You might remember that Jimmy Buffett was singing about Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes after he was wasting away again in Margaritaville. You can be forgiven for not remembering that song if you’re not a Parrot Head. Still, you’ve probably heard of the Jeep Cherokee Latitude, a model of the popular compact SUV that gives you solid value in a Jeep. If you are looking for a Used Jeep Cherokee for Sale, then the Latitude model may represent your best value to get the most features at an affordable price.
The Cherokee is modeled on a style similar to the midsize Grand Cherokee. This is no accident: the Jeep Grand Cherokee was introduced in 1990, built around the Cherokee model that had first hit the roads in 1979. The original Cherokee (XJ) was a very utilitarian 4X4 SUV. Jeep made changes to the vehicle over the years, updating it to suit the current tastes. At one point, Jeep even discontinued the Cherokee in 2001, opting to focus on the Jeep Liberty. However, when the Liberty failed to spark much consumer interest, Jeep decided to bring the Cherokee back in 2014. Since then, there has been no looking back, and the Latitude model has helped lead the way for the Jeep Cherokee.
Jeep’s got a new Latitude
When Jeep premiered the new Cherokee in 2014, it came out with five different trim levels. The entry-level model was the Sport, with successive trims ranging from the Latitude and Altitude to the Trailhawk and Limited. The value proposition was that the Latitude would provide slightly more features than the Sport while keeping costs down, thus passing savings onto the consumer. As a result, the first Latitude models provide a step up from the Sport trim. Where the Cherokee Sport only offered the standard 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir2 I-4 gas engine with a 9-speed automatic transmission, the Latitude had the option of a larger 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 gas engine also with a 9-speed automatic transmission. This engine provides up to 271 hp at 6,500 RPM and 239 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 RPM. When equipped with this engine, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Latitude is capable of towing up to 4,500 lbs. In addition, Latitude drivers were given the choice of either front-wheel driver or two different 4X4 systems: Jeep Active Drive I and the more advanced Jeep Active Drive II.
Jeep also featured several advanced systems on the first Cherokee Latitude, further setting it apart from the Sport. These included a fold-flat front passenger that provides additional cargo space. This front passenger seat also has an under-cushion storage compartment, which can come in handy if you need to hide some valuables when taking your Cherokee to the beach or hiking. The Cherokee Latitude also features the Uconnect infotainment system, which allows you to pair your smartphone for Bluetooth hands-free calls. Drivers also had the option of an 8.4-inch touchscreen and a nine-speaker Alpine audio system. In 2015, Jeep made a backup camera standard on the Latitude and added the option of several new driver assistance features as part of the SafetyTec package.
Jeep went on to make a number of slight adjustments to the Cherokee Latitude over the ensuing years. The company added several new trims in 2016, including a Sport Altitude model that fit between the Sport and Latitude models, a 75th Anniversary edition that was slightly more expensive than the Latitude, and the High Altitude and Overland, which slotted in as the new top trims. The Cherokee got more comfortable seats across all trim levels for the 2016 model, with a shift in the steering column position to improve driver enjoyment. HID headlights were added a year later to improve driver safety on all Cherokee models except the Sport.
Things began to get more interesting for the Cherokee Latitude in 2018. First, Jeep discontinued the Sport and Sport Altitude models, making the Latitude the new base model of the Cherokee. In addition, Jeep introduced a Latitude Plus model that is a step up from the Cherokee Latitude.
Aside from creating some unwelcome confusion, the Latitude Plus adds many other features to the Latitude model. The seats are leather with a power driver’s seat. The model also has a standard 8.4-inch touchscreen on the Uconnect infotainment system, easier to see than the 7-inch touchscreen on the Cherokee Latitude. Some models of the Cherokee Latitude Plus will also have an available power liftgate and a blind-spot monitoring system that will come in handy when changing lanes on the highway.
A refreshing Latitude
For the 2019 model year, Jeep decided to make an update to the popular Cherokee model. This refresh of the vehicle included a more stylish frontend and a more similar appearance to the newer models of the Compass and Grand Cherokee. In addition, the trunk was expanded to provide up to 54.9 cu.ft. of cargo space.
The most significant revision was the addition of a new 2.0-liter Turbocharged I-4 gas engine. This is paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission like the other two engine options. The difference is that this Turbocharge engine allows the Cherokee to tow up to 4,000 lbs, just 500 less than the Cherokee with the 3.2-liter V6 engine. At the same time, it gives you better fuel economy, up to 29 MPG with four-wheel drive, the same as the base 2.4-liter I-4 with the same drivetrain. The 2.0-liter Turbo produces an efficient 270 hp at 5,250 RPM and 295 lb-ft of torque at 3,000-4,500 RPM.
Jeep used this opportunity to improve the Cherokee Latitude model, giving it such features as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection. Some of the new features will help make operating the Cherokee Latitude safer, as it will help you detect and avoid striking other vehicles or pedestrians when backing out or changing lanes. This can often be one of the most dangerous aspects of driving a vehicle. The only downside is that the Jeep Cherokee Latitude Plus no longer featured standard leather seats beginning with the 2019 model year.
2020 saw even more improvements for the Cherokee Latitude. 17-inch aluminum wheels became standard, as well as heated mirrors. These are helpful on cold days when your side view mirrors can get fogged up very quickly. Jeep even improved the Latitude Plus, giving it a standard keyless entry with a push-button start for added convenience. The standard ParkSense rear park assist on the 2020 Jeep Cherokee Latitude Plus is also helpful, especially if you live in an area where you have to do a lot of street parallel parking.
A luxury Latitude
Someone at Jeep must have a great sense of humor or enjoy confusing folks because the 2021 Jeep Cherokee featured three different Latitudes. As Jimmy Buffett once sang, if we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane. But before you get a little crazy, here is some explanation of the three different Jeep Cherokee Latitudes. The 2021 Cherokee Latitude is the base model. It has 17-inch wheels, a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-path detection, and heated mirrors. The Cherokee Latitude Plus adds cloth and vinyl seating, a wiper de-icer, an 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, and ParkSense rear park assist.
The 2021 Cherokee Latitude Lux takes things a step further by making the 3.2-liter V6 engine standard, so you don’t have to pay for an engine upgrade if you want to maximize performance. It also has a power-adjustable front passenger seat and Nappa leather upholstery throughout the passenger compartment. This is where the luxury in Latitude Lux comes into the equation, giving you the features of the Latitude and Latitude Plus with more comfort for you and your passengers.
Today, only the Cherokee Latitude Lux remains. Jeep discontinued the Latitude and Latitude Plus trims after the 2021 model year. Therefore, if you want a Latitude or a Latitude Plus trim, you will have to buy a Jeep Cherokee from the 2021 model year or earlier.
The right attitude for a Latitude
Over the past decade, Jeep has largely built the Cherokee’s reputation on a Latitude trim that gives drivers great value in this vehicle. It offered numerous options and features, so it didn’t take much to make a Cherokee your own. While it is unfortunate that the Latitude and its upgraded trim Latitude Plus are no longer available, you can still find a used Jeep Cherokee with these trims available for sale. Make sure you get the one with the features you want since this trim has had numerous options over the years. Getting the Jeep Cherokee Latitude with the features you want will give you the right attitude.