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Old 06-06-2013, 11:54 AM
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2012 Altitude Owner Test Drives 2014 Limited

Well, this week I had to rent a vehicle large enough to move 4 people with a light gear load around while out of town. We flew into the destination and I rented a 2014 JGC Limited. My ride is a 2012 Altitude with a V6 and the 5 speed full time 4WD transmission. I thought I would provide my thoughts.
<O</O
The rental only had ~ 400 miles on it when we picked it up and we put about 300 miles on it over 4 days. The rental had a V6 with the 8 speed full time 4WD transmission.
<O</O
Pros
- Slightly more drivers room – not sure why, but they may have moved the dash toward the firewall by an inch or so where your right knee would normally rest. Maybe the seat track is back just a bit further – not sure, but there was just a bit more room.
- The Jeep cooled down the interior when the remote starter is used. This is something my 2012 now does since it was reflashed, it is nice to see the newer Jeep do it as well.
<O</O
Cons
- There is too much activity on the radio screen. In my jeep, the HVAC controls are separate from the radio as are the car settings controls. In the 2014, everything is controlled by the radio.
- The nav system leaves a lot to be desired. We ended up using an iPhone with its nav system as it was both more accurate and easier to use.
- The shifter is a “fly by wire” type and getting into reverse was always a challenge. I supposed if I were to drive it for another week or so, I may get the trick, but it should not be a challenge to do basic gear shifting.
- The shifter is too far to the left side of the console so the driver’s leg hits it. This did not cause any function issues, but it was not comfortable. There is plenty of room on the console to move it another inch to the right and solve this problem.
- The transmission had paddle shifters. I like to drive with my hands resting on the crossbar of the wheel at times and the paddle shifters are in the way to do this. Also, paddle shifters are associated with race cars or high performance sports cars. Having them on a Jeep looks stupid IMHO, but they were the only way to shift from drive to another gear.
- The shifter knob is easy to hit with your right arm and if you push it back slightly, it goes into sport mode. This makes the shifts more noticeable and, frankly, should be saved for a Challenger and is not needed on the JGC IMHO. In any case, it should not be so easy to knock the Jeep into sport mode.
<O</O
Differences neither pro or con
- The transmission, when in normal drive mode, shifted fine and was not noted by any of the troop as being intrusive. It functioned as it should – see above for cons on the tranny shifter mechanism.
- The engine seemed similar in performance to what I am used to.
- The ventilated seats seemed to perform average at best. This was not the first car I have driven with ventilated seats, but the amount of air these seats moved, even when set on high, was far less than some others I have driven. We were in Texas, so it was hot during the days. In the mornings and late evenings, the seats performance was adequate. During the mid day heat, the seats seemed to be inadequate. If I had to pay extra to get this feature, I would be sorely disappointed in it s performance.
<O</O
Overall Impression
I like my 2012 better than the 2014 even though, or maybe because, the 2014 was a higher model. The radio on the 2014 is way too busy and controls too many functions. Also, the issues noted with the shifter and paddle shifters were bothersome and not needed in this vehicle. If I needed a new vehicle for some reason, I would strongly consider the 2014, but I would not trade my 2012 for a 2014 even in a straight trade. Just my $0.02, YMMV.
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:12 PM
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Re: 2012 Altitude Owner Test Drives 2014 Limited

Wow, sorry you had so many cons.


So you had issues hitting the shifter with both your right leg and arm? How were you sitting on the driver's side, with you knee to your elbow and leaning to the right? Is this really Shaq hiding behind the Shutterbug57 alias??


Your right in saying the 2014 is not for you.
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:26 PM
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Re: 2012 Altitude Owner Test Drives 2014 Limited

No, I am not Shaq, but I am 6'5" tall and about 365#, so rather large. My leg hit the shifter knob because it was at or just over the edge of the console and my forearm hit it on occasion even when I was holding the wheel. If the shifter was an inch or two to the right, I don't think either my arm or leg would have hit it.

