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Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude vs. Altitude X

1. Introduction

Historically, we have come to know the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee to have a variety of package levels. Such packages include the Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit in recent years. With the introduction of the "Altitude" Grand Cherokee in 2014, the trim package offered unique features usually not seen on Grand Cherokees with rock-bottom pricing. There was plenty of value in purchasing the Altitude Grand Cherokee, between the 18" gloss black wheels, gloss black badging, and various other unique features not included in other packages. Fast forward to 2017 and we now have an "Altitude" Grand Cherokee offered in addition to the standard package levels. After various customers have expressed their confusion between the standard Altitude and other luxury Grand Cherokee packages, we hope to eliminate any confusion between different iterations of the Altitude Grand Cherokee.

2. Key Differences

So, what's the difference between the Altitude and Altitude X? Perhaps the biggest difference is the size of the wheel. The Altitude comes standard with 20-inch blacked out wheels but has the option of 20-inch platinum rims, while the Altitude X goes beast with 20-inch Granite Crystal wheels. (If you live in a cold area, these just might be a PITA) There are plenty of "little" differences as well. The Altitude has an 8.4-inch Uconnect screen with a standard radio. The Altitude X has the 9-speaker Amplified sound with subwoofer and a 506-watt amplifier kept behind a color touch screen display. That isn't all on the radio though; the Altitude X defaults with SXM Guardian, Traffic and Travel Link with a 5-year subscription. Both trims have pretty much the same systems for controls which aren't located on the wheel but behind the shifter. The Altitude X defaults as a five-seater using the bulk of the interior space, while the Altitude goes 4-seater for the seat trim and keeps premium cloth seats. The Altitude X has an option of premium cloth seats but sticks with leather as the default. The interior differences are very small. However, the interior style and design are subtle between these two trims. (Hint: the sound system) Both the Altitude and Altitude X have the standard 3.6-Pentastar V-6 engine. This engine is a single overhead cam, 24-valve engine with dual variable valve timing producing 295 HP and 260 pound-feet of torque. This is where the Altitude stops; there's no option in engine when sticking with the Altitude. Now the Altitude X moves up to the plate with an option of the 5.7 Hemi engine. This is the same MDS engine that has been used for the Jeep for many years and has a bad rep for having coolant leaking problems. This engine is dual overhead cam with variable valve timing, taking 16 spark plugs and produces 360 HP and 390 pound-feet of torque. Ideal? Yes. But the aforementioned engine problems have been heavy. Altitude X holds the 5.7 as the default engine and no longer provides an option for running the 3.6. This is where both trims are capable of using Select-Terrain, which is the real reason for buying a Jeep that isn't money concerned. Both trims again are capable of using either the 4x4 or the Quadra-Trac II. Altitude X doesn't come with the HDC or the Land Start Off feature but features the many capabilities of the Selec-Speed Control. This, in turn, gives the limited power gone over steep grades or using downshift with the capability of vehicle speed. Now with Hemi, this gradient power is exceeded. Basically, what that means is the Selec-Speed would allow less acceleration from the vehicle speed, giving ideal control of descension. Coming out on top, the Selec-Speed is available for both ascension and descension where the Quadra-Trac II low gear is made for off-road requirement. But suffice to say that it won't be long before you're third-party modding these features onto your vehicle.

2.1. Exterior Design

The most notable differences between the Altitude and the Altitude X reside in their use of black and chrome accents. The Altitude uses a gray black grille with platinum chrome accents and gloss black bezels. The Grand Cherokee letters and all wheels arrive in a regular silver color. This is opposed to the Altitude X, which uses a Dark Charcoal color background on its black grille. There are Gloss Black accents throughout the car, giving it a more appealing look. Noticeable in this model, it also has 20-inch Gloss Black aluminum wheels, making those tires look much nicer on this model. Then, this model comes with Dual Bright Exhaust Tips giving it a much more prominent look on the back end of the vehicle. The rest of this comparison can be viewed in favor of the Altitude X trim. It features Black Premium Light Valance, these looking both sporty and durable. This trim has a feature labeled Bi-Xenon HID Headlamps with no other higher priced package. These headlamps have an automatic leveling system and an LED daytime running headlamps which is great for safety precautions. Another unique feature of this model includes the Power Sunroof which other models provide as standard equipment, and lastly the Altitude X model comes with the option of a 5.7-liter V8 MDS VVT Engine. All of these features definitely separate this model from the Altitude at an affordable price.

