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2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: Laredo vs Limited vs Summit, Overland & Trailhawk
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What 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between the Trims?

The spacious, versatile and luxurious Jeep Grand Cherokee has taken the crossover revolution in a stride. It has seamlessly transitioned from being a sizable body-on-frame SUV to a sleek crossover that is decked out in the latest technology and amenities. Today, the Grand Cherokee continues to be one of the top sellers in the mid-size SUV class. It is a big car that uses its space well, comfortably seating all five passengers and leaving plenty of cargo room besides.

It ranges from being just comfortable to exquisitely decadent through its dozen or so different trim levels. Even the entry level models come with some good technology, while the high-end ones are equipped with some of the best materials and equipment available.

As Jeep has added new versions, trim levels, and packages to the Grand Cherokee over the last few years, it has become increasingly more confusing to figure out which trim might serve you best. Our guide seeks to untangle that confusion by showing the differences between the various trims and some advice on choosing the best one for your driving style.

Compare the 2018 Grand Cherokee Laredo vs Laredo E Trims. What is the difference?

The basic of the Grand Cherokee’s idiosyncratically-named trim levels is the Laredo, and it comes with a set of features that are slightly above average compared to the competition. It has automatic dual-zone climate control, a smart key with push button start, a rearview camera, parking sensors, and a 7-inch digital driver information display in the instrument cluster to go with the 7-inch infotainment touchscreen.

The Uconnect infotainment system on that touch screen supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as voice controls and Bluetooth. The upholstery on this model is cloth, but the shift lever and the steering wheel are covered in leather and there are a number of attractive accents sprinkled throughout the cabin. The base Laredo comes pretty much as-is, without major optional packages. The only powertrain option is the base V-6 engine with an automatic transmission, though it is available in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive.

The Laredo E is a slightly nicer version of the base Laredo. The main equipment added by the Laredo E are a few exterior accents such as roof rails, power seating for the driver and the front passenger, and satellite radio integration.

It also has a decent selection of optional packages to choose from that are not available on the regular Laredo. The Chrome Edition and the Appearance Group packages are both purely cosmetic, adding some elements to the interior and the exterior. The Security and Convenience Group package adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a powered liftgate, remote starter and an alarm system to the car.

Finally, the 18-inch Wheel and 8.4-inch Radio Group gives the Laredo E larger wheels and an upgraded infotainment system that not only includes a bigger touchscreen, but a built-in navigation system as well. Just like the regular Laredo, both two-wheel and all-wheel drive are available, both linked to a V-6 engine and an automatic transmission.

The Laredo E also comes in two special variants that are occasionally listed as their own trim levels. The Upland and the Altitude both ride on 20-inch custom wheels and come with a variety of unique styling elements. The Upland is based on the more expensive Trailhawk trim and incorporates off-roading themed elements into its design. It comes standard with the security and convenience package and offers the upgraded infotainment system as an option. It only comes as an all-wheel drive option.

The Altitude is instead aimed at providing a more upscale ambiance. It includes both of the optional packages from the Laredo E and a plush leather-and-suede upholstery pattern. Several other premium accents are available as upgrades, including a nine-speaker sound system and a power sunroof.

Both the Laredo and the Laredo E are very similar in price, as far as the Grand Cherokee models go, and feature only a few small differences. Generally, most buyers will probably prefer the Laredo E, thanks to the power seating and the higher number of available options. However, the base Laredo still offers a pretty good value for drivers that are not looking for too many add-ons.

For the Laredo E buyers, the Security and Convenience package is a favorite, as it includes a lot of very useful convenience features for a fairly low price. The upgraded radio and wheels group, on the other hand, feels underwhelming given the price point, especially as the standard smartphone integration makes it easy to use your phone’s navigation instead. However, when combined in the Altitude package, it offers a fairly upscale version of the basic Grand Cherokee without moving up to the pricy Limited trims.

Compare the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo E vs Limited Trims. What is the difference?

