Jeep Cherokee

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This article is about Jeep Cherokee line dating to 1974. For luxury SUV line dating to 1993, see Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Jeep Cherokee
Jeep Cherokee 2.0 MulitJet 4WD Limited (KL) – Frontansicht, 30. August 2014, Düsseldorf.jpg
Manufacturer Jeep (FCA, formerly Chrysler via American Motors)
Model years 1974–present
Body and chassis
Class Sport utility vehicle (1974–2013)
crossover SUV (2014–present)

The Jeep Cherokee is a line of vehicles sold by Jeep under various vehicle classes. Originally sold as a variant of the popular Jeep Wagoneer, the Cherokee has evolved from a full-size SUV to one of the first compact SUVs and eventually into its current incarnation as a crossover SUV. The nameplate has been in continuous use in some form since 1974 and also spawned Jeep's most successful vehicle, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was originally slated to be part of the Cherokee's lineup. The vehicle is named after the Cherokee tribe of Native Americans.

First generation (SJ)[edit]

First generation
Jeep Cherokee SJ Chief S f.jpg
Jeep Cherokee S
Manufacturer Jeep (American Motors)
Production 1974–1983
Body and chassis
Class Full-size SUV
Body style 2-door wagon
4-door wagon
Platform SJ
Related Jeep Wagoneer (SJ)
  • 258 cu in (4.2 L) AMC I6
  • 360 cu in (5.9 L) AMC V8 2-barrel
  • 360 cu in (5.9 L) AMC V8 4-barrel
  • 401 cu in (6.6 L) AMC V8 4-barrel
Wheelbase 108.7 in (2,761 mm)k
Length 186.4 in (4,735 mm)
Width 74.8 in (1,900 mm)
Height 66.4 in (1,687 mm)
Curb weight 4,514 lb (2,048 kg)

The Cherokee was a redesigned reintroduction of a two-door body style Jeep Wagoneer, with a single fixed rear side window with an optional flip-out section. Previously, a two-door version had been available in the Jeep Wagoneer line from 1963 to 1967), although this had the same pillar and window configuration as the four-door Wagoneer. This replaced the Jeepster Commando, whose sales had not met expectations despite an extensive 1972 revamp. The Cherokee appealed to a younger market than the Wagoneer, which was regarded more as a family SUV.

The Cherokee was marketed as the "sporty" two-door variant of Jeep's station wagon. The term "Sport Utility" appears for the first time in the 1974 Cherokee sales brochure.[2] A four-door was not added to the lineup until 1977. Other than the base model, the trim levels of the Cherokee included the S (Sport), Chief, Golden Eagle, Golden Hawk, Limited, Classic, Sport, Pioneer, and Laredo.

Second generation (XJ)[edit]

Second generation
Jeep Cherokee 2-door.jpg
1984– 1998 Jeep Cherokee 2-door
Manufacturer Jeep (American Motors Corporation, later Chrysler)
Also called
  • Jeep Wagoneer (1984-1990)
  • Beijing-Jeep BJ 2021 (4WD)[3]
  • Beijing-Jeep BJ 7250 (2WD)[3]
  • 1984–2001 (USA)
  • 1984–2013 (China)
  • 1987–2001 (Venezuela)
  • 1996–2000 (Argentina)
  • 1992–2001 (Egypt)
Body and chassis
Class Compact SUV
Body style
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive
Wheelbase 101.4 in (2,576 mm)
  • 1987-1990: 165.3 in (4,199 mm)
  • 1991-93: 168.8 in (4,288 mm)
  • 1994-96: 166.9 in (4,239 mm)
  • 1997-2001: 167.5 in (4,254 mm)
  • 1987-1993: 70.5 in (1,791 mm)
  • 1994-96: 67.7 in (1,720 mm)
  • 1997-99: 67.9 in (1,725 mm)
  • 2000-01: 69.4 in (1,763 mm)
  • 1987-88 2WD: 63.4 in (1,610 mm)
  • 1987–1993: 63.3 in (1,608 mm)
  • 1994–99 2WD: 63.9 in (1,623 mm)
  • 1994-2001 4WD: 64.0 in (1,626 mm)
  • 2000–01 2WD: 63.8 in (1,621 mm)
Curb weight 3,357 lb (1,523 kg) (approx.)

