Both have comfort, technology and luxury. And, both are oh so Jeep.
Here’s the thing I have always loved about Jeep (and I have owned two): it’s a vehicle with deep integrity and elegance. It can do the things it’s known for, but it looks good when it’s not doing those things. It exudes confidence all the time: confident in style, confident in performance, confident in comfort.
And when it comes to Jeep, you have a lot of choices. The rugged Wrangler, the sublime and stylish Grand Cherokee, the capable and scrappy Renegade, the solid and affordable Compass. All of these models share one thing: DNA that means you’re capable, whether climbing rocks at Hells Gate or proving that YOU can do this at Rebelle Rally. Or, just climbing out of a snow bank to escape cabin fever at Soul Cycle—which we truly think is a worthy reason (we might have done that once. Or twice.)
But among all these choices, how do you know which is right for you? And, how do you know that you’re getting the most for your money?
Who This Car is For
- Singles, couples or small families; this SUV seats 5 but is more comfortable for 4
- Couples who may soon be a trio (or more) — this is a great vehicle for a new or growing family
- Buyers who want off-road capability even if they never go off road
- Drivers who value a comfortable ride and an adventuresome spirit
- Off-roaders who need a comfortable ride during the week
- Buyers who want a car with deep integrity in its DNA— that is the root of Jeep’s character
You Can’t Go Wrong with Cherokee, No Matter Which Trim You Choose
And this is the beauty of Cherokee: It’s gorgeous on the outside, trimmed to your needs on the inside. We took a road trip in one— the Latitude— and took a good long look at another— the Limited— and here’s what we thought:
Latitude: This Might Be All You Need
The Latitude is a bit more scaled-back version of the Cherokee. The exterior design is fresh and familiar, but inside t skips some of the expensive details that drive up the price. What impressed us most was how much you do get for the base price of $27,995:
- 2.0 L 4 cylinder turbo engine with 9 speed transmission
- Jeep active drive terrain select system
- electronic stability control
- all speed traction control
- electronic roll mitigation
- keyless entry
- capless fuel tank
- Uconnect 7 inch screen
- Apple Car Play/Android Auto
- Rear seat USB ports
- Power front seats
The model we test drove added:
- Comfort and convenience group ( $895) which included:
- household outlet, power lift gate, remote start system, security alarm, universal garage door opener
- Cold weather group ($895) with heated front seats and a heated steering wheel
- Safety tech group (included) blind spot monitors with cross path detection, rear park assist with full stop (preventing you from hitting something behind you), folding mirrors
- Price of the model we drove: $34,220
Then, we drove the Jeep Cherokee Limited. This model takes the Jeep Cherokee DNA up a notch with a more luxurious interior and a few more standard features, but like its sister model, it’s nicely outfitted.
The Limited trim standard equipment included:
- Power lift gate
- Park assist with full stop
- Blind spot monitor with rear cross-path detection
- Remote start
- UConnect 8 inch screen with one year of SiriusXM, navigation
- Heated seats and steering wheel
- Memory setting for drivers seat, radio and side mirrors
Optional features on the model we test drove included:
- The Preferred package ($995) with adaptive cruise with stop and go, automatic high beam headlights, parallel and perpendicular auto park, rain sensing windshield wipers;
- Luxury package ($1,195) which includes adjustable second row seats, motion activated lift gate, cooled front seats;
- Panoramic sun roof ($1,295);
- Upgraded UConnect system with 8.4” display, HD radio, navigaiton, 1 year of SiriusXM guardian service and 5 year subscription to SiriusXM traffic
- Price of the model we drove: $40,740
Serious Comfort for the Long Haul
Probably one of the things I love most about Jeep are the seats. I say this because I have logged literally hundreds of thousands of miles — and hours — behind the wheel of a Jeep and consistently, the seats leave me feeling comfortable, refreshed and not fatigued. I think it’s the combination of quality grade leather, design and ergonomics that do the trick: your posture is good, your weight is supported and behind the wheel you’re poised for control yet able to relax. That is priceless when you’re driving 800 miles in a day.
Tech That Takes the Stress Out of Driving
Jeep deserves kudos for taking a driver-centric approach to safety technology. It was one of the first brands to add adaptive cruise standard and to push the technology, adding full stop to the ACC system a few years ago. If you are a driver who logs lots of miles on the highway, make sure this is a feature that is available and opt for it.
ACC is offered on the Jeep Cherokee Limited with the addition of the technology package ($1,195), but not on the Latitude model.
New Infotainment Design That Looks and Functions Better
One of the things I loved about the redesigned Jeep Cherokee is the new infotainment system. This redesign is subtle but also, serious: Jeep kept the grid of apps that control many functions such as heated seats and phone settings but made them more attractive and more intuitive to use. And, critical functions, like climate and radio are also controllable with dedicated buttons. Last, plug in your iPhone or Android phone and Apple Car Play or Android Auto pop up, giving you your phone’s functions on the touch screen.
Want to Learn to Off Road, But Need to a Stylish Daily Driver? Cherokee Has You Covered
This is probably what I love most about Cherokee. You can go off road if you want to. But you don’t have to. In fact, most, about 90%, Jeep owners never take their Jeep off road. Shocking, yes, but, seriously, it’s not silly. I bought my Jeeps to be able to get out of my driveway on a snowy day… a good two months of the year that I’d be grounded if I didn’t have 4WD and a high ground clearance. But, I learned to really love the ride height, the seats and the capability in challenging drive situation. Plus, the cargo space that allowed me to literally bring my whole house home in the car or tied to my roof top.
The Bottom Line: Limited or Latitude?
There are two major differences between these two models: features and styling. The Latitude has a more rugged feel while the Limited feels a bit more luxe. And the Limited offers the addition of a technology package that has adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and park assist that will park the car for you (you control braking and speed, the Jeep does the rest).
Buyers who opt for the Limited model and add the technology package (with ACC) but skip other add-ons such as the upgraded Uconnect infotainment system with navigation, the luxury package with moving second row seats and the sunroof (a $1,295 addition), the price for the Limited comes in about $2,500 more than the Latitude equipped with the options on the model we test drove. In the end I’d probably opt for the Limited simply for the option of ACC, my favorite feature in a car. But if this one thing isn’t critical, the Latitude, even with added features, could mean saving enough money to pay for that off road class.
Disclosure: Jeep provided the Limited and Latitude for these test drives; all opinions are my own.