The new Jeep Cherokee is the first to have been created under the ownership of Fiat, so there’s been a lot of excitement in the motoring industry about the new model and what it will bring to the range. Indeed, the comparisons with other cars were almost instantaneous, with its immediate competitors being other medium-size sports SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai, BMW X3, Audi Q3 and Q5 range and the Kia Sportage.
In terms of the ticket price, the Cherokee starts at £25,495 and rises to £35,695, compared to the Qashqai’s starting price of £17,995 (the top model will set you back just £28,280), the Sportage’s low-range £17,500 and top price of £29,505 and the Q3’s opening model at just £23,875. Although the top-of-the-range Q3 will set you back an eye-watering £43,015, the base model is still cheaper than the Cherokee. With a high pricing model, then, the stakes were high for the Cherokee before things even began.
In terms of the fuel economy, it’s improved upon its previous models but is still inferior to the Nissan Qashqai and still has some way to go to be considered an environmentally friendly car. The comfort of the Cherokee’s drive is certainly a huge strength, though, both off-road and on the road, and it certainly has miles on the Kia Sportage in terms of ride comfort, with the Sportage being both bouncy and unresponsive in comparison. The Audi Q3, on the other hand, can be very firm and almost uncomfortable, which is particularly the case with the top-of-the-range models.
The Q3 does have a fantastic build quality, though, and the interior cabin is a pure joy to behold. The Cherokee matches up to this with a great cabin and superb comfort for both the drive and passengers, whereas the Nissan Qashqai does have rather cramped rear seats in comparison, and the Kia Sportage feels much cheaper inside, although the space is better than the Qashqai. Re-sale values are also worth bearing in mind, with the Jeep Cherokee and Audi Q3 both having desirable badges and good re-sale values, whereas the Nissan and Kia models will drop in value much quicker. If you’re not planning on selling for a while, though, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Largely, as is the case with most car comparisons, it seems to come down to priorities. If you’re looking at a premium badge with excellent build quality then you’re left with the Cherokee or the Q3. In terms of saving an extra couple of thousand pounds, we’d choose the Cherokee. If you’re happy to settle for a slightly lesser build quality and don’t need all of the fancy gadgetry inside, the Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai are perfectly serviceable alternatives, particularly when the hugely lower ticket prices are accounted for. If you’re looking to only keep the car for a couple of years, though, the figures just don’t add up and you’d be far better off opting for the Cherokee or the Q3, both of which will retain much of their value. Having said that, though, Kia do offer a huge seven-year warranty on all new cars, which will help to boost its value if you sell in, say, four years.
It would be fair to say that the Cherokee probably does come out on top when you compare it to its closest rivals. It’s not the most expensive option, but it does have a long brand history behind it and provides you with both a fantastically comfortable ride, a high build quality and the kudos that goes with driving a Jeep Cherokee. It might not be as cheap as the Kia Sportage, which comes in at almost ten thousand pounds cheaper, but at the same time it’s easy to see where the extra ten thousand pounds has been spent on the Cherokee. No, it’s not as cheap, but it’s still far better value for money in our opinion and cheaper isn’t always better. Again, it all comes back to priorities — are you looking for a cheap SUV or a high-quality model which is still worth every penny you’ll pay for it? That’s the decision you’ll need to make.