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Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude vs. Laredo

1. Overview

The Altitude makes a bold statement, while the Laredo is a bit more traditional. Altitude has a sharp exterior look with blacked-out headlight bezels, grill, and a backdrop of gloss black 20-inch alloy wheels. To add to its distinguished style, it is available in an assortment of paint colors to include: Black Crystal, Granite Crystal, Billet, Velvet Red, Rhino, and the limited edition Recon Green. Grand Cherokee Laredo has a more relaxed appearance with the standard bright grill and wheels but is also compatible with a rear security glass and sunroof or skylights. This is available with the Laredo Sun and Wheel package. The Laredo has the same color options but has a brighter palette and does not offer the standout colors of the Altitude such as Rhino and Recon Green. Both models have premium lighting including automatic headlamps, halogen projector fog lights, and LED tail lamps.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude vs Laredo comparison details two of the brand’s most popular models. Each of their styles has a unique appeal to potential buyers. While the Grand Cherokee Laredo is a great entry-level vehicle, the Altitude model has sleek style with an assortment of additional features for a modest increased cost. Each model is available in 4x2 and 4x4 drivelines. This comparison will provide insight into the differences in appearance, performance, and experience, in an effort to properly inform potential buyers so they can make the right decision.

1.1. Introduction

These two models are unique in their own way, but they also have several similarities. For starters, both models seat up to five people. The interior spacing is also quite similar, offering an abundant amount of legroom and headspace. For those who are not concerned with having all-wheel drive, the Altitude and Laredo come in the RWD versions. Both models come with a standard V6 engine, and both offer a V8, a towing package, and an off-road group, which are also some more similarities between the two. The two models also come equipped with the "Uenter-N-Go" passive entry system and remote start, both very useful features. When examining the infotainment systems, the 8.4-inch display screen and the added navigation package are also both available for the two models. Lastly, both the Altitude and Laredo are offered in a large selection of exterior colors with little to no added cost for premium colors.

The fifth generation of Jeep Grand Cherokee is available in a collection of trims, but two of the most attractive trims, Altitude and Laredo, are often confusing to differentiate because of their similarities. Although the two prove to be quite alike, in a closer examination, a potential car buyer can find some key differences between the two.

1.2. Key Differences

Both the Altitude and Laredo trims are a part of the fourth generation of the Grand Cherokee. This generation is more mature and more aerodynamic than former generations. They both have more curve appeal. Laredo is more luxury and appearance based with 17" wheels, and the Altitude is more sporty looking with 20" gloss black aluminum wheels. Phase II of the 3.6L engine has a blacked out rear step pad versus body colored in the Laredo. Both models feature the 3.6L engine, but the Altitude offers more color options. They both feature new bi-xenon headlights, but the Laredo has a standard halogen configuration. The trims differ more in the interior and feature options. The Limited has added more style and design elements to its interior, including a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel. The Altitude features a suede material in its black seats while the Laredo has unique high gloss wood trim. Both models offer a back-up camera and an 8.4 uConnect screen. However, the Altitude features all other interior options decorating in "gloss black" accents giving it more of a "sporty" feel.

2. Performance

The Grand Cherokee Altitude and Laredo both come with the option of two engines. The standard V6 engine produces 295hp/260lb-ft torque and is capable of hitting 19mpg in the city and 26mpg on the highway. The other option is a V8, boasting 360hp/390lb-ft torque and hitting 14mpg in the city and 22mpg on the highway. The fuel-efficient V6 engine and optional diesel engine are available for those who prioritize fuel economy. While considerably less efficient, the significantly increased power of the V8 engine makes it a tempting option. Though used to taking the bigger engine, as a V8 is not available for the Altitude, I may be taking the chance to save some money on gas and sticking with the V6. The Cherokee is known for having solid performance year-round, with its snow mode it will be capable of handling whatever winter will bring. Unfortunately, the Quadra-Trac I system available on the Laredo is not offered on the Altitude. However, the standard Quadra-Trac II is already a considerably smarter system than the throttle-driven AWD vehicles some people think are sufficient. This is due to its ability to direct power to the wheels with the most traction, something that may come in handy when towing, as wheelspin is unproductive when trying to move a heavy load. In the past, the only tow package available for the Grand Cherokee Laredo was a V8-only option. This actually makes the Altitude comparable in this aspect, as it too only offers a tow package with the purchase of a V8 engine. Step your game up, Altitude, get it in gear with a V6 tow package!

