When you’re on the search for a reliable and stylish SUV for your commutes all around the Hamilton, Madison, and Smyrna, New York, areas, it’s important to do an ample amount of research. This way, you can find a model that includes all the technology, safety, and performance features that are important to you. Two highly capable models you may be considering are the Jeep Cherokee and the Subaru Forester.

Here at Friendly Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, we’re dedicated to helping you every step of the way through your car-buying journey, and we know that starts right here with the research process. In order to make it as simple as possible for you, we created this handy review of the 2021 Jeep Cherokee vs. Subaru Forester. Now, let’s see which one is the perfect choice for you!

Jeep Cherokee vs Subaru Forester Performance and Engine Specs

Jeep Cherokee RedTo get started, we’ll head right under the hood of these two SUVs.

With the 2021 Cherokee, you’ll have the choice of three different available engines.

  • Standard 2.4L Tigershark® MultiAir® 2 Engine

With this engine, you’ll get an EPA-estimated 31 highway MPG, which will give you an impressive driving range of over 474 highway miles on just one tank of gas.

  • Available 2.0L Turbo Engine

This engine is paired with the 9-speed automatic transmission for a smooth and easy-to-handle ride. It puts out 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.

  • Available 3.2L Pentastar® V6 Engine

This powerful engine will get you a maximum towing capacity of up to 4,500 pounds, which means you can easily haul your boat down to the lake or hook up a trailer for your next move.

Over in the 2021 Forester, there is only one engine option: the 2.5L SUBARU BOXER® 4-cylinder engine. You’ll only get a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 pounds, making it much less powerful than the Cherokee.

Jeep Cherokee vs Subaru Forester Interior Cabin Space and Comfort

Now, we’ll head right inside and take a look at just how much interior cabin space you’ll get.

While both models fit up to five riders, the Jeep Cherokee provides 128 cubic feet of passenger volume, while the Subaru Forester falls short, offering up just 111.9 cubic feet of passenger space.

2021 Jeep Cherokee


2021 Subaru Forester

128 cu. ft.

Passenger Volume

111.9 cu. ft.




40.3 in.

Rear Legroom

39.4 in.


This means riders in the Cherokee will have much more room to spread out and relax than they would over in the Forester.

Off-Road in the Cherokee and Forester 

Jeep CherokeeFrom time to time, your adventures may take you down paths less travelled. When you leave the pavement behind for more rugged terrain, will the 2021 Cherokee or Forester perform better? With several off-road features under their belts, both are quite capable.

The Forester, for instance, offers up to 8.7 inches of ground clearance. The Cherokee Trailhawk comes very close with 8.5 inches of ground clearance itself. When you need to clear low-lying brush and uneven terrain, these two SUVs will help you do it.

Your Choice of 4×4 Systems

The Forester also offers symmetrical all-wheel drive (AWD), a Subaru staple that should provide more traction on the dirt. Only the Cherokee, however, offers three different 4×4 systems for a wide range of weather conditions and off-road scenarios:

  • Jeep Active Drive 4×4 System. This system automatically engages four-wheel drive when it senses unpredictable roads. It will actively monitor wheel slippage as well.
  • Jeep Active Drive II 4×4 System. This available system features two-speed power transfer unit torque management as well as 4-Low mode for outstanding performance. It also locks the front and rear driveshafts.
  • Jeep Active Drive Lock 4×4 System. Available on the Trailhawk, this system uses a rear locker for more traction when off-roading and in Rock Mode on the Selec-Terrain® Traction Management System.

Trail Rated® Traction Management

As alluded to earlier, the Cherokee also allows you to adjust to the terrain beneath your wheels. Its Selec-Terrain® Traction Management System has five terrain modes—Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud, and Rock—to help you conquer various landscapes.

While the Outback does offer dual-mode X-MODE® traction enhancement, it lacks the diversity of terrain modes available on the Cherokee. There is no option for Rock Mode on the Outback, for instance.

As a Trail Rated® model, the Cherokee Trailhawk ranks among the most capable Jeep SUVs. This specialized trim level can travel across streams and creeks up to 19 inches deep—a capability you won’t find on any Outback trim.

Infotainment Technology 

Jeep Grand Cherokee InteriorState-of-the-art infotainment will keep you connected in the 2021 Cherokee and Forester! The Jeep Uconnect® and SUBARU STARLINK® systems offer a vast selection of standard connectivity features:

  • Android Auto™ / Apple CarPlay®
  • Bluetooth® wireless technology
  • Touchscreen interface

The Jeep Cherokee comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen, and the Subaru Forester is standardly equipped with a 6.5-inch touchscreen. As you move up trim levels, you’ll find even more advanced infotainment systems. Larger touchscreens and available navigation will make your journey much more convenient.

In the Jeep Compass, Uconnect® 4C NAV goes above and beyond with Off-Road Pages. This feature offers key off-roading insights and data, from the drive mode engaged to wheel articulation and transmission temperature.

With this information, you’ll stay in the know as you embark on the most thrilling adventures in the Cherokee! Unfortunately, the Subaru Forester does not incorporate the same off-road handiness into its multimedia system.

The Verdict: 2021 Jeep Cherokee vs Subaru Forester

Now that you know all about both these SUVs, it’s clear the 2021 Jeep Cherokee outperforms the 2021 Subaru Forester in crucial categories like performance and interior cabin space.

Here at Friendly Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, we’re dedicated to providing our drivers with a fun and informative car-buying experience, so you can find the perfect vehicle for your commutes around the Hamilton, Madison, and Smyrna, NY, areas. For more information or to schedule your next test drive, call or stop by today!


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