Are you looking for a new midsize SUV? The possibilities probably seem endless, so we’re here to help narrow it down. Let’s look specifically at two competing models: the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee vs 2021 Subaru Ascent. These models share many similarities and unique perks of their own, but the Jeep has the edge over its competition. Between the Grand Cherokee’s multiple trim options and the fact that it’s the “most awarded SUV ever” – at least according to Jeep – it’s a tough model to compete with.
Picking the right model is one thing, but then you’ve got to find what trim works for you. When you’re looking at the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee, you have no fewer than 12 different trim options to choose from. Conversely, the 2021 Subaru Ascent comes in only four different trims. We won’t go over every single trim difference here, but basically, the Jeep’s main perk is that it comes with some real high-performance trims, including the Trailhawk and the Trackhawk. The Trailhawk is ideal for serious off-roading, with better tires and protective skid plates. The Trackhawk is ready to race and not only harnesses 707 horses, but it can also get from 0 to 60 MPG in as little as 3.5 seconds.
The Ascent, on the other hand, is more focused on economy and convenience upgrades. While the Grand Cherokee also includes tech upgrades throughout its trims, the Ascent doesn’t offer any off-roading trims (although we hope it will get a Wilderness version sometime in the coming years). Instead, it’s more focused on basic bad weather capability, passenger space, and cargo, but not all-terrain perks or high performance, which gives it a disadvantage.
The 2021 Grand Cherokee offers a type of power that the 2021 Subaru Ascent cannot compete with, thanks to its massive horsepower capability. However, the Grand Cherokee tops the Ascent in the towing department as well. While the Ascent can tow up to 5,000 pounds, the Grand Cherokee can manage to tow up to 7,200 pounds. Plus, all later Grand Cherokee trims come with Selec-Terrain modes. These are driving modes that include Automatic Mode, Snow Mode, Rock Mode, Mud/Sand Mode, and even Sport Mode. Overall, while the Ascent is a good model for family commuting and travel, the Grand Cherokee offers performance perks that give it the upper hand.
Cargo and Passenger Space
Speaking of commuting and travel, let’s look at a category where these two models have a more defined competition. The one thing that the 2021 Ascent does have over the Grand Cherokee is passenger space. Basically, the Ascent can seat up to 8 passengers, whereas the Grand Cherokee maxes out at 5. However, if three rows of seating are what you require, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee L offers comfortable transportation for your whole family. The Grand Cherokee offers better available tech and safety features than its competition. And the main thing to remember here is that the Jeep’s Uconnect system is easier to use than most infotainment centers as it’s quicker and less likely to glitch out.
Let’s look at the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk’s safety features compared to the Ascent Touring model’s standard safety features. These are the two model’s highest trims, so this gives us an idea of which model offers the strongest safety assets.
First off, the Grand Cherokee comes with Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist, which isn’t offered on the Ascent. This driver-assist feature can quite literally park your vehicle for you. The trick is that you do have to pay attention and keep your hands on the wheel. When you use this feature, you control your acceleration and braking while your Grand Cherokee manages the most difficult part – steering.
The Grand Cherokee also comes with the Enhanced Accident Response System. This safety feature is incredibly important in the event of an accident because it helps prevent further damage. It does this by shutting off the engine, ensuring that no fuel leaks through. It will also automatically turn on your hazard lights for you, unlock your doors, and disable the fuel pump heater, among other helpful responses.
Trailer Sway Damping is another valuable safety feature on the Grand Cherokee. If you’re looking to use your SUV’s towing capacity, you can rest assured that the 2021 Grand Cherokee will help keep your towing experience safer than the Ascent, thanks to Trailer Sway Damping. This feature ensures that your trailer stays steady, helping to prevent dangerous fishtailing. The Grand Cherokee also includes Hill Start Assist, which comes in handy when you pull a trailer. Hill Start Assist makes it easy to switch from the brake to the fuel when you’re stopped on an incline. It does this by holding your Jeep in place as you swap pedals. This feature is handy even without a trailer, but especially with one due to the trailer’s added weight.
Both models include other useful safety features such as blind-spot and lane assist features. However, overall, the 2021 Grand Cherokee comes with far more safety options. When you go all out with the Trackhawk, for example, you’ll get every standard safety feature you could ever need.
The truth here is that when you look at the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee vs the 2021 Subaru Ascent, both models come with plenty of tech features. Both higher trim options come with heated seats, a heated leather steering wheel, and remote start so you can warm up or cool down your SUV. Further, both models include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for reliable music streaming. There is even a Wi-Fi hotspot for internet connectivity on the go. However, the Grand Cherokee does offer a slightly larger 8.4” touchscreen interface, and the new Grand Cherokee L goes even further with a 10.1” screen.
Both models also include their own versions of additional safety subscriptions. Jeep’s SiriusXM Guardian and Subaru’s STARLINK option give you access to vehicle location services, emergency SOS features, roadside assistance, and much more. However, there are some discrepancies between the two model’s tech features. For example, Grand Cherokee includes 12-way power seats, while the Ascent only offers 10-way powered seating. Further, the Grand Cherokee comes with Amazon Alexa compatibility, meaning you can control your home from your car and vice versa. However, overall, technology is a hot spot for both models.
Which One’s For Me?
If you genuinely have no need for off-roading features and additional safety assets aren’t all that important to you, then the 2021 Subaru Ascent is a good midsize SUV model. Especially due to its vast passenger space. However, overall, the 2021 Grand Cherokee is the better vehicle. It comes with several off-roading and performance trims, you get far more safety features, and the multiple trim options allow for a more customizable driving experience.
Another huge perk to the Grand Cherokee lies in the Trackhawk’s performance abilities. You probably never thought that an SUV would pack as much power as a sports car, but it’s possible with the 2021 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. When you want a family commuter that’s off-road capable or has secret racing capabilities, then the Grand Cherokee is definitely worth looking into.