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Jeep Grand Cherokee: altitude vs. limited

1. Introduction

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a mid-sized sport utility vehicle that has been designed and constructed by Chrysler. The Jeep Grand Cherokee has now reached its fourth generation, and a pair of models within this generation include the Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude and the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. This generation has been produced for the model years of 2011-present. Both of these models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee have significantly contributed to the success and profits that Jeep has accumulated in the past decade from the SUV market. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude provides customers with the option of an affordable yet luxurious SUV, with the starting manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $35,490. This price is comparatively low in comparison to other SUVs in this vehicle segment such as the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited has a MSRP of $35,795, and is similar to the Altitude in terms of luxury and price point. Purchasing the right SUV may be a difficult task for some customers, but one can be assured that whether purchasing the Altitude or the Limited, they are bound to be driving home in a quality vehicle. By comparing the Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude and the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, one will be able to determine which vehicle better suits his/her interests and become more familiar with what Jeep has to offer to its customers in this ever-evolving market. Comparing the vehicles' price, interior and exterior features, engine performance, and fuel economy will provide a good understanding in determining whether the Altitude or the Limited is the appropriate SUV.

2. Features of Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is equipped with a driver and passenger side airbag option. These airbags are under recall as debris corruption during the airbag assembly process can cause a possibly hazardous failure. A free replacement is offered by Chrysler for WJ model Grand Cherokees. This vehicle also has an Occupant Restraint Controller (ORC) which is a diagnostic module for the airbag and seatbelt system. Any airbag seatbelt system failure will cause a fault code to be displayed in the vehicle's instrument cluster. A malfunctioning ORC can disrupt the airbag and seatbelt deployment in an impact.

These vehicles have a window regulator design with two small cables and a plastic wheel which is used to raise and lower the window in the door. This design is known for catastrophic failure. If one has a window that will not raise or lower and they can hear the motor working, the window regulator has probably failed. A WJ with automatic temperature controls can sometimes have a problem with air not coming out of the dash vents, and the defaulting of the AC to the defrost mode. This problem is almost always caused by a vacuum leak, and the source of the leak can be found in any of the small diameter plastic lines coming off of the intake manifold. High fan speed settings becoming inoperable is most likely due to a failed solid-state resistor which is located behind the glovebox and can be changed relatively easily.

Fog lamps have their own hieroglyphs at non-US-spec dimmer move (unusual), and some of them are non-US-spec as well. Diesel models equipped with headlamp washers have a different multi-function stalk, but later models incorporate this feature on the blinker stalk. The export model WJ uses the switch that would normally be used as the dimmer to control the headlamp washers. A standard misfire for the instrument cluster lamp self-diagnostic test on all WJs will appear as a tachometer reading of 0, and no code present. WJs have a single fuse for both heated mirror dillo and the power seats, and these are two common unrelated problems that will cause many people to have to change this fuse.

2.1. Exterior design

Body-colored fascias and the rear lower fascia step pad create a modern, yet aggressive design. The signature seven-slot grille is flanked by bi-xenon headlamps with signature LED daytime running lamps. The headlamps are also Smartbeam, which ensures the high beams are on only when headlamps detect another vehicle in their path. New LED fog lamps in front are included as a standard feature. Taillamps are now LED and the liftgate includes a large, aerodynamic spoiler. All of this is set off by a set of 20-inch, five-spoke wheels with tech gray painted pockets, outside rearview mirrors with memory and turn signal indicators. Completing the distinctive exterior is an Altitude badge on the rear. Externally, the Altitude is not only aggressive, but also functional. A power liftgate makes access to the rear storage area easy. Roof rails are standard, but the Altitude is also available with an optional package that includes a CommandView dual-pane sunroof and Black Suede interior headliner. Privacy glass is included on the rear doors, rear quarter and liftgate windows. All of these elements improve on the Grand Cherokee's already sleek and aerodynamic profile. Pretty comprehensive stuff inside and out.

2.2. Interior amenities

The interiors of both the models are quite similar in various aspects, let's talk about the Altitude first. It has black leather seats with suede inserts. The front seats are heated and the driver's seat is power adjustable. The steering wheel is leather-wrapped and has audio controls. It has enhanced SIRIUS satellite radio, Bluetooth with voice command, and streaming audio. The Limited, on the other hand, has regular leather seats (no suede inserts), and the steering wheel and shift knob are also leather-wrapped. The Limited version offers a little extra with the dual-zone automatic temperature control which is not available in the Altitude. Both versions have ample cargo space, with features like the 60/40 rear folding seats which allow for an increase in storage space. On a quick note, it is worth mentioning here that the Altitude is not provided with a spare tire, it has an inflation kit instead, something you might want to consider. The powertrain options on both versions mentioned in section 1.3 are consistent with each other and have no bearing on the difference in the features. Other higher-end features that are consistent with both versions include the power liftgate, keyless entry and start, and the security alarm. In summary, the major differences in the amenities do not come up unless when considering a decision between the regular Laredo, and taking a step up to the Altitude or Limited. In this case, with all factors compared, the choice between the Altitude and Limited will really come down to the preference of a more rugged or more classy look. A few minor convenience features and the potential for a better deal on the Laredo X if the Altitude model is still unavailable from the dealer lot inventory may also sway the decision.