2.2. Interior Features

Under the hood of both Altitude trims, there is a standard limited slip differential and a single engine option: the award-winning 3.6L Pentastar V6 paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The Laredo E is not equipped with Jeep's Select-Terrain Traction Management System or the standard Selec-Speed Control that is included on the Altitude V8. Both of these systems contribute to the capability of the vehicle under varying weather and road conditions, as well as off-road. The V6 and V8 powertrains are both available on Altitude X. This is a divergence from Altitude, which is only available with the V6 and contributes to a $200 pricing difference between the two Altitude trims. The V6 is the standard engine option on both Altitude trims. The Altitude V8 is the only model in the Altitude family that has the Quadra Trac II 4x4 system. Both Altitude models have a 4x4 option available.

2.3. Performance and Engine Options

Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude and Altitude X are alike in every facet; they might have fewer differences. Up to now, the only difference is the engine inside the car. Altitude is equipped with a 3.6L V6 engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission that produces a horsepower of 295 @ 6400rpm and a torque of 260lb-ft @ 4000rpm. It allows the car to reach a fuel economy of 19mpg in urban regions and 26mpg on highways. Altitude X also has a 3.6L V6 engine, but it has a more advanced Geared Type Transmission with 8 speeds. It has an enormous selection of plug and play on-the-go mapping and 8 possible gear ratios controlled manually by paddle shifters and fully electronic range select. It allows the horsepower to rise up to 300HP and 6,350RPM, gaining a torque of 260lb-ft peaking at a higher 4,800RPM. It is slightly more efficient with the fuel, estimated at 19mpg in urban regions and 26mpg on highways, the same as Altitude. Considering the performance of the two different engines, the result would be a slight advantage for Altitude X.

3. Similarities

Safety features are similar in both Altitude models for this truck, offering parallel and perpendicular park assist. They also have lane departure warning with lane keep assist and advanced brake assist. The final similarity in safety is the full speed forward collision warning with active braking. These are all great features that make parking and driving in traffic or on the highway much safer. This particular feature set is almost identical on the two models. Technology and infotainment is another category where the two vehicles are extremely similar, both equipped with Uconnect 4C NAV with 8.4 inch display. This comes with GPS navigation, one year of service to Sirius XM radio and integrated voice command with Bluetooth. Both vehicles also have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Dual zone automatic climate control and heated seats are also features that come standard in both models. A heated steering wheel also comes standard in both models, ensuring that one's hands will never be cold, provided they put the heat on. The final tech feature these vehicles have is the universal garage door opener, for those of you who hate fiddling with those tiny buttons trying to get your garage opener to work.

3.1. Safety Features

There is driver assistance and parallel/perpendicular park assist features, both come in handy especially for less experienced drivers or for those who need to get in and out of tight parking spots regularly. These features help you stay in your lane and will automatically guide you into a parking spot, and it will alert you if you are getting too close to another vehicle. This takes something that can be quite simple for experienced drivers, yet difficult for inexperienced drivers and takes the stress away. Loading up the groceries and kids and forcing them to walk further because of parking location is never fun, so this feature makes parking and spacing at the local grocery store as simple as it could be.

The safety features between the two models are identical. Both the Altitude and the Altitude X come equipped with blind spot monitoring and rear-cross detection. This feature comes in handy when you are trying to change lanes or moving in reverse. The system will ping when a vehicle is detected that is moving in the same direction or that is stationary in the rear cross path. This warns the driver and avoids potential accidents that could have been costly. This feature ensures a safety cover all over the car rather than just the front and rear.

3.2. Technology and Infotainment

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude X will be quite similar to the regular Altitude. It will feature the same interior, powertrain, and drivetrain. The main differences between the two is that the Altitude X will feature a gas-charged hood strut, roof rails, leather seats, and a choice in 4x4 systems (the QuadraTrac I will be replaced with QuadraTrac II). It is also said that there will be more color choices for the X model. The MSRPs for the two different models of the Altitude can vary. The regular Altitude could have an MSRP of $36,445 to $37,940 depending on if you are selecting a 4x4 model. The X model will start at an MSRP of $38,845 to $40,340. So only at a bit more of a cost, you will have a better Altitude. Acknowledge that these are two separate models, the Jeeps are quite similar. With regards to the technology and infotainment features for both Altitude models, features are comparable. They both have 8.4-inch touchscreens that come with SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth capabilities, and available navigation systems. New to the 2015 Altitude and Altitude X models is a UConnect software update for the media center, including information on climate, controls, and driver comfort which is simplistically displayed in three sections on the touchscreen. Another new feature for these models would include a 5-year SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. The Jeeps have optional single or double-pane sunroofs and will all feature these new technology features. Any conveyance received during the time frame will receive the balance of the vehicle's 5-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty and 24/7 Roadside Assistance if equipped with the service.

4. Conclusion

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Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude vs. Altitude X

To explore more about the differences and features of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude and Altitude X, check out the following articles: