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Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo vs. Limited vs. Altitude

1. Overview

As of today, in the year of 2013, the Grand Cherokee has a Laredo, Limited, and an Overland model as far as the base model consumer vehicles go. But into this year and much further into future years, there is going to be an introduction of a Trailhawk model and also an SRT8 model that will give the Grand Cherokee's regular lineup a run for its money. The 2011-2013 model Laredo comes in 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrain and will be pretty much the entry level for anything dealing with the Grand Cherokee lineup. This model will come with a 290 hp V6 or Pentastar engine that's kind of quiet but has a little kick to it, an 8-speed automatic transmission, 17-18 inch wheels, keyless start, keyless entry, and a 5-inch touch screen. Just plain out basic but still with the Jeep capabilities that the other models have.

Jeep introduced the Grand Cherokee in 1993 as a 1993 model in the vehicle lineup, which was aimed at the urban market. The Grand Cherokee has three models that have had our customers calling and coming by to see what the differences are, and decisions will be harder to make. Jeep has been known as the most capable and versatile all around when it comes to making a decision for a sport utility vehicle, and recently, just in the 2011 year, they have outdone themselves once again.

1.1. Introduction

The Laredo is Jeep's base model and therefore has the lowest price tag. It is the best option for a consumer that does not want any frills or extra luxury features and just wants a really nice, basic car. It's important to keep in mind, however, that this is still a Grand Cherokee and a vehicle that comes with a good amount of power and off-road ability compared to other SUVs out there. With the combination of a V6 engine and an optional AWD, the Laredo is capable of doing most light to moderate off-roading tasks. The Laredo gets the best mileage of the three trims at 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, thanks to its lighter weight compared to the other models. Consumers that do not want an AWD, the V6 can be replaced with a fuel-efficient V6 diesel with the same power but better fuel economy. Diesel fuel may be less readily available, but the cost of spending less at the pump may be worth it for some.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the top-selling vehicles of all time. The 2015 model has its own unique style, and with 4 different trims to choose from (Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit), it's very possible that a potential buyer will get overwhelmed from all the options. The regular consumer will be most interested in the Laredo, Limited, and new Altitude edition, and the following will help to decide between the three. This essay will go over the key differences and similarities between the Laredo, Limited, and Altitude trims to give the buyer a better idea of what they would be the most interested in.

1.2. Key Differences

The differences between these models are what cause the largest amount of confusion. This is because all three models have various option packages available that open up the possibility of a Laredo being more desirable than a Limited or an Altitude being more feature-rich than a Limited. Quite possibly the key difference would be what is standard between the models and their option packages. The Laredo is a base model and available with very few option packages. When comparing to a Limited, the Laredo has incurred very incremental changes across the various model years. A Limited is dressed up more so than its Laredo counterpart with use of exterior/interior trims to differentiate the two. The key difference being what comes standard as mentioned earlier. The Laredo has limited options and must add certain options (at a higher cost) due to an option package prerequisite. An example would be a Laredo that does not have an All-Weather Capability Group but has an option for a Trailer Tow Group. This would be impossible on a Limited which forces the purchase of the All-Weather Capability Group with the Trailer Tow Group. This must be carefully considered when purchasing a Laredo or Limited in order to reach the desired feature set. The Altitude model has been compared to a Laredo with X package as it uses the Laredo as a platform for the late introduction of the Altitude package. This results in the vehicle being more up to date than most Laredos and this is reflected in the features that can be achieved with a Laredo X model. The Altitude in the same retrospect cannot be compared st. The Laredo is a base model and available with very few option packages. When comparing to a Limited, the Laredo has incurred very incremental changes across the various model years. A Limited is dressed up more so than its Laredo counterpart with use of exterior/interior trims to differentiate the two. The key difference being what comes standard as mentioned earlier. The Laredo has limited options and must add certain options (at a higher cost) due to an option package prerequisite. An example would be a Laredo that does not have an All-Weather Capability Group but has an option for a Trailer Tow Group. This would be impossible on a Limited which forces the purchase of the All-Weather Capability Group with the Trailer Tow Group. This must be carefully considered when purchasing a Laredo or Limited in order to reach the desired feature set. High Altitude models from 2014.5 and onward are Limited based models and mirror the Limited in features. Step one is to make the correct comparison of a High Altitude to a Limited as many dealers mistakenly compare the High Altitude to a Laredo which results in inaccurate findings. Next difference comes in model year feature restriction. Laredo and Limited availability for the Grand Cherokee has spanned four generation cycles, the ZJ, WJ, WK, and WK2. As new features are implemented into vehicle options, they are typically tested in higher end models due to a feature's futuristic premium appeal. Then once the options have been deemed reliable troops for combat in the age-old engineering question: How do we make this cost effective? Typically the features will trickle down into what is now fleshing out to be a large option set for a Limited and.