2.3. Performance capabilities

Now, performance capabilities are always a critical measure of a vehicle, and this Jeep holds nothing back. One of the specific performance enhancements to the Altitude is the lower rear axle gear ratio of 3.45:1, which makes for improved acceleration compared to previous models. This, in turn, results in better fuel efficiency. Moving from the performance suspension of the Altitude to the off-road capable Quadra-Trac II system of the Limited, we see an increase in both off-road and on-road performance capabilities. As I quickly go back to my car analogy, it is like moving from a BMW 3 series to a BMW X5. The Quadra-Trac II system provides full-time active 4-wheel drive, which will engage when tire slippage is detected. It is not just any 4-wheel drive; it also includes the Select-Terrain system, which allows the driver to choose the drive mode depending on the conditions, with settings for sand, snow, mud, and rock. This system operates through a two-speed transfer case, which has a low-range gear reduction capability for more off-road situations. The Selec-Terrain traction management system allows for different settings depending on the conditions. By choosing the Auto, Snow, Sand, or Mud settings, torque is being transferred through a two-speed single-speed transfer case, automatically distributing 100% of available torque to the axle with the rear Electronic Limited Slip Differential (more on this later, let's just say it's a good thing). This happens without driver intervention and selects the 4WD LOW setting to provide higher torque. The Rock setting is where it gets very interesting. By shifting to this mode, the transfer case will interact with the braking system and a 50/50 torque split to apply the maximum amount of torque. This helps the driver to tackle very steep rock and gravel-covered terrain. Coming back from this setting, hold the SHIFT on your way back to park and make sure you disable the air suspension before you drive on a flat surface. We will get to that. Finally, with the off-road package, there is the hill ascent and descent control to make those tricky slope situations a lot easier. Now that's quite a bit of capability, and it is pretty obvious that the Limited shines in off-road performance.

3. Features of Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited

3.2. Interior amenities The Grand Cherokee Limited pushes the bar even higher with a new Capri leather interior that includes heated front and second-row seats. A CommandView® dual-pane sunroof eliminates the traditional cross-car beam, creating an open view above passengers' heads. A new 8.4-inch Uconnect™ radio includes navigation and SIRIUS Traffic™. A 9-speaker system with a subwoofer projects premium sound from an amp that delivers a powerful 506 watts of sound.

3.1. Exterior design The front of the Grand Cherokee Limited has a clean, refreshed fascia with integrated fog lamps and available Bi-Xenon High-Intensity Discharge headlamps. The standard wheel design is an 18" polished aluminum wheel. The side profile of the vehicle is defined by a bright chrome window surround that showcases an available open-air system with a dual-pane sunroof. At the rear, the Grand Cherokee's new signature tail lamp helps to create a stunning visual and a memorable look.

The Grand Cherokee Limited has a sleeker, more sophisticated look than the Grand Cherokee Altitude and carries extra features and more advanced technology. It contains a 3.6L V6 engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, and 5-star safety and ANCAP. The main differences between the Limited and Altitude are the additional features and the designs of the two models. The interior and exterior of the Limited blows the Altitude out of the water. The Grand Cherokee Limited takes the refined style, premium features, and vehicle capability customers crave and adds to it with elevated high-end interior and exterior finishes and an impressive inventory of innovative technology and advanced safety features.

3.1. Exterior design

Now with the appearance of both the Limited and High Altitude model, the choice is completely up to the user. Whether they prefer a more premium and luxurious look or a sporty, aggressive look. Both options are completely different and are appealing in their own ways. Step A to test drive both and see how they feel on the road.

High Altitude. Now where do I start. This thing is blacked out everywhere. From the black gloss accents that give it an aggressive look to the body-color fascias and the 20-inch black aluminum wheels. This is the time where a picture can say a thousand words, so take a moment to stare at it. (link to picture) This is a complete opposite compared to the Limited. Everything was chrome-coated? Make it black, and the High Altitude was designed after it. Now the Limited and High Altitude model have similar headlamps, but the HA model comes with the Bi-xenon headlamps and the LED daytime running lamps. As for badging, the seven-slot grille and the liftgate, there are no changes from the Limited. But as we get to the sides of the vehicle, this is where it gets distinctive. The molding on the wheel flares and the lower sides of the Limited are gone, and replaced are body-color lower panels for a more streamlined look. As a package, it changes the look of the whole vehicle. But it doesn't stop there. The rear is accented with a black gloss step pad and dual exhaust tips that give it a more refined look from the back compared to the Limited. This is more of a racey look in my perspective. And the wheels, 20-inch black aluminum. Only one choice, and it fits perfectly with the blacked-out theme.