At the Limited trim level is when the Grand Cherokee begins to shift from being a plush mass-market vehicle to something that is more at home in the luxury SUV segment. Premium leather and heating for both front and rear seats is standard on the model, along with power front seat adjustments and a powered liftgate.

The V-6 engine is standard on this model, but it can also be equipped with either the HEMI V-8 engine or the turbodiesel engine options, though the HEMI is only available on the all-wheel drive models. Those cars can also be equipped with a special off-road package that adds extra skid plates, air suspension, limited slip differential, and a stronger rear axle.

All Grand Cherokee Limited models can be equipped with the chrome and appearance packages from the Laredo E. Also available is the Jeep Active Safety Group that adds a forward collision warning with adaptive cruise control and braking support, lane departure warning, parking assist and rain-sensing windshield wipers. A blind spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic alerts is also available as a stand-alone option.

The other major option group on the Limited is the Luxury Group, which includes a premium Alpine 9-speaker sound system, bi-xenon headlights with automatic leveling and high beam control, a panoramic moonroof, perforated leather seats with front seat ventilation, and the upgraded infotainment controls. Rear seat infotainment can also be included in this model.

The Sterling Edition is a special version of the Grand Cherokee Limited that was released to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Grand Cherokee nameplate. It is almost identical to the standard Limited, but has its own unique upholstery pattern and special interior and exterior badging. It also comes standard with the premium audio and the larger infotainment screen from the Luxury Group, and can be upgraded with the rest of the Limited optional equipment.

Compared to the Laredo E, the Limited is almost its own vehicle. It is definitely more upscale and attractive, and offers a lot more high-end options. The available active safety features are definitely a major draw to the model, as are the increased engine options.

If you believe that you will need the larger engines, if you often find yourself towing something for example, or like the upscale comfort features, then the Limited is a good choice. If items like the blind spot monitors and rear seat heating are more nice-to-haves than must-haves, then you will likely want to stick with one of the Laredo E options instead.

Compare the Grand Cherokee Limited vs Trailhawk Trims. What is the difference?

The Trailhawk is a specialized off-road trim level of the Grand Cherokee. It comes with a standard feature set that is almost identical to the Limited, and carries over almost all of its options and packages over unchanged. However, it also comes with its own set of Trailhawk exclusives. It is all-wheel drive only, and in fact uses a more advanced Quadra-Drive II all-wheel drive system.

It also comes with a full selection of practical off-road body accents like tow hooks and skid plates, in addition to some purely cosmetic pieces. Air suspension and a multi-mode terrain selection system are also included in this competent off-roader. It is available with the same three engine options as the Limited.

While the Grand Cherokee is not quite the same degree of off-road vehicle as Jeep’s dedicated Wrangler off-road model, it still has plenty of trailblazing DNA under its sheet metal. For drivers who want a car that can both be a luxurious family hauler during the week and a tough all-terrain vehicle during the weekend, the Trailhawk is the perfect compromise.

Because it is based on the Limited trim, it has access to all of the must-have comfort and active safety features of that model as well, so you will not be sacrificing much for the improved off-road ability. However, if you have no plans of taking your Grand Cherokee off of paved roads, then you can safely pass on this trim level without any regrets.

Compare the Grand Cherokee Limited vs Overland Trims. What is the difference?

The Overland is effectively a more luxurious version of the Limited. It comes with a higher grade of leather for the seats and leather trim for the dashboard. It also includes all of the Luxury package options from the Limited model, as well as 20-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, and an air suspension system. It also uses the Trailhawk’s terrain system and can be equipped with its upgraded all-wheel drive system and additional skid plates for improved off-road ability. It can also be upgraded with an even more luxurious Harman/Kardon audio system.

A fully loaded version of the Overland, short of the off-road gear and the rear seat entertainment, is also available as the Grand Cherokee High Altitude. Similar to the Altitude variant of the Laredo E, it has its own unique wheel and upholstery designs and a number of unique styling elements. 