1.3. Similarities

The Limited and Laredo both offer an X package. This is a package with exterior and interior upgrades. Essentially, the X package is an upgrade for the Laredo or a downgrade for the Limited in terms of price. The Laredo X will have similar options that the Limited does not have. This would include the 5.7-liter V8 engine, an option for the QD II 4WD system, Hemi engine, 18/59 CD/DVD/MP3/HDD, and 8.4-inch touch screen, capless fuel fill, and a security and convenience group. This is all available for the Laredo X package. Pricing it out, the Laredo X model is actually cheaper than the Limited with the same options. The Limited's X package consists of more black trim throughout the vehicle and changing 18-inch aluminum wheels to 20-inch aluminum wheels. Again, this is an option for the Limited not including the price of the vehicle. Overall, the Laredo X or Limited X package will give the buyer more for less. Both packages are cost-effective in offering more luxurious options with a cheaper base price than what you would pay for each initial model.

The Laredo and Limited packages are more similar than one may think. The Laredo is the base model of the Grand Cherokee, while the Limited is the mid-grade to luxury package. Both models come with a V6 or V8 engine. The V6 3.6-liter engine can get up to 23 miles per gallon on the highway, while the V8 5.7-liter engine has a towing capacity of up to 7,400 pounds. Both models have the option of paying an additional $2,000 for the Quadra-Drive II 4WD system with a two-speed transfer case, hill descent to help off-road capability, and a Select-Train system which provides five intelligent traction control settings for various off-road conditions.

2. Features

The interiors on all models feature a degree of luxury and practicality. The Laredo, being the base model, has premium cloth bucket seats. The Limited model switches these to leather and has the option to add heated and ventilated front seats, with features to heat the steering wheel and all seats for cold weather conditions. The Limited also has the option to add a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, which is similar to the Altitude model. The Altitude has a unique full black leather interior, however, the Limited has a choice of interior colors. All models have a similar rear 60/40 split-folding seat and power outlets with USB charging points. The Limited and Altitude feature a remote start system and smart key with keyless entry.

Exterior features on all models include Jeep's classic seven-slot vertical grille and round headlamps, which are just a few of the elements that keep this design rooted in tradition. Further features include a large rear spoiler, privacy glass, and heated mirrors. The Limited adds aluminum wheels, fog lamps, dual exhaust, and a choice of paint-matched body cladding for a more upscale look. The Altitude takes the Laredo exterior and adds gloss black details and 20-inch gloss black wheels. The Limited and Altitude have the option to add a power liftgate.

2.1. Exterior Features

The new generation of Grand Cherokees has new bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and tail lights, and a modernized grille. All improvements that old generations did not have. The Laredo, which is the base model, comes equipped with 17-inch aluminum wheels and the option to upgrade to 18 or 20-inch aluminum wheels. The Limited comes equipped with 18-inch aluminum wheels with the option to upgrade to 20-inch aluminum wheels. The Altitude comes with 20-inch black aluminum wheels and low-profile all-season tires. All wheel types and sizes are new improvements from the last generations of Grand Cherokees. The Altitude is also a new model, it comes with a fully body colored exterior which is optional for the Limited model, but is not available for the Laredo model. Additionally, a sunroof comes standard with the Limited model, and the Altitude comes with a black sunroof. Overall, the Limited and Altitude trims have a sleeker, more modernized look compared to the base Laredo model. The higher trims are essentially trims with more features and style added on to the original Limited model.

2.2. Interior Features

The Laredo model has premium cloth seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. It includes a power 8-way driver seat with 4-way lumbar adjustments. It usually comes with a single-pane sun/moon roof. The Limited model has leather-trimmed seats, heated front and rear seats, and dual-zone temperature controls. It also includes memory for the radio, driver's seat, and exterior mirrors, and a 6-way power front passenger seat. The Limited model commonly has a power liftgate that many consumers find very convenient. The Altitude model comes with a suede and leather seating combination, a 6-way power passenger seat, and a standard sun/moon roof. The Altitude model has some unique interior features which include platinum chrome accents, black wood inlays, and the dark brushed aluminum finishes. All of these features are nice, but it should be noted that the Altitude model comes very close to the price of the Limited model, which has many more features. All 3 models include a 5-inch touch screen control center and a 7-inch instrument cluster, but it can be upgraded to an 8.4-inch touch screen display with Uconnect and SiriusXM radio.

