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2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee – Albany, NY

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  • 2020 Ford Explorer

    A grey 2020 Ford Explorer is facing left.

    Starting at


    2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    Starting at


    300 Base Horsepower (HP)295
    87.8Cargo Space (cu.ft.)68.3

    There are certain vehicles that seem to have been around forever and have become staples, of sorts, within the car community. Both the Ford Explorer and the Jeep Grand Cherokee are such vehicles. Both of these SUVs have been on the market for a very long time. In fact, the first generation of Ford Explorer hit the market in 1991, while Jeep Grand Cherokee showed up just a few years later in 1993. The completely redesigned 2020 Explorer marks the first vehicle in Ford’s sixth generation, while the 2020 Grand Cherokee is part of the fourth generation, which was introduced in 2011. With this amount of history backing both models, it is good to look at the similarities between the 2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

    These vehicles have both seen great success for a surprisingly long time, given how fickle the SUV market can be. The ongoing era of each model can be attributed to quality construction and detailed engineering, all while maintaining the classic identity that has drawn in life-long fans since their initial release. But what are the features that make an Explorer fan or a Jeep fan prefer one vehicle over another? Each SUV has been built with plenty of power, space for the whole family, and safety and entertainment technology that make driving a true pleasure, whether you’re headed across town or across the country.

  • Performance

    A blue 2020 Ford Explorer, which wins when comparing the 2020 Ford Explorer vs 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee, is towing a boat past trees outside of Cincinnati, OH.

    What’s Under the Hood of the Explorer

    Ford takes all of the guesswork out of choosing an engine, as only one engine is offered in most trims of the 2020 Explorer. This highly capable engine is a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that offers 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission. While the Explorer comes standard with rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive is available for brave drivers.

    For those looking to take things up a notch, the ST and Platinum trims include a new engine as part of the redesign. The ST includes a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that offers 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque, while the Platinum trim shares the same engine with a lower power output of 365 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque.

    One of the newly redesigned Ford Explorer models is a Limited Hybrid. As the name suggests, this model features a hybrid 3.3L V6 engine, and is only available in the Limited trim package. This engine boasts 318 horsepower with the combined efforts of the engine and the electric motor. The Explorer features a maximum tow capacity of 5,600 pounds when equipped with the optional tow package, and even the Hybrid model is able to tow up to 5,000 pounds.

    What's Under the Hood of the Grand Cherokee

    Jeep seems to have taken a cue from the Explorer in this regard, offering one base engine for all models except the range-topping SRT and Trackhawk 4x4 models. While the previous diesel engine option has been discontinued, the remaining options should provide enough power for a variety of drivers. The standard engine is a 3.6L V6 engine that offers 295 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, which is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

    An optional engine is available on trim levels Limited and above. This engine is a 5.7L V8 that offers 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. Meanwhile, the SRT and Trackhawk trims have been equipped with high-performance engines for heavy-duty work. The SRT includes a 6.4L V8 engine that offers 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, which is paired with a specialized all-wheel drive system and sport-tuned suspension, steering, and brakes. The Trackhawk includes a supercharged 6.2L V8 engine that offers an outrageous 707 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to tow up to 7,200 pounds. The Trackhawk also features an upgraded eight-speed automatic transmission.

    To get that kind of power and performance, you will have to spend at least $69,590. With the Ford Explorer, to get up to 400 horsepower, 415 lb-ft of torque, and a towing capacity of 5,600 lbs, the MSRP is only $54,740.

  • Safety

    The blind-spot warning in the mirror of a 2020 Ford Explorer is shown with a red Explorer.

    As family-oriented vehicles, both Ford and Jeep provide a full suite of safety features and technology on the Explorer and Grand Cherokee.

    The Ford Explorer Provides Safety for All

    Ford has recently rolled out the Co-Pilot360 package of safety features. This includes a full suite of new safety options to help drivers feel more confident in a variety of scenarios. For example, automatic high beams sense when the going gets dark, switching on to aid in visibility. They also sense when headlights are approaching, and switch off to preserve the vision of oncoming traffic. Not only does the Explorer feature a rearview camera, but the 2020 version features its own washer, which keeps dirt and weather debris from blocking its view.

    In addition to visibility technology, the Ford Co-Pilot360 package includes features that keep drivers safely going forward. Lane-keeping technology scans the lane markers as you drive, to ensure you’re not drifting. Should you drift too much within a period, an alert will notify you that it’s time to take a break before driving becomes too dangerous. Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go technology recognizes when traffic begins to slow or stop, and slows down the vehicle to avoid a collision. It also scans lane markers and speed signs to make sure you’re always going with the flow. Automatic Emergency Braking is another collision-mitigating safety technology that detects potential forward collisions and applies the brakes even if you don’t.

    A new technology introduced with the 2020 Ford Explorer is known as BLIS. The Blind Spot Information System is able to detect objects and vehicles that are in your blind spot. When the coast is not clear, BLIS provides an alert intended to prevent drivers from a potential collision. This technology also includes a Cross Traffic Alert, which senses when a vehicle is about to pass behind you. The Cross Traffic Alert is incredibly helpful in situations such as backing out of a parking spot in a crowded lot or pulling out of a driveway in reverse.