While the Wagoneer continued in production for another eight years as the Grand Wagoneer, the Cherokee nameplate was moved to a new platform for 1984. Without a traditional body-on-frame chassis, the Cherokee instead featured a light-weight unibody design.[5]

This generation Cherokee would eventually be well-known as an innovator of the modern SUV, as it spawned competitors as other automakers began to notice that this Jeep design began replacing regular cars.[6] It also began to supplant the role of the station wagon and "transformed from truck to limousine in the eyes of countless suburban owners."[7] The XJ is a "significant link in the evolution of the 4x4."[8]

It would prove to be so popular that the second generation Cherokee's replacement was released as a separate vehicle altogether as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, itself starting a successive line of vehicles as Jeep's flagship vehicle.

Third generation (KJ)[edit]

Third generation
2003 Jeep Cherokee (KJ MY03) Limited Edition wagon (2015-07-09) 01.jpg
Manufacturer Jeep (Chrysler)
Also called Jeep Liberty
Production 2001–2007
Model years 2002–2007
Designer Bob Boniface (1998)
Wheelbase 104.2 in (2,650 mm)
Length 2001-04: 174.2 in (4,420 mm)
2005-07: 174.7 in (4,440 mm)
Width 2001-04: 71.1 in (1,810 mm)
2005-07: 71.8 in (1,820 mm)
Height 2001-04: 73.2 in (1,860 mm)
2005-07: 69.8 in (1,770 mm)
Curb weight 3,508-4,312 lb (1,591-1,956 kg)

The third generation, marketed as the Jeep Liberty in North America to differentiate itself from the Grand Cherokee, was introduced in April 2001 for the 2002 model year.

The Cherokee was priced between the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. It remained the smallest of the 4-door Jeep SUVs up until the crossover-based 4-door Compass and Patriot arrived for 2007. The Cherokee featured unibody-construction. It was assembled at the Toledo North Assembly Plant in the United States, as well as in other countries including Egypt and Venezuela.

It was the first Jeep vehicle to use rack and pinion steering.[9] It also the first Jeep to use the two then-new PowerTech engines; the 150 horsepower (110 kW) 2.4 L straight-4, which was discontinued in 2006, and the 210 horsepower (160 kW) 3.7 L V6. However, the Cherokee was not the first Jeep vehicle to use an independent front suspension, as the Wagoneer first used it in the 1963 model. But, that independent front suspension was limited to four wheel drive versions and, even then, was a short lived option.[10]

Fourth generation (KK)[edit]

Fourth generation
Second generation KK (Jeep Liberty).jpg
Manufacturer Jeep (Chrysler)
Also called Jeep Liberty
Production 2007[11]–August 16, 2012
Model years 2008-2013[12][13]
Body and chassis
Related Dodge Nitro
Wheelbase 106.1 in (2,690 mm)
  • 176.9 in (4,490 mm) (2008-2010)
  • 176.1 in (4,473 mm) (2011-2013)
  • 72.4 in (1,840 mm) (2008-2010)
  • 73.1 in (1,857 mm) (2011-2013)
  • 74.9 in (1,900 mm) (2008-2010)
  • 71.3 in (1,811 mm) (2011-2013)
Curb weight 3,985-4,780 lb (1,808-2,168 kg)

Still using the Jeep Liberty name in North America, the Cherokee was redesigned in 2008. For the first time, a rebadged version of a Jeep model existed, as Dodge sold this version of the Cherokee as the Dodge Nitro during the same time period as the fourth-generation Cherokee. It was eventually discontinued both due to slow sales as well as Sergio Marchionne wanting to avoid duplicated vehicles with Dodge and Jeep (as well as Chrysler) sharing the same sales network.

With the smaller Patriot and Compass now available to cater to MPG-conscious buyers, the four-cylinder engine was dropped from the Cherokee's offerings. The iron-block, aluminum-head V6 was the only engine available for 2008. Towing capacity was 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg). Jeep discontinued the Cherokee's CRD for the American market because it couldn't meet tougher 2007 emissions standards for diesel engines. Transmission choices were both carry-overs: a six-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Standard equipment included electronic stability control with roll mitigation, traction control, and anti-lock brakes with brake assist. New Features included standard side airbags. Optional features are rain-sensing wipers, Sirius Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, a navigation system, and the MyGig entertainment system, complete with a 30GB hard drive.