The Overland is much more upscale in appearance than the Limited but, aside from the improved off-road equipment, shares almost all of the same features and functionality. For most buyers, getting the equipment they want on the Limited or the Trailhawk will be less expensive than on the Overland. However, the Overland’s interior is very plush and attractive. Ultimately, the Overland falls into a strange middle ground between value and opulence. If you are looking to maximize the value for the money you spend, the Limited is the better choice. But if price is no object, then the Summit is even more good-looking. The Overland, meanwhile, is stuck somewhere in the middle.

Compare the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland vs Summit Trims. What is the difference?

The aptly-named Summit is the peak of luxury available under the Grand Cherokee name. It takes all of the great features of the Overland and wraps them in an even nicer package. The interior gets both metallic accents and real open-pore wood. The leather seating is quilted and perforated with hand-sewn accents, and the headliner is made of attractive suede.

If that is not enough, a premium Laguna leather upholstery is also available, as is a special exterior appearance package. From a feature standpoint the Summit offers much the same equipment as the Overland, though some elements like the Harman/Kardon audio are standard on this trim rather than optional.

In terms of comfort and style, it does not get any better within the Jeep model line than the Grand Cherokee Summit. It does come with the same considerations as the Overland model, however: there is very little available on this model that you can’t get on the Limited for about two thirds the price.

This model is clearly designed to compete against the most expensive models from luxury competitors, so you are effectively paying for luxury-brand looks more than anything else. But if that is what you are looking for, then the Summit is perfect.

Compare the 2018 Grand Cherokee Summit vs SRT Trims. What is the difference?

Until recently, the SRT was the fastest Grand Cherokee that money could buy. Its standard equipment is roughly equivalent to a Limited with the Luxury package, but in exchange it is outfitted with a potent 6.4-liter V-8 HEMI that puts out 475 horsepower. To back it up, it has all of the appropriate racing equipment such as launch controls, a racing suspension, and a specialized all-wheel drive system. Its optional equipment is similarly focused on its performance, including optional Brembo brakes or heavy-duty engine cooling. It can also be equipped with a few extra creature comforts such as a moonroof, Harman/Kardon speakers, or rear seat infotainment. 

This model is perfect if you are having trouble deciding between a family SUV and a race car. It can do both very well, easily hitting 60 miles per hour in under five seconds while still being incredibly comfortable and well-appointed. There are few compromises in this model, except when it comes to the price tag, which with options can easily cross the $70,000 mark.

Compare the Grand Cherokee SRT vs Trackhawk Trims. What is the difference?

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is what happens when automotive engineers are allowed to take one of the most powerful production engines and put it inside a family SUV. The Trackhawk is almost the same car as the SRT, with the exception of the engine. Instead of the already potent 6.4-liter V-8 HEMI, it is equipped with the supercharged 6.2-liter ‘Hellcat’ V-8 from the Dodge Challenger. It is rated at 707 horsepower and timed at 3.5 seconds to hit 60 and 11.6 seconds to cross the quarter mile mark from a full stop.

It is the ultimate expression of internal combustion power, wrapped up in a very attractive crossover SUV package. All of the same options are available as on the SRT, and the same caveats apply. It is an amazing vehicle to own, but at over $100,000 when fully equipped, it is well outside of most buyers’ budgets.

Final Thoughts

The Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in an impressive range of trims, appearance packages and options. In general, the most sold models tend to be the first three and their various appearance package permutations. The basic Grand Cherokee Laredo comes very nicely equipped, though it is missing a few key features such as active safety options. Many of those shortcomings are remedied by either the Laredo E or the Limited models.

The Overland and Summit are very beautiful inside and out, but they add little to the feature set put forth by the Limited, and so tend to be less popular. The specialist Trailhawk, SRT and Trackhawk trims are high-end performance vehicles. Only making up a small portion of the Grand Cherokee sales, they are also rarely considered by most customers. That said, there are very few crossover SUVs like them, so they can be an excellent choice if they meet your specific criteria. 

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