    Jeep's Suite of Safety Features

    Jeep now offers three levels of safety features: The Protech I, which is standard on all Grand Cherokee trims, Protech II, which is available on Laredo, Altitude, and Upland trims, and Advanced Protech II. Advanced Protech II comes standard on the High Altitude, Summit, SRT, and Trackhawk, and is optional on the Limited, Limited X, Trailhawk, and Overland.

    Protech I includes all of the classic safety features, such as Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Detection, allowing drivers to be more aware of obstacles behind and surrounding them. The ParkSense system assists drivers to park accurately anywhere, with Rear Park Assist guidance and a Rear Back Up Camera to provide a clear view.

    The Protech II package adds onto this technology with Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, which alerts drivers to potential forward collisions and applies emergency braking as necessary. LaneSense Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist ensures you always travel the straight and narrow, alerting drivers when they drift too far between lane markers. This package also features automatic high beam technology.

    The Advanced Protech II package builds on the Protech II package with enhanced forward collision mitigation, including full braking at speeds up to 25 mph. It also includes rain-sensing windshield wipers and technology that assists with parallel and perpendicular parking. Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go is available with this package, as well.

  • Trims

    A blue 2020 Ford Explorer ST is shown at dusk.

    Both the 2020 Explorer and 2020 Grand Cherokee are offered in a variety of trim packages to suit the needs of nearly every SUV driver.

    The Ford Explorer's Enticing Trims

    The Explorer is offered in the Base trim, the XLT, Limited, Limited Hybrid, ST, and Platinum trims. The Base model gets things started with 18-inch wheels, LTD headlights, a 40/20/20 split second row, and a 50/50 split third-row. You'll also get dual zone automatic climate control, eight-way adjustable power driver’s seat, a power liftgate, and a driver info display with a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, an 8-inch touchscreen, two USB ports, and six-speaker audio system.

    The XLT models include roof rails, heated mirrors, a power-adjustable passenger seat, and driver lumbar adjustment, as well as several luxury upgrades, such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, higher-quality cloth upholstery, and more features on the driver info center. For those who enjoy the offerings of the XLT, but want to boost the comfort level a bit, the optional Comfort Package adds heated seats to the first and second rows, as well as a windshield wiper de-icer, and a heated steering wheel.

    The Limited and Limited Hybrid are perched on 20-inch wheels, and add power-folding mirrors and a hands-free liftgate, power-assisted folding second and third-row seats, heated second-row seats, and an upgraded Bang & Olufsen audio system.

    The ST includes a standard towing package, as well as a sport-tuned suite of features. This includes sport seats, automated parallel and perpendicular parking, 20-inch wheels, and street-savvy styling. The Platinum was made to turn heads and features a two-piece sunroof, trim-specific styling, leather interior, and luxury leather upholstery. Those who wish to add more of Ford’s cutting edge technology to either the ST or Platinum trim can choose to include the optional Premium Technology package. This package adds massaging front seats, a Bang & Olufsen stereo sound system, and a 10.1-inch touchscreen information center.

    The Jeep Grand Cherokees Trims

    Jeep offers an almost overwhelming array of trims and special editions for the 2020 Grand Cherokee. The 4x2 lineup includes the Laredo, Laredo E, Upland, Altitude, Limited, Limited X, Overland, High Altitude, and Summit models. Standard 4x4 trims include Trailhawk, SRT, and Trackhawk. All of the rear-wheel drive trims are available as 4x4 trims, as well. However, some of these trims have limited availability, and you are not as likely to find them at a dealership. These limited editions include the Altitude, Upland, High Altitude, Limited X, and North Edition.

    The base Laredo is equipped with rear parking sensors and a dual-zone automatic climate control system, as well as the UConnect Jeep infotainment system, which includes a 7-inch touchscreen and six-speaker sound system, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

    The Limited trim adds convenience features such as remote start, a power liftgate, and heated seats and steering wheel, paired with leather upholstery. Trailhawk models are focused on off-road driving, with all-terrain tires, low-range Quadra Trac gears, an electronic locking rear differential, and terrain select system. The Overland includes much of the same equipment as the Trailhawk, without the off-road zest.

    The Summit trim upgrades luxury, with an upgraded leather interior, noise-canceling technology, self-parking technology, and a Harman Kardon audio system.

    The SRT features high-performance elements, such as summer performance tires, a sport-tuned suspension, brakes, and steering, a sportier body design, selectable drive modes, and a high-performance engine. The Trackhawk includes an upgraded suspension with adaptive road capabilities, high-performance Brembo brakes, and 20-inch wheels.

    Both Ford and Jeep can credit the longevity of their most popular SUVs on their use of intelligent design and engineering. Of course, creating multiple packages that cater to the needs of all sorts of SUV drivers is an essential piece of the puzzle, as well. With an ever-increasing suite of safety features and more luxurious comfort elements than ever before, it’s easy to see why those who crave a vehicle that is both high performance and high class will consider the 2020 Ford Explorer or 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Explorer has started their new generation with some pretty intense offerings.

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