Fifth generation (KL)[edit]

Fifth generation
2014 Jeep Cherokee (KL MY15) Limited wagon (2015-07-09) 01.jpg
Manufacturer Jeep (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)
Production June 2013 – present
Model years 2014 – present
Assembly United States: Toledo, Ohio (Toledo Complex)
Belvidere, Illinois (Belvidere Assembly Plant)
Changsha, China (GAC Fiat)
Designer Greg Howell
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size crossover SUV
Body style 4-door SUV
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive / all-wheel drive / four-wheel drive layout
Platform FCA Compact Wide[14]
Related Dodge Dart (2013)
Alfa Romeo Giulietta (2010)[14]
Chrysler 200 (2015)
Engine 2.0 "940 A 8000" Multijet I4 (diesel - Europe only)[15]
2.2 Multijet I4 (diesel - Europe only)
2.0 L
Tigershark I4 (gasoline) (China)
2.4 L
Tigershark I4 (gasoline)[16]
3.2 L
Pentastar V6 (gasoline)[16]
Transmission 6-speed manual
9-speed 948TE automatic[16]
Wheelbase 106 in (2,692 mm)
Length 182 in (4,623 mm)
Width 73.2 in (1,859 mm) (Sport, Latitude, and Limited models) or 74.9 in (1,902 mm) (Trailhawk model only)
Height 66.2–67.8 in (1,681–1,722 mm)

For the fifth generation, the Cherokee nameplate returned to North America as the vehicle was converted to a crossover and grew to midsize in order to make room for the Jeep Renegade below the Cherokee and Compass. It was introduced for the 2014 model year at the 2013 New York International Auto Show and the sales started in November 2013.[14][17][17] The Cherokee is the first Jeep vehicle to be built on the Fiat Compact/Compact U.S. Wide platform, co-developed by Chrysler and Fiat.[16] The Jeep Cherokee is built at Toledo North Assembly Plant in Toledo, Ohio.[18]

The Cherokee has a highway fuel economy rating of 31 miles per U.S. gallon (7.6 L/100 km; 37 mpg-imp);[16] and a 45% better fuel economy rating than the Liberty/Cherokee it replaced.[17][18]

The fifth-generation Cherokee would become such a sales success that FCA discontinued the slow-selling Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 (both mechanically similar to the Cherokee) in order to increase production capacity for the Cherokee to meet demand.


  1. ^ "Jeep in Australia 1978 - 1991". Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  2. ^ Allen, Jim (2003). Jeep: Collector's Library. Motorbooks, MBI Publishing. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-7603-1486-9. Retrieved September 2013.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. ^ a b "Beijing Jeep". Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  4. ^ "Beijing Automobile Works". Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "Jeep Cherokee, the best of breed SUV: 1975-2001". Allpar. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  6. ^ Bradsher, Keith (2002). High and Mighty: SUVs — the World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way. PublicAffairs. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-58648-123-0. 
  7. ^ Cumberford, Robert (April 2009). "20 greatest cars". Automobile Magazine. Retrieved 12 October 2015. Great designs never grow old, a truth no better confirmed than by designer Dick Teague's masterpiece, the Jeep Cherokee. Possibly the best SUV shape of all time, it is the paradigmatic model to which other designers have since aspired. 
  8. ^ Brubaker, Ken; Morr, Tom (2007). Jeep Off-Road. Motorbooks. p. 107. ISBN 978-0760329948. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "Jeep Liberty Steering". 2005-05-15. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  10. ^ "Bruce Rice's 1963 IFS Wagoneer 4x4". 2007-12-24. Retrieved 2010-12-17. 
  11. ^ "2008 Jeep Liberty production begins". Retrieved 2010-11-26. 
  12. ^ "Liberty 2013". Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  13. ^ "Jeep Liberty 2013 ya en México precios y versiones". 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  14. ^ a b c "Chrysler lets 2014 Jeep Cherokee details fly ahead of New York auto show debut". Daily News (New York). Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  15. ^ "CHEROKEE 2014". Retrieved 2014-02-16. 
  16. ^ a b c d e Harley, Michael (27 March 2013). "2014 Jeep Cherokee flaunts its new contemporary curves". Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  17. ^ a b c "The All-New 2014 Jeep Cherokee". Jeep. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "Jeep Revives Cherokee For 2014 With Polarizing New Design". Forbes. Retrieved February 27, 2013.