2017 Kia Sportage vs Jeep Cherokee

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Buyers might feel a little daunted, trying to find the right option in a field of really good compact crossovers. Let us help! We’ll take a standard, the Jeep Cherokee, and compare it to one of the most modern upstarts, the 2017 Kia Sportage.

2017 Kia Sportage vs Jeep Cherokee

Styling: Kia Sportage

The look of the 2017 Kia Sportage might not appeal to everyone, but it’s still one of the most striking and intriguing designs in any crossover segment now. The front fascia is definitely more aggressive than the smooth, compliant look of the previous Sportage generation, but you certainly won’t mistake this SUV for anything else. Give it a chance and you’ll soon fall for its muscular charm.

If there’s a rival out there that’s as individual as the Sportage in the way it looks, that rival is the Jeep Cherokee. Just like the Sportage, the front fascia of the Cherokee won’t please everyone, but plenty of buyers will buy in to the Cherokee’s individualistic approach to the SUV market. For a design that’s been around a few years, the Cherokee is still pretty contemporary. Nevertheless, it’s hard to see many buyers choosing the Jeep over the Kia.

Power and Performance: Jeep Cherokee

You’ll find two engines in the Sportage: a standard 2.4-liter inline-four producing 181 horsepower and a 2.0-liter turbo in the SX trim that puts 240 horsepower at your disposal. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with both, as is front-wheel drive, although all-wheel drive is also available.

For such a compact offering, the Cherokee has a big trick up its sleeve: a 3.2-liter V-6 which is rare in this class these days. This engine puts out a respectable 271 horsepower, quite a bit more than the 184 horsepower of the standard 2.4-liter inline-four. With hugely impressive off-road capability, more power, and a nine-speed automatic transmission, this round is a win for the Jeep.

Interior Comfort and Quality: Kia Sportage

While the exterior of the Sportage may be relatively small compared to some of its peers, Kia has made the most of the available space inside. The Sportage feels as big inside as many larger competitors and the quality of trim and materials is very good, especially for such a reasonable price. You’ll enjoy a genuinely premium feel in the Sportage, and what’s even more unique? You’ll feel that premium flair as much in the base trim almost as much as in the top SX Turbo model.

Although the measurements suggest the Cherokee has more room than the Sportage, climb inside and you might not believe the measurements. Despite more leg room, the Cherokee feels far more cramped in the back. You’ll enjoy the quality of the styling and the overall comfort, but those benefits come at a higher price than the Kia.

Features and Equipment: Kia Sportage

Most vehicles, unless they are bargain-basement offerings, come fairly well-equipped with standard features, but the Sportage is even more generous in all three of its trim levels. Although the Sportage is actually very affordable, nobody will know it looking at all the standard features, even in the base LX model. If you’re impressed by keyless ignition, a backup camera, six speakers and three months of free satellite radio, a tow hitch, reclining rear seats, and a host of other options on the least expensive model, then the Kia Sportage will win you over easily.

The Cherokee comes in four different models, in contrast to the three options in the Sportage, and the base Sport model comes with all the essentials such as alloy wheels, air conditioning, keyless entry and Bluetooth with audio streaming. You can add on some off-road features you can’t have with the Kia, but you do have to pay for them.

Learn More about the Kia Sportage

The Jeep Cherokee can go places and do things the Sportage can’t, but that can probably be said of all the Cherokee’s direct competitors as well as the Kia. The Jeep Cherokee fits the need of a very specific market, but the Kia Sportage is much more what most buyers want and need from their crossover. The Kia Sportage dominates on the roads, in the carpool lane, in the everyday slings and arrows of outrageous commuter traffic–and it does it at a price point that will please most buyers. Though we have much respect for the Jeep, the Kia Sportage is our favorite of the pair.