2.3. Safety Features

The first aspect of the safety features that is too overwhelming is the automatic door locks. My understanding was that 4-wheel drive vehicles were supposed to appeal to outdoorsmen who would require fording streams and the like, needing to get out of their car to unlock a gate or open a forest service road. It seems to me that being locked in a running car while some deer hunter is sighting in on you is a bad idea. At least, these are what I assume to be unacceptable scenarios for someone who is reading up on a vehicle that is going to cost $30,000+. I can, though, see the value of auto-locks for someone with children, and so the Jeep safety features seem to be geared towards the family, and I can't fault them for that. All doors unlock when the airbags are deployed, a child in the driver's seat is detected, and the driver's seatbelt reminder are features that apply here. Due to space constraints for the third row, travelling families have no interest in a Laredo. Perhaps the most valuable safety feature of all might be the Adaptive Cruise Control, which detects if you are approaching another vehicle too rapidly and will adjust your speed accordingly. It will even bring you to a complete stop without driver intervention. Unfortunately for Jeep GC buyers, this item is not available on the Laredo. Many of these items are valued higher than most others because they do, in fact, reduce the chance of an incident occurring in the first place. For instance, the blind spot monitoring (which comes bundled with rear cross detection) allows simple, everyday lane changes to be carried out more safely by making the driver aware of vehicles in their blind spot. Finally, the parking sensors and rear camera are not safety features per se, but damage to a stationary object during an attempted parking maneuver is an avoidable accident that will be prevented by having knowledge of the object's location. The sound system is a different story.

3. Performance

In 2014, the Laredo trim level offers two engines: a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, delivering 290 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, and a 5.7-liter V8, providing 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. The V8 engine features a Multi-Displacement System, which deactivates four of the eight cylinders when full power is not needed, increasing fuel efficiency (disabling when all-wheel drive is engaged). The 3.6L V6 is standard on the Laredo and all versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee feature a new 8-speed automatic transmission, replacing the previous 5-speed; the change boosted fuel economy on the V6 model to 17/25 mpg city/highway. The rear-wheel drive V8 has an unchanged fuel economy of 14/22 mpg. The 2014 Limited trim also has two engine options, although it is also offered with an optional 240 hp turbocharged 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6, delivering 22/30 mpg city/highway, surprising power and outstanding fuel efficiency for an SUV. The diesel engine option is now available on all trim levels except the Laredo. The standard V6 and optional V8 engines have an uprated towing capacity of 6200 and 7400 pounds, with an increase of 200 pounds in comparison to the same engines in the Laredo trim level. All of these engine and powertrain options and tweaks are also available on the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 models.

3.1. Engine Options

The new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is offered with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine, the 5.7L V8 HEMI engine, and the new 3.0L EcoDiesel engine. The EcoDiesel engine has 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. This torque allows the diesel to tow 7,400 pounds, giving the Grand Cherokee the best towing capability in its class. It also has a driving range of more than 730 miles. The 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine has up to 24 miles per gallon, and the 5.7L V8 HEMI has a best-in-class driving range of over 600 miles on one tank of gas. All three powertrain options are matched with the 8-speed automatic transmission and the Quadra-Trac II 4x4 system. The new 8-speed transmission provides better fuel economy, quicker acceleration, and smoother shifting. When the Grand Cherokee is equipped with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine, it has a best-in-class 4x4 driving range of more than 600 miles.

3.2. Fuel Efficiency

The Grand Cherokee Laredo's 3.7-liter V6 engine has a fuel rating that fits the SUV into status as a "gas guzzler" according to fueleconomy.gov. This site also points out that while the V8 has a Multiple Displacement System that cuts the engine to four cylinders in order to increase fuel economy, the Hemi is a gas guzzler. The two-wheel-drive V6 is rated 16/21 for the V6 with 2WD and 15/19 for the 4WD. The V8 has a fuel rating of 14/20, and 13/19 for the Altitude edition. The most efficient engine is the 3.0L V6 diesel engine, which is capable of up to 22/30. The types of all engines for the Limited edition are shared with the Altitude, except for the diesel not being an option. The Altitude carries the same ratings as the 2WD Limited for the 3.6L engine. This engine is the most efficient of the three. The Limited edition has a fuel rating of 17/25 for the 2WD V6, 17/24 for the 4WD V6, and 17/24 for the 4x4 5.7L V8. These ratings are an improvement over the Laredo's engine options. The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk and Overland are both 4x4 models only. The Trailhawk has ratings of 18/25 for the 3.6L, 18/25 for the 3.0L diesel, and 14/22 for the 5.7L V8. The Overland is only available with a 3.6L or 5.7L, and both have a rating of 18/25 and 14/22, respectively. The most fuel efficient model is the 2WD 3.6L V6, which can get up to 19/26.

