Which 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Is Right for You?
Jeep is a brand with a rich history and a longstanding reputation for rugged vehicles that are ready for just about anything you can throw at them. The tricky part is that many of its vehicles try to be everything to everyone.
There are a staggering 11 different Jeep Grand Cherokees out there for 2018. That’s before you even get into its smaller sibling, the Cherokee, or the choice between front-wheel vs. all-wheel drive. So even if you’ve said to yourself, “I want a Jeep Cherokee of some sort,” you’re still looking at literally dozens of options. But what are the differences between them all?
The Laredo is the base-model Jeep Grand Cherokee. A starting MSRP of $30,595 gets you a 3.6L V6 that has 295hp and uses 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. The whole thing rolls on 17×8-inch aluminum wheels and a two-wheel-drive drivetrain. The Laredo doesn’t have an awful lot in the way of added features, and you can’t even really add much to it. Still, it has dual-zone temperature control, audio controls on the steering wheel, and a Uconnect 7.0 media system. Keyless entry and a backup camera come standard. If you want all-wheel drive, the price bumps up to $32,895, and the mileage goes down to 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway.
As the name suggests, the Laredo E is a slight step up with a base MSRP of $32,895. That extra cash doesn’t get you much except a few extra colors and the ability to buy more optional features. Chrome add-ons, larger wheels, a trailer tow hitch, heated seats, and more become available. The problem is that you’re also going to be paying for those things individually after you’ve already paid two grand to bump up to the Laredo E. Similar to the Laredo, bumping the price up to $34,895 gets you 4WD.
The Altitude is a limited edition offering for the year. Luckily, it doesn’t represent a huge price increase at $36,690. The wheels get a bump up to 20-inch x 8-inch gloss black aluminum, and more color options are in the mix. The interior features an anodized gunmetal finish. The seats are an all-black Capri leather-trimmed affair with perforated suede inserts. The “Security and Convenience Group” of features comes standard with the Altitude. This includes a power liftgate, remote start, a universal garage door opener, a comprehensive security alarm, and more. For $38,990, you can snag a 4×4 version.
Next up is the Limited, starting at $38,195. The limited drops back down to 18-inch wheels and loses the “security and convenience” features but re-opens some of the comfort and cosmetic option packages. A memory system for the driver’s seat, mirrors, and radio add convenience, as does a remote start.
The Limited also lets you choose to upgrade to a 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 or a 5.7L HEMI V8 engine, for a surcharge. All of the seats are heated on the Limited, as is the steering wheel. The upgrade from Uconnect 7.0 to Uconnect 8.4 is optional here instead of standard. But you also have the option to include a rear seat dual-screen Blu-Ray/DVD player, if you want. The limited is all about safety and comfort.
One of the biggest differences here is the 4×4 version. In keeping with some of the other trims, the upgrade is $2,000. But the Limited introduces a more advanced all-wheel system than the others. The previous trims employ the Quadra-Trac II 4WD System. The Limited’s uses a variety of sensors to track possible tire slippage and re-route available torque to the axle with the most traction. The result is a powerful traction control system that can handle nearly any terrain.
Starting at $42,195, the Sterling Edition is another limited offering. Like with any Jeep special edition, you get special badges and accents. A gloss black grille and platinum daylight opening moldings help it stand out in a crowd. Drivers will also find two-toned leather-trimmed seats and instrument panel inside, as well as a dual-pane panoramic sunroof. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection come standard.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is a little pricier at $43,295, and many of the creature comforts are stripped down. But where you’re going, you don’t need them. The Trailhawk is optimized for off-roading. As such, you can only get the Trailhawk as a 4×4. You have the option of springing for a 3.0L EcoDiesel V6, like with the Limited. The Trailhawk also comes with the Quadra-Drive II 4WD system to bolster the Quadra-Trac II System. This system has an electronic rear limited-slip differential that transfers all available torque away from a slipping wheel for the greatest traction possible. You get heated front and rear seats and steering wheel, but you also get ventilated seats in the front. Uconnect 8.4 is standard.
The Overland may sound like it’s ready to charge into battle, but this Jeep’s strength lies more in its tech and towing. You get an 8.4-inch touchscreen, a 9-speaker Alpine sound system, and even rain-sensing windshield wipers. The Overland is $44,995 for the 4×2 or $47,995 for 4WD. The 4×4 edition also comes standard with Jeep’s “Trailer Tow Group IV.” This includes a 7- and 4-pin wiring harness, a class IV receiver hitch, a compact, lightweight spare tire, a 20″x6″ aluminum spare wheel, and a heavy-duty engine cooling system designed to vent excess heat generated from pushing the Overland hard.
The High Altitude version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee keeps the love of black found on the regular Altitude trim, but ups the luxury level to new heights. This jeep comes with 20-inch low-gloss granite crystal wheels, as well as low-gloss granite crystal accents across the grill, tail lights, and rear fascia. It also comes with black chrome dual exhaust tips. On the inside, drivers will find a dual-pane sunroof. In terms of tech, the High Altitude has Uconnect 4C Nav with an 8.4-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, and GPS navigation. There’s also the ability to upgrade to a high-performance audio system that surrounds you with 19 speakers and active noise cancellation. The MSRP for the 4×2 version is $47,490 and the 4×4 comes in at $50,490.
At $50,995, the Summit is the top trim you can get in a 4×2 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and it’s all about luxury. With features like advanced brake assist, lane departure warnings, and parallel and perpendicular park assist, you might feel like this Jeep just about does half the driving for you. The Summit has an exclusive exterior look, as well as a leather-wrapped interior that’s also exclusive but optional. A standard 19-Speaker Harman Kardon audio system might see you sneaking out to the driveway to listen to music. The 4×4 version of the Summit checks in at $53,995 and comes with the same trailer tow feature package and engine cooling that the Overland does.
SRT stands for “Street and Racing Technology,” and Jeep is claiming that this SUV is ready for the track. This Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with a 6.4L HEMI V8 capable of 475hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. Of course, that comes at a cost. The SRT only gets 13mpg in the city and 19 on the highway. It also comes with a more literal cost—namely, $67,395. The SRT is only available as a 4×4. Quadra-Trac Active On Demand 4WD operates all the time, distributing torque to all wheels evenly until it detects slippage, at which point it redirects torque to the wheels that actually have traction.
You also get a high-speed engine controller and the heavy-duty engine cooling system. It’s got a bigger alternator, a bigger rear axle…it’s just got bigger stuff all around. Jeep is calling the interior “race-inspired.” We’re not sure what the leather interior has to do with speed, but the Uconnect performance pages might come in handy. Plus, there is a G-Force meter. It also has a high-performance braking system from Brembo. If you really want to take a Jeep Grand Cherokee to the track instead of, say, a Camaro or a Mustang, this is the one for you.
Lastly, the Trackhawk is the newest addition to the Jeep Cherokee family and starts at $85,900. It’s even more heart-pounding and powerful than the SRT. It uses a supercharged 6.2L V8 engine to produce 707 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque. It can go from 0-60 in just 3.5 seconds. It also adds a superior cooling system and uses the SRT Brembo brake system for optimum control.
At this luxurious price point, you also get suede performance seating on the interior. For the exterior, the Trackhawk adds bright quad exhaust tips—something the SRT doesn’t even have. As with the other upgrades, you do lose some features with the Trackhawk like the steering wheel mounted controls in favor of mounted shift levers. The Trackhawk also loses integrated voice command with Bluetooth.