Sides of the vehicle seem pretty much the same compared to the Laredo model, with the only difference being the Limited badge at the door. But when you finally unlock the rear of the vehicle, there will be a power liftgate waiting. A modern feature in most new SUVs and luxury sports wagons that actuates with a press of a key, a button inside the cabin, or just a simple lift. Finally, the Limited comes with 18-inch aluminum wheels. The wheels themselves give the vehicle a completely different look compared to the Laredo model, and the customer has the choice of four sets, standard with 18-inch Michelin all-season tires or three different 20-inch wheel options. This is a big change compared to the Laredo, and the customer will get a whole new feel when trying to choose between which wheels to get.

Premium is the word that comes to mind when checking out the Grand Cherokee Limited design-wise. Well, shit, I'm done. Kidding. Anyway, the Limited comes with upgrades such as a new Capless Fuel-Fill system and Bi-xenon HID headlamps that give it a sharp and distinctive look compared to the base Laredo. A premium model car should have some premium-looking headlights, and the Limited has it with the Bi-xenon HID headlamps. The Capless Fuel-Fill system is a convenient upgrade, found usually in high-end luxury cars that allows the car to fill up on gas without a fuel cap. This feature is semi-useful but hey, it looks cool. The lower fascia comes with some chrome touches and the classic, iconic seven-slot Jeep grille gets an upgrade with a bright, modern look compared to Laredo's Liquid Graphite accents.

3.2. Interior amenities

In addition to the sunroof, the Limited features a 12-Way Power Adjustable Front Driver (and Passenger) Seat, which includes 4-Way Power Lumbar Adjust for the Driver Seat. As mentioned, the Limited is a 4WD vehicle and it comes with Quadra-Trac II 4WD System which is an automatic system that offers 2WD whenever possible to increase fuel economy while still remaining light off-road and it enables drivers an option of 4WD Low in Park and Neutral when off-road. The Select-Terrain System is essentially an optimization system for the 4WD. The Limited comes with Leather Trimmed Seats and the option of getting a two-toned interior with a piano black trim finish.

Now we shall compare all the additional details. If desired, the Altitude and Limited share the same 3.6L V6 24 Valve VVT engine (Altitude has a Base Limited Engine), 8-Speed Transmission. However, the Limited has a dual-pane panoramic sunroof which adds effect to the interior cabin.

Both the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited and the Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude have a 3.6L V6 24V VVT engine, but the performance is the most different when it comes to acceleration. The reason the performance was said to be the most different is because the Altitude is a 2WD and the Limited is a 4WD vehicle. For the purpose of this research, fuel economy is not a significant factor as the cost per year of the Altitude was only an additional.

3.3. Performance capabilities

The new Altitude now has Engine Stop/Start technology to improve fuel economy. This system improves fuel economy by up to 15% by turning off the engine when the vehicle is stopped in traffic. The system functions automatically, and in advanced mode, it turns off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop and starts back up when the brake pedal is released. This system can be controlled via a switch located above the audio unit. To further improve fuel economy, the 3.6L V6 and 5.7L V8 motors receive Eco Mode with changes made to the transmission shift patterns and throttle. With future government regulations regarding fuel economy becoming stricter, this is a feature that will benefit the new Jeep for years to come. Finally, the new V6 and V8 will be equipped with an oil pump and a 50-volt alternator, which can make the engine turn off and on while on the move to either save energy or run the engine in a more efficient mode.

To enhance the driving experience compared to the Limited, the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude serves the same engine options but is refined to enhance fuel economy. It features the 3.6L Pentastar VVT V6, which now includes Engine Stop/Start, and the 5.7L VVT V8, which now includes Fuel Saver Technology that shuts down 4 cylinders when they are not needed to enhance fuel efficiency. The V6 motor is rated at 9.9L/100km hwy and the V8 at 10.6, compared with the Limited at 10.2 and 15.6 for the V6 and V8, respectively. All the options benefit from the 8-speed automatic transmission, compared to the 5-speed in the Limited, and an upgrade to Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, or Quadra-Drive II 4x4 systems for better traction on and off the road. Additionally, a Quadra-Lift air suspension allows for the selection of 5 height settings for the best drivability and fuel economy, while the Limited only has one setting all around.

3.4. Additional features

Bi-Xenon High Intensity Discharge headlamps - Not only do these headlamps provide a stronger, more consistent light source than traditional headlamps, but they are also automatic and turn on when entering a dark location such as a tunnel and turn off when the vehicle is turned off. This feature makes for one less thing the driver has to remember to do and will also save wear on the headlamp bulbs.

Rain sensing windshield wipers - Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited's windshield wipers have a feature that will automatically turn on the wipers and adjust the frequency based on the amount of rain that hits the windshield. This is helpful for instances where there is a brief shower on a dry day or times where driving through heavy and light rain is intermittent.

Power adjustable rear liftgate - You can open or close it from the driver's seat or the rear cargo area. This may not sound very impressive, but if you live in a location where you are required to park on a steep incline, it is very helpful to be able to open the liftgate and take items out without everything rolling out onto the ground. Also, if you are scraping ice or snow off the vehicle, rather than walking around to the liftgate to lift it open, you can do all the scraping from the rear and just open the liftgate when you are finished.