3.3. Handling and Suspension

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee is designed with a high standard in regard to form and function. As such, the vehicle provides minimalist support features in any driving condition, which is the main reason behind it finally having an independent rear suspension. This new suspension system is the next step in automotive evolution, providing significant benefits in overall ride, handling, and steering that significantly affect its performance. This is compared to previous live-axle designs, which are very effective in supporting the weight of heavy loads but are, by their very nature, a compromise in terms of consistent tire contact with varying loads and road surfaces. The new independent rear suspension will automatically adjust the tire angle, ensuring full tread contact in normal driving situations, with the tires moving out of phase in more extreme conditions for increased cornering and acceleration ability. The change in handling dynamics of the new suspension system gives the Grand Cherokee a more European car-like feel, allowing easier and faster driving with increased steering response and precision, requiring less steering input and reducing body roll. This truly is the best handling SUV in its class. Part of the handling equation is the vehicle's ability to stay in control up to the limits of traction provided by the tires before losing stability. All Grand Cherokee models come standard with Electronic Stability Program, which is designed to assist drivers in maintaining control of their vehicles during extreme steering maneuvers.

4. Pricing and Options

The Limited type has more available options compared to the Laredo type. More available options mean that there are also more package types. The package or upgrade cost range is from $150 - $1,895. The pricing is not that expensive compared to the package type price of the Altitude. The Limited type is the only type that has the availability of the 4x4 feature. All three types have their own Luxury package. The Limited type is really focusing on a balance between luxury and performance.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo has the least available packages and upgrades compared to the other two types. Laredo X Package includes the all-new UConnect system and the Sirius XM feature. It also has an all-season capability group and off-road adventure 1. With the Laredo, you can add a sunroof. It is the only available performance luxury feature for the Laredo type. With a price that starts at $33,020, the features that can be added can cost more than $2,000.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo has a base price of $33,020. With the type of features that Laredo has, it is a good buy for over $30,000. Laredo is the second cheapest compared to the other types of Grand Cherokee. The Limited type has a price range of $35,220 - $39,220. It is more expensive compared to Laredo but it is cheaper compared to Overland or the Summit type. The Altitude type has a base price of $35,295. Altitude and Limited types have a very close price range. Altitude is slightly cheaper compared to the Limited type. The price difference between these three types is not that expensive compared to the difference in the features offered. Laredo, having the cheapest price, significantly has fewer features compared to the Limited and the Altitude type.

4.1. Base Price

The base prices for these three different models are all very different. For the Laredo model, the base price starts at about $30,595. The Limited model is a considerable amount more expensive than the Laredo model, with a base price of about $37,895. The Altitude model is priced similar to the Limited model, but is slightly higher at $38,695. This is a considerable amount more than the Laredo model, and just slightly more expensive than the Limited model. From these three different prices, it is obvious to distinguish the price difference and the different tiers that each model is in. The Laredo is in the lowest tier, the Limited is in the middle tier, and the Altitude is in the highest tier. This does not come as a surprise when taking into consideration the standard features and the different options and packages that each model has. The base prices are indicative of what comes with the standard options for each model. For example, the Laredo will have the least amount of standard options, and the Altitude will have the most. This will be shown when comparing the available packages and the upgrade options that are available for each model.

4.2. Available Packages and Upgrades

The popular Altitude is largely maintained as a trim package but adds new components and more color options. The Limited Edition package comes with the same lower front fascia, wheel skins, and mesh grille but adds door handles and a rear step pad. New features include a power sunroof and rear DVD. The Altitude is available in six colors, including our favorites: Deep Cherry Red and Bright Silver. The Super Laredo model combines the features of the Laredo E and the Altitude while adding dual exhaust. Other model 4x2 or 4x4 model options exist for customers who can customize their order online.

All three models come with a lengthy list of optional features. Some are available as stand-alone options, while others come bundled together in package deals. The Laredo is eligible for a Security and Convenience Group that includes a power driver seat, a rearview camera, remote start, and heated front seats. The 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system can be added to the Laredo and the Altitude. The Off-Road Adventure I Group, available on 4WD Laredo models, comes with skid plates, a full-size spare tire, and a variety of off-road driving settings. Four-wheel drive is required for the Off-Road Adventure II Group, which adds enhancements to the already mentioned features.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo vs. Limited vs. Altitude

Discover more about the differences between the Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, Limited, and Altitude: