passengers. Best of all, the additional seats do not sacrifice any of the amazing performance or amenities of the Grand Cherokee, as the Quadra-Lift air suspension is still available, alongside a 19-speaker McIntosh premium audio system. Come visit us at Orange Coast Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat today to find out more.

  • Performance

    A silver 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is shown from the side driving down a tunnel after winning the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee vs 2021 Subaru Ascent comparison.

    It almost feels unfair comparing the four fantastic engines of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee against the single one offered for the Subaru Ascent. That being said, the engine in your vehicle and the kind of performance it has to offer really is integral to your driving experience and how much you can get from your SUV. It would be irresponsible for us not to look at the engines of these two vehicles, but we are not going to pretend like the Subaru model really has a chance.

    The Turbo-Boxer

    We will look at the Subaru Ascent first since there is only one engine, so this is pretty simple. The Ascent comes with a 2.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder Boxer engine that provides 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes paired with a continuously variable transmission for a pretty smooth driving experience, but not one well-suited to real performance. To be honest, this is a fine engine. It is certainly not among the least impressive options on the road, but it simply cannot compare to what the Jeep SUV has to offer - especially when you dig into the available options.

    The Fantastic Four

    The standard engine for the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a 3.6L Pentastar V6 that provides you with 295 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. This is a bit less torque than the Subaru engine, but it gives you quite a lot more horsepower – so we would say this is comparable, at least, but probably slightly better. Most trims for the Grand Cherokee feature an available 5.7L V8 engine if you want improved performance, which gives you 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque – you can see this is far more powerful than Subaru’s engine.

    If you really want to go the extra mile, however, then there are two trims with exclusive engines to take performance to another level entirely. The SRT trim features a 6.4L HEMI V8 engine that delivers 475 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, which is far superior to anything the Subaru Ascent can even dream of in terms of performance. Not content with that, however, Jeep also offers the Trackhawk trim, which features a 6.2L supercharged V8 engine that delivers a monstrous 707 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque – at this point, you are really in another league entirely. All of these Jeep engines come with an 8-speed automatic transmission for a very nice driving experience, though the Trackhawk features an upgraded TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic for boosted performance.

  • Off-Roading

    A white 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee is shown from the front towing a boat.

    Not everyone looks for an SUV to take off-road or onto the trail, but if you are considering a Jeep, then you probably have that somewhere in mind. To be honest, the Subaru Ascent has some surprisingly good off-road features and holds its own better than we would have expected. However, it cannot keep up with the Jeep legacy and the kind of Trail-Rated features that the Grand Cherokee has to offer.

    Ascent Capability

    For example, the Subaru Ascent comes with all-wheel drive standard on every trim, which is great, with a four-wheel independent raised suspension. It has 8.7 inches of ground clearance but comes with either 18-inch or 20-inch wheels wearing all-season tires, which are not ideal for going off-road. The starting trim for the Ascent has 2,000 lbs of maximum towing capacity, but other trims feature 5,000 lbs for better towing that can work well for loading up for a week of camping or hauling a boat.

    Grand Cherokee Capability

    By comparison, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has an available Quadra-Drive II 4x4 system that features an electronic limited-slip differential for the rear axle. The Grand Cherokee also offers a Quadra-Lift air suspension system that adjusts the ride height of the vehicle to improve handling whether you are off-road tackling some rough terrain or just getting around town. This allows the Grand Cherokee to raise and gain 10.8 inches of ground clearance along with more than 22 inches of water fording capability, so you can really go anywhere.

    You can choose from 18-inch or 20-inch wheels with the Grand Cherokee, depending on the trim you look at, with available all-terrain Kevlar-reinforced tires. High-strength steel skid plates on the underside of the Trailhawk trim help protect the underbody even on the roughest trails. The standard engine gives you 6,200 lbs of maximum towing capacity, while the more powerful available engines boost that to 7,200 lbs of towing so that you can really take everything you need with you.

  • Interior

    A couple is shown in the front seats while driving a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

    Since you are going to spend most of your time with your SUV inside of it while driving, it is always worthwhile to take a moment and see what is available in a vehicle. To keep things simple, we will primarily compare the features of the highest trims for these two models. For the Subaru, that is the Ascent Touring, and for Jeep, we will look at the high-performance Grand Cherokee SRT.

    Which Has the Better Interior?

    The 2021 Subaru Ascent Touring features three rows of seating for up to seven passengers, thanks to a pair of second-row captain’s chairs. It features a leather-wrapped steering wheel and upholstery details, along with an 8-inch infotainment display and analog instrumentation. The Ascent Touring also has a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, rather than the standard 6-speaker audio package, plus USB ports throughout the interior.

    With the standard 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee, you get two rows of seating for up to five people; but the all-new Grand Cherokee L introduces a third row that gives you seating for seven passengers, much like the Subaru Ascent. This new Grand Cherokee L model has amazing interior options and features, like an available 19-speaker McIntosh premium audio system and much more. The standard Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT trim features leather details throughout the interior, along with a unique heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel with a flat bottom and paddle shifters to keep you in complete control. You get an 8.4-inch infotainment display in the SRT, and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system is available for a truly remarkable driving experience.

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