2.1. Engine Options

Both the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude and Laredo possess a powerful engine that provides the driver with a great deal of performance for an SUV. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is available with three different engines. The standard engine for the Laredo is a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 290 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Optional for the Laredo and standard for the Altitude is a 5.7-liter V8 rated at 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. This engine features cylinder deactivation to conserve fuel. Optional only for the 4x4 Altitude is a 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine rated at 240 horsepower and an impressive 420 lb-ft of torque. All three engines of the Grand Cherokee match up well in terms of performance and reliability. The optional engines for the Laredo and Altitude are quite pricey but provide the driver with much more performance compared to the standard V6. The turbo diesel engine particularly provides a 30% increase in fuel efficiency and a 25% increase in driving range compared to the V6 engine. For both the Laredo and Altitude, the engine is paired with a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission that provides the driver with seamless acceleration and increases fuel efficiency. The transmission's sophisticated design and advanced electronics will monitor variables such as engine speed, gear selection, and driving conditions in determining shift points and will ensure consistent performance. This is an increase of 2 gears than the previous 2014 transmission, and the added gears allow the transmission to run at a lower RPM for a higher speed on the highway, which provides better efficiency. The improved acceleration and added electronic range select will also allow for manual range selection when desired. Overall, the Grand Cherokee has a top-notch powertrain system.

2.2. Handling and Suspension

Let's discuss the exclusive feature of the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Easton: handling and suspension. Handling is great as it provides support and steering control over your vehicle. It is also important to give a comfortable feeling for the driver in any driving conditions. With all the value of handling, Jeep offers some of the best handling in their 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Jeep claims that driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee is a great experience and it gives the driver confidence to drive in different conditions. The suspension is a critical factor in providing comfortable and great handling. With this experience, Jeep was granted an award for SUV of Texas by the Automotive Writers Association in 2013. With its awards, Jeep claims that the Grand Cherokee Easton is a kind of luxury vehicle and the experience is surprisingly good. However, there is an exclusive feature that is only available for the Limited and Overland types. These vehicles can change the suspension setting, which is the key factor in contacting the tires to the road. Jeep gives the driver a choice to select the suspension setting for different conditions to provide an optimized ride. With luxurious and pleasant ride to off-road readiness, both types are great and the suspension setting can change automatically if necessary for optimal handling and control. The Limited and Overland types have these features, while the Laredo and Altitude have normal modern suspensions, which are still great and provide confidence for the driver to drive in different conditions. But there is one more factor for great handling and control of a vehicle: the steering control. Jeep claims that the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the best in history in terms of giving steering control. This is also important to give the driver confidence in any driving conditions. The Grand Cherokee Easton uses two different types of steering control. The normal one is still great, but for the Limited and Overland types, they use a steering comfortability feature. This type of steering control greatly optimizes handling and control, and this has been confirmed by all tests done by automotive journalists. With all the great handling and control and optimal suspension settings, the Jeep Cherokee offers the best handling experience among other SUVs. Unfortunately, these great features are exclusive to the Limited and Overland types.

2.3. Towing Capacity

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude uses the same 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine as the Laredo. As a result, this gives the Altitude a 2,812kg towing capacity. The Pentastar engine has won the Ward's 10 Best Engines award three years in a row, and the quality of this engine was a major factor in helping Chrysler Group to repay the money owed from bailout loans. No small feat for an engine that's never been force-fed. The award is backed up by the fact that the Pentastar engines are now seen across the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep range. So it's clear that the Altitude has more than enough towing grunt required for a V6 and then some. Executioner of the task is the multi-speed overdrive automatic transmission, which allows for small revs on the highway towing a trailer to improve fuel consumption and provide a quiet ride. Transmission heat and the general wear and tear of towing up to the 2,812kg limit is made easier for the Altitude due to the fact that the transmission is equipped with a towing clutch, which mechanically and electronically increases clutch engagement force, providing enhanced durability and longer life during towing or other demanding conditions.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo was made with an impressive 3.6L V6 engine, which gives it a towing capacity of up to 2,812kg. This means if you ever need to take a trailer to a car show or transport a camper to the beach, the Laredo's towing capacity will be more than enough to handle it. On top of this, the Selec-Terrain traction control system is sure to provide lower-end torque, which gives the Laredo an edge when towing heavy loads over difficult surfaces. Whether it's wet boat ramps or low-traction surfaces or steep inclines, the Laredo's 4WD takes the guesswork out of which settings to use for optimal traction and handling. It's incredibly easy to use, just giving you five settings to choose from. The wheel articulation and suspension also adjust to give the Laredo the best means for moving in and out of tough situations. The transmission will also work with speeding up or slowing down to the throttle input as to not cause gear hunting on varying ascents or descents. Cold conditions are also made easier with the Laredo's fuel-saving feature, since the engine will stay engaged and eliminate freewheeling, helping vehicle speed to be controlled. If the Laredo can't overcome the cold conditions while towing up a snowy hill, it will automatically apply brake and throttle control to keep from dangerous roll back.

