Upgrading from a compact to a midsize SUV doesn’t need to include a third row. Small families and empty nesters who want a bit more versatility can enjoy a midsize crossover’s cabin volume without the need to stow or store unused seats. There are several great options to choose from, but the 2022 Honda Passport and 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee are two standouts.
Based on the larger three-row Honda Pilot, the two-row Passport gets a more rugged look for 2022 and a TrailSport trim with bolder styling cues, standard all-wheel drive and unique 18-inch wheels. For its part, Jeep Grand Cherokee is redesigned for 2022 and builds on its off-road capability and cabin refinement and further adds a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Which SUV should you choose? Edmunds’ experts compared them to find out.
POWER AND FUEL ECONOMY
Like the Pilot, Honda’s Passport is powered exclusively by a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 280 horsepower. Buyers are given a choice of front- and all-wheel-drive configurations with a nine-speed automatic transmission. In Edmunds’ testing, this combo hustled the Passport from 0 to 60 mph in a quick 6.8 seconds. All-wheel-drive Passport models earn an EPA-estimated 21 mpg combined (19 city/24 highway), and our 115-mile testing route averaged a rosier 22 mpg.
Jeep offers its Grand Cherokee with three powertrains: a standard V6, a potent V8, or a plug-in hybrid with 26 miles of all-electric range. V6-equipped models produce a healthy 293 horsepower, V8 versions churn out 357 horsepower, and the 4xe plug-in hybrid makes an impressive 375 horsepower. Rear-wheel drive is standard on V6 derivatives, and four-wheel drive is available. Other versions come standard with four-wheel drive.
Our evaluation of the four-wheel-drive, V8-powered Grand Cherokee included a 0-60 mph run in under 6.5 seconds. This segment-leading performance comes with a fuel economy penalty, however. The eight-cylinder model gets just 17 combined mpg. On the upside, the Grand Cherokee’s V6 delivers up to 22 mpg combined and the plug-in hybrid has the potential to be the most fuel-efficient of the bunch.
Winner: Grand Cherokee
COMFORT AND CAPABILITY
The Passport offers ample head- and legroom for five adult passengers. Doors open wide to make it easy to get in and out, and seat comfort is excellent. Front seats are available with heating and ventilation, while rear seats recline, with heating an option. Ride quality is superb over small bumps, and the cabin is well insulated from wind and road noise. The Passport is decently capable off-road, though its max ground clearance of 8.1 inches isn’t particularly great. Maximum towing capacity when properly equipped is 5,000 pounds, which is suitable for pulling a small to midsize trailer.
The Grand Cherokee can’t match the Passport’s sheer interior volume, though adults fit comfortably in both rows. All seats can be equipped with heating and ventilation, and the rear row reclines. The ride is compliant over road imperfections, though wind and tire noise is higher than similarly priced SUVs.
Off-road, the Grand Cherokee impresses with available four-wheel drive, low-range gears, and an optional air suspension that offers up to 11.3 inches of ground clearance. There are few places this SUV can’t go, and with up to 7,200 pounds of available towing capacity, there are few toys the Grand Cherokee can’t bring along.
The Honda Passport is more spacious and comfortable, but the Grand Cherokee ties this category with its astounding capability.
FEATURES AND VALUE
Honda has eliminated the Sport trim for 2022, leaving the most popular EX-L trim as the Passport’s entry point. At $41,195, the EX-L includes desirable amenities such as leather seating, heated front chairs, driver assistance technologies and a power moonroof. Combined with exceptional material and build quality, these features solidify the Passport’s value.
Jeep casts a wide net with the Grand Cherokee’s options and pricing. At $40,120, the entry-level model is priced competitively but lacks many standard features available elsewhere. Meanwhile, fully loaded trims gain equipment competitors can’t match, but the Grand Cherokee’s price invades luxury vehicle territory, albeit without justifiable build quality. The Passport doesn’t skimp on creature comforts and doesn’t inflate its price, earning a win.
This one is close. The redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee packs elite amenities and lives up to Jeep’s reputation for providing capable outdoor adventure. But the Honda Passport’s refined ride quality and higher value proposition make it a better pick overall for most people shopping for a midsize SUV.
This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds.
Miles Branman is a contributor at Edmunds. Follow Miles on Twitter