2021 Jeep Cherokee vs Subaru Outback

2021 Jeep Cherokee vs Subaru Outback


When you’re driving through the streets of Penn Yan, Geneva, and Watkins Glen, NY, you deserve to ride in style. If you want to couple that with some efficiency and capability, the clear answer is an SUV.

These incredible vehicles vastly improve on storage space compared to more compact rides, while also adding strength on the road for greater exploration. That versatility has made them very popular; however, you may be wondering which model is the right match for you.

The team at Friendly Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram (DCJR) wants to make things easy for you, so we’ve taken two of the best SUVs on the market and put them against each other. The 2021 Jeep Cherokee and the 2021 Subaru Outback have a lot to offer, but only one can be the best choice for you.

Learn more about these two stunning SUVs in our Jeep Cherokee vs. Subaru Outback comparison.


Jeep Cherokee Engine Specs


Jeep Cherokee Engine Specs

Jeep Cherokee vs Subaru Outback: Performance

One of the most important aspects to consider when looking for a new, adventurous ride is performance. Whether you’re trekking through the great outdoors or just braving the carpool lane at your son’s pre-school, you need to know your set of wheels is reliable.

Both SUVs perform admirably, but the 2021 Jeep Cherokee has a bit of an edge.

The 2021 Subaru Outback features an impressive standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. You also have the option to upgrade to the highest trim level to be treated to a more robust 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque.

In the Cherokee, though, you’ll have three options to choose from…

  • 2.4-liter Tigershark® MultiAir® 2 I-4 engine: 180 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque
  • 3.2-liter Pentastar® V6 engine: 271 horsepower and 239 lb-ft of torque
  • 2.0-liter Turbo I-4 engine: 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque

As you can see, while the baseline powertrains are very similar, the three available motors in the Cherokee provide an extra oomph over the Outback.

Bring Your Toys Along for the Ride

The real difference between these engines is their torque output. The extra pulling power generated by the Cherokee enables this SUV to haul a maximum 4,500 pounds when properly equipped.

This is enough muscle to take the following on your next adventure:

  • A small hard-sided RV for family camping trips
  • A small recreational boat for relaxing floats on the lake
  • A utility trailer loaded with home-improvement project supplies

With the Outback, though, you may have to leave these items at home; it maxes out at a 3,500-pound towing capacity.


Jeep Cherokee Off-Roading


Jeep Cherokee Off-Road

Off-Road Prowess in the Cherokee and Outback

If you plan on taking your SUV on any off-road adventures, the 2021 Cherokee and 2021 Outback are some of your best options. The Outback in particular excels at off-roading, with 8.7 inches of ground clearance designed to help this ride sail smoothly over rocks and tree branches.

The Outback is also prepared for jaunts down dirt roads with standard symmetrical all-wheel drive (AWD). When needed, this system sends power to the wheels with the best traction to keep you stable on slick surfaces.

The Cherokee also boasts a maximum ground clearance of 8.7 inches. However, when it comes to thrilling treks, this SUV is ready to take you to the next level. As commanding and daring as AWD is, when the road gets particularly challenging, this drivetrain is not the right system for the job.

Rocky, muddy, and sandy trails call for a bolder drivetrain, like 4-wheel drive (4WD). The Cherokee has three systems to offer you…

  • Jeep Active Drive I: Includes brake traction control to maintain balanced torque distribution in various weather conditions.
  • Jeep Active Drive II: Uses torque management and 4WD Low mode to help you crawl over boulders and steep inclines with ease.
  • Trail Rated® Jeep Active Drive Lock: Adds on a locking rear differential for even more capability in severe off-roading conditions.

As you can see, the Cherokee is clearly ready for whatever you throw its way.

Select the Traction You Need

Despite the lack of 4WD systems, the Outback is prepared to give you a boost of traction when needed. Standard X-MODE® optimizes the AWD system when selected to get the most traction on slippery and rough surfaces.

The Cherokee, once again, takes selectable drive modes to the next level. When you opt for 4WD on this SUV, you’ll also be treated to a Selec-Terrain® Traction Management System. This feature comes with four selectable drive modes (Auto, Snow, Sport, and Sand/Mud) that you can choose from to match the specific conditions you’re encountering.

These models will then go to work helping curb traction and drive systems to safely take you through a range of on-road and off-road conditions. Adrenaline-seekers can opt for available Rock mode, which is exclusive to the Trailhawk trim level. This Trail Rated® mode allows you to crawl over rugged and bumpy terrain at a safe speed for an extended period of time.

Unfortunately, the Outback is only available with the singular drive mode, so you would want to avoid extreme off-road trails.


2021 Jeep Cherokee vs Subaru Outback: The Results

While both vehicles in our 2021 Jeep Cherokee vs. Subaru Outback comparison perform incredibly well both on and off the road, the Cherokee reigns supreme.

Jeep continues to be the masters of off-roading with the new Cherokee, and you can experience it for yourself at Friendly DCJR, a premier Jeep dealer near Penn Yan, Geneva, and Watkins Glen, New York. Our friendly team is happy to show you all the Cherokee is capable of and answer any questions you might have. 

Visit our showroom to meet with a member of our team to discuss what type of adventures await you when you step behind the wheel of a Jeep Cherokee. We’ll even take you for a spin so that you can feel the power and experience the extreme capability of this SUV firsthand.

Ready to get started? We’re ready to meet you! Schedule a test drive online today.

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