• Fans chose "Altitude" name for the limited-edition models
  • Grand Cherokee, Compass & Patriot models get more distinctive look
  • Altitude editions arrive in dealer showrooms in May

At January's Houston Auto Show, Jeep revealed a sportier version of its popular Grand Cherokee with blacked-out trim inside and out and big, 20-inch, gloss black wheels. Jeep said the special edition SUV was intended for production, and reached out to fans of the iconic brand to name the vehicle a "Name My Ride" contest. Announcing the results, Jeep revealed not only that the special-edition Grand Cherokee will be called "Altitude", but also that similar versions of both the Compass and Patriot models will soon be available.

In addition to a range of upgraded standard equipment, the Grand Cherokee Altitude features sportier styling thanks to a front fascia with a gloss black finish on the grille surround and headlamp bezels, and platinum chrome details for the mesh grille insert and lower fascia applique. Heated, leather-trimmed seats and an upgraded 9-speaker sound system are standard, as is a backup camera and parking assist system. The special edition SUV will be available with 2-wheel drive for $35,595, or with 4-wheel drive for $2,000 more.

Both the Compass and Patriot are also available in Altitude editions. Blacked-out trim and wheels provide a sportier look on these models, too, with 18-inch aluminum wheels on the Compass and 17s on the Patriot. Standard equipment on both the Compass and Patriot Altitude editions includes a continuously variable transmission, heated exterior mirrors and seats, remote start and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. Altitude editions of both models also come in 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive. The Compass Altitude starts at $22,190, while the base price on the Patriot Altitude is $20,240.

Jeep, which has over 2 million Facebook fans, received over 100,000 responses in the "Name My Ride" contest, suggesting excitement about the mildly modified Grand Cherokee model. Mike Manley, Chrysler Group's president and CEO for the Jeep brand, says, after seeing a strong response, adding Altitude editions of the Compass and Patriot was a no-brainer.

"The extraordinary response to both the concept and the contest resulted in an easy decision to produce 'blacked-out' editions of the Grand Cherokee - and the Compass and Patriot," Manley said. "These new Jeep Altitude editions will clearly have a broad appeal among consumers, especially those looking for something distinctive, edgy, and just plain cool."

Between the sportier styling and upgraded standard equipment, Altitude editions of these three vehicles give consumers the option of a modified look coupled with some nice standard features, especially in the Grand Cherokee version.

What it means to you: Altitude editions of the Grand Cherokee, Compass and Patriot have not only a sportier and more distinctive look, but also a suite of comfort and convenience upgrades.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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