3. Features and Technology

Safety Features: Both models have some impressive standard safety features that you don't always see in a base model SUV. They both have a standard 4-wheel traction control system, electronic stability control, and roll mitigation. The safety features on both models are also quite expansive with a driver and front passenger airbag, side curtain airbags for all seats, a driver knee airbag, and a front seat-mounted side airbag. The Altitude has a few added safety features such as a rearview auto-dim mirror, auto-dim headlights, and LED daytime running headlamps. The Altitude and Laredo both have a 4-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but when comparing the full safety feature lists and crash test ratings between the two models, the Altitude is the superior vehicle.

Infotainment System: Although both models have a 6-speaker sound system and a 7-inch touch screen, the Altitude has a much more advanced infotainment system. While the Laredo's radio is basic AM/FM/CD, the Altitude has a 9-amplified speaker system with subwoofer and a 506-watt amplifier, as well as Sirius XM radio and traffic. In addition to the touch screen, the Altitude has dual remote USB ports, a media hub, and an integrated voice command.

Interior Features: Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude is a luxury car more than an SUV. The interior materials and quality are actually quite high for the price of the vehicle. The base model Laredo has a much more simplistic and rugged interior with less premium materials as it is designed to be the more outdoor, rugged, SUV at the cheaper price. Not only does the Altitude have higher quality black leather interior, heated front seats and dual zone climate control that the Laredo also has, it adds features such as a heated steering wheel, power adjustable front seats, a memory system for the driver's seat and radio, a backup camera and rear parking assist. Both models have plenty of space seating 5 passengers with a 60/40 split reclining rear seat and a fold flat rear seat. The Altitude's added technology and comfort features are truly impressive for only about $2000 more than the base model Laredo.

3.1. Interior Features

Whether it goes from base to high end, all Grand Cherokee's come with premium soft touch interior and a great leather wrapping on the steering wheel and shift knob. Higher-end models can come with a panoramic sunroof and the option for the sunroof to take the entire front half of the roof. Wood finish, luxury trim, and Nappa leather can be added for the Overland and Summit models, which can give a wonderful luxurious feel. The SRT model interior features a race-inspired design with all black and carbon fiber finishes with the SRT logo on the steering wheel. Any luxury car enthusiast can be pleased with the various options of interiors offered on the Grand Cherokee.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in various models, and one of the most difficult decisions on which model to choose from just might be the interior features. There are various options on what you can pick and choose for the interior features of your car. The Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in seven different trim variations, ranging from the base Laredo Model to the ultimate performance of the SRT version. Some of the differences in interior features can be minor, such as a door molding or a completely different interior color.

3.2. Infotainment System

The Laredo has the option to equip the Uconnect 8.4A system. If not, it will come with the Uconnect 5.0. The Uconnect 8.4A is similar to the one that is offered in the Altitude, but the 5.0 system comes with a 5-inch touchscreen, integrated voice command, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, and a media hub which includes an SD card, USB port, and auxiliary input. Both systems come with a 6-speaker system, but the base system for the Laredo is the Uconnect 5.0. It can be upgraded to the 8.4A and the 9-speaker system with active noise control and subwoofer.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude offers the Uconnect 8.4A, which includes an 8.4-inch touchscreen, a one-year SiriusXM Satellite Radio subscription, Bluetooth connectivity, and navigation. It has an integrated voice command functionality and the Uconnect system, giving access to information, entertainment, and available navigation features. It also provides Wi-Fi connectivity, which operates up to 150 feet from the vehicle. Its system will give the password to the device(s) when the JGC is turned on.

3.3. Safety Features

Cloth is the standard upholstery for the Altitude, while the Laredo offers cloth or optional leather. The Limited has leather included. The Overland comes with beautiful, sumptuous saddle-color leather. The Summit has two-tone color leather available. All models come with a leather-wrapped shifter and a tilt/telescope steering wheel. The Overland and Summit get a variety of different wood trims. The Altitude and Laredo have silver plastic interior accents, while the Limited has rubbery metallic accents instead of actual metal. The Altitude and Laredo have familiar monochrome electronic vehicle information center and analog gauges. The other models have a fancy customizable graphic display and overlaid analog gauges. All models are extremely well-equipped with automatic windows, locks, and mirrors, A/C, keyless entry, and 3-prong power outlets in the front and rear. The Altitude/Limited have dual automatic climate control and a more useful remote proximity keyless entry, while the Overland/Summit add standard rain-sensing wipers and a power tilt and telescoping steering column.