Choosing the right SUV is hard – even worse, a lot of online resources don’t really help. Instead, they provide you with a lot of rubbish about horsepower, towing, cargo capacity, and other such offal that no one really needs to know about. For example, if you start looking at the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L vs 2021 Toyota Highlander, you’re going to see a bunch of foofaraw about the Jeep’s towing, 16-way adjustable power front seats, and Quad-Zone temperature control – or nonsense about the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ package of safety features and how they can protect you on the road.
Pointless. Who cares about all that? Let me paint you a portrait with my words: it’s Saturday evening, you’re looking good and ready for a night out. Your friends come over and, of course, they want you to drive them all – fine, whatever!? So you take stock: Nate’s here, that’s cool, and so are Adam and Justin; Steve showed up, which is fine (you guess), but so did Tim and Keith, plus Keith’s awful girlfriend Michelle, and now you have to be stuck in your SUV with all of them!
So what you really want to know – don’t we all – is which SUV will let you inflict the most suffering on your friends?
Interior Seating Space
We could come up with all sorts of fun ways to torment your friends, and if you’re anything like me, then you already have. But the simplest way to pick an SUV that will let you make them wish they’d never met you is by looking at the interior seating. You see, both of these two SUVs have three rows of seating, but neither of them really should. No, seriously, the third row is a nightmare of pain that was clearly designed by someone considered too extreme for making seating in airplanes.
So we’re going to take a look at these two models and the kind of space they offer for you and your passengers. I want good room up front for you and someone you’re actually happy showed up, decent second-row seating for the friends who pick up the tab sometimes, and an awful third row that you can banish the worst people to. Like Deborah or Mitch, god, I hate that guy.
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
The Jeep Grand Cherokee L has seating for up to seven people. If you choose a second-row bench seat – you get a pair of seats in the back. Even though we like the people in the second row, we’re going to force three in there because we don’t like them that much. Up front, you’ll enjoy about 40 inches of headroom and more than 41 inches of legroom. Nice.
In the second row, your passengers can get up to nearly 40 inches of headroom and almost 40 inches of legroom – so far, so good. Those pricks in the third row, however, get just 37 inches of headroom and only 30 inches of legroom. Oooooh man, Tim is going to hate that!
The 2021 Toyota Highlander
While I appreciate what the Jeep has to offer, I’ll tell you right now that Toyota wins this. For starters, you can load eight people into the Highlander thanks to a third-row bench seat that’s available. So not only can you pack three sad-sacks into the second row of this SUV, but you also get to sammich some dumb bastard into the middle of the third row!
Up front, you’ll enjoy up to 41 inches of headroom (if you don’t get a model with a moonroof) and 42 inches of legroom – fantastic! Those jags in the second row will have about 39 inches of headroom and 41 inches of legroom, which is a bit more spacious than I’d like to see, but it’s fair. But the third row – oh the third row! The miserable sods you toss back there will get just 36 inches of headroom and 27 inches of legroom. TWENTY-SEVEN! Unless one of your friends is a gelatinous cube or a tiny baby, they’re going to hate it – and I love it.
Let Your Inner-Sadist Shine
So what’s the winner here? Well, it’s certainly not your friends, but they knew the risks when they made the mistake of talking to you in the first place. For my money, if you hate your friends as much as I hate your friends, then you’re going to want to get the Toyota Highlander. With just 27 inches of legroom in the third row, you’d be lucky to fit a delicious baguette back there, let alone a human being with all of its bones.
Editor’s Note: Several of us are actually friends with the writer outside of the workplace, and we’re hurt to our core to see our names in this piece. Tim, in particular, thought they were closer than that. However, this does explain what Von Gourdboddum often writes in birthday cards, as well as the series of dead pigeons he mailed to Keith throughout the month of April. Thank you.