I had the seat all the way back and all the way down as the JGC had the huge sunroof - which is nice if you don't need the head room. I would prefer to do without the sunroof.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:05 PM
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Re: 2012 Altitude Owner Test Drives 2014 Limited

"I like to drive with my hands resting on the crossbar of the wheel at times and the paddle shifters are in the way to do this." That is a very dangerous practice!
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:16 PM
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Re: 2012 Altitude Owner Test Drives 2014 Limited

^
If you smashed your front end both of your arms would be snapped off below the elbows. Then you wouldn't be complaining about the shift by wire or the paddle shifters anymore.

Thanks though for the honest opinion.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:21 PM
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Re: 2012 Altitude Owner Test Drives 2014 Limited

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shutterbug57 View Post
Cons
- There is too much activity on the radio screen. In my jeep, the HVAC controls are separate from the radio as are the car settings controls. In the 2014, everything is controlled by the radio.
I am somewhat split on this. The absolute basics of temp selection, a/c on/off, and fan speed are still a knob/ button on the '14. I suppose it could use a rotary dial to select the direction of air, but then it might get too cluttered and every other car has the many diagrams (foot, vent. windshield, etc) button/ knob...sleeker look.

Things like seat warmers are used " slightly" therefore, for me, to go through a screen to turn it on is not that big of a deal.

As for the ergonomics of the seat vs. shifter. I see your point, but at 5'9" I find it perfect. My arm rests nicley on the arm rest while my hand rest on the shifter. Leg bump not a factor because I don't think my seat was all the way back. Jeep could/ should have moved the shifter to the right a bit more.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:34 PM
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Re: 2012 Altitude Owner Test Drives 2014 Limited

P.S. What was your MPG on your trip? Just curious about the rental car break-in (only 500 miles on it) theory. The one I rented last weekend only had 1000miles on it, and even after my "testing" it still got 20MPG.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:50 PM
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I can see the problems with layout considering your height etc.... you are closer to Shaq than I am to you.

The paddle shifters though I think is now pretty standard auto industry placement. That is exactly where they are being put on everything. I had them on my 2009 Mercedes and they were on every loaner vehicle I got from them when in for service. Once I got used to them being there I now really miss it in the Durango.

But these are all personal opinion things and I agree with the other poster, it sounds like the 2014 isn't really for you.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:04 PM
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Re: 2012 Altitude Owner Test Drives 2014 Limited

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepinAl View Post
P.S. What was your MPG on your trip? Just curious about the rental car break-in (only 500 miles on it) theory. The one I rented last weekend only had 1000miles on it, and even after my "testing" it still got 20MPG.
I have no idea. We bought the gas up front and did not have to fill it during the trip.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:09 PM
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Re: 2012 Altitude Owner Test Drives 2014 Limited

I haven't driven a 2014 so I cannot comment on the interior / transmission, and I was originally very against the design changes, but I will say that the front end has grown on me (LED lights are bad ass, still pretty cheesy to have the plastic honeycomb underneath though).

That said, I still think the styling changes to the rear end were definitely a downgrade. The tail lights really have no shape... sort of just a red blob with a white line (reverse lights) underneath it.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:13 PM
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Re: 2012 Altitude Owner Test Drives 2014 Limited

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The paddle shifters though I think is now pretty standard auto industry placement.
I agree. I just do not really like the paddle shifters for a JGC type of vehicle or any vehicle with an auto tranny really. Now, if I had a 911 with a manual shift that used paddles rather than a stick, I could grow to like them. For the JGC, I prefer the 2012 "slap stick" for shifting to other gear ranges. This is purely personal preference and the paddles worked as designed - I did try them as one of the other guys kept pestering me to give them a whirl.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:33 PM
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Re: 2012 Altitude Owner Test Drives 2014 Limited

Quote:
Originally Posted by turbospartan View Post
I haven't driven a 2014 so I cannot comment on the interior / transmission, and I was originally very against the design changes, but I will say that the front end has grown on me (LED lights are bad ass, still pretty cheesy to have the plastic honeycomb underneath though).

That said, I still think the styling changes to the rear end were definitely a downgrade. The tail lights really have no shape... sort of just a red blob with a white line (reverse lights) underneath it.
I thought the LED lights looked pretty cool. I agree, I did not prefer the new rear end and I particularly did not like the lock, unlock button where it is hidden away.

The main reason I did not review the styling was that with my Altitude that has the mineral grey paint and blacked out grill, wheels and rear trim - well, there really is no comparison.
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