Midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 2-door wagon
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $2,600*


1991 Jeep Cherokee Sport 2-door wagon


1991 Jeep Cherokee Briarwood 4-door wagon


1993 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4-door wagon


1992 Jeep Cherokee interior


1995 Jeep Cherokee Sport interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration (6-cylinder)
  • Wet-weather traction (4WD)
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Acceleration (4-cylinder)
  • Fuel economy
  • Noise

Cherokees offer a lot of temptations, serving as an excellent alternative for those who cannot afford a Grand Cherokee or Explorer. Next to something like the latest Chevrolet Blazer, though, they do seem a step behind in civility.

Overview

Launched in 1984, Cherokee was the first compact sport-utility vehicle to offer a 5-door body style. Powered at first by anemic 4-cylinder and V6 engines, Cherokees got a big boost in 1987 with the optional 4.0-liter inline six. Cherokees came with rear-wheel drive, part-time Command-Trac 4-wheel drive, or Selec-Trac full-time 4WD. Four-wheel antilock braking had become an option in 1989 on vehicles with a 6-cylinder engine, automatic transmission, and Selec-Trac. ABS worked in both 2WD and 4WD. For 1990, Cherokees came in base and plush Limited trim.

Yearly Updates

1991 Cherokee
A 4-door Sport Cherokee joined the 2-door Sport, and a new Briarwood replaced the Wagoneer Limited, retaining woodgrain bodyside graphics. Four-cylinder horsepower rose from 121 to 130. All but the base model came with the 6-cylinder engine, which gained 13 horsepower.
1992 Cherokee
Cherokees showed little change.
1993 Cherokee
A new upscale Grand Cherokee arrived for 1993, dropping this regular Cherokee line down a notch. Jeep dropped its top-line Cherokees to highlight the difference.
1994 Cherokee
New safety features included side door-guard beams and a center high-mounted stoplamp.
1995 Cherokee
A driver-side airbag arrived in 1995, and the base SE model gained reclining front bucket seats. Three models went on sale: SE, Sport, and Country (the latter 4-door only). Four-cylinder Cherokees became available later in the season with a 3-speed automatic transmission.
1996 Cherokee
The 4-cylinder dropped five horsepower, to 125, and was no longer available with the 3-speed automatic transmission. Cherokee would be redesigned for 1997.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Cherokees may have either a 4-cylinder engine or a 4.0-liter inline 6-cylinder, the latter developing 177 horsepower in 1990. Both engines gained power in 1991, growing to 130 and 190 horsepower, respectively. For 1996, the 4-cylinder lost five horses and sixes reached peak horsepower and torque at lower rpm than before. Command-Trac 4WD is a part-time system with shift-on-the-fly capability. Selec-Trac is a full-time system that can be used on smooth, dry pavement.

ohv I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/151
Engine HP 121-130
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 141-150
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual

19/22

ohv I6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/242
Engine HP 177-190
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 224-225
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
17/22
15/19
17.0
15.0

Road Test

The base 4-cylinder Cherokee’s engine is adequate with manual shift, weak under a heavy load, and downright feeble and unresponsive if hooked to an automatic transmission. With either transmission, the robust 6-cylinder engine lets you sprint away from stoplights and quickly pass other vehicles. Expect about 17 mpg with a manual-shift six, or 15 mpg with automatic. All models have higher-than-average wind, road, and engine noise.

These vehicles are spacious inside for their modest exterior dimensions–though not quite comparable to the Grand Cherokee or a Ford Explorer. Four sit in comfort. Head room is generous all around, and with a little squeezing, back seats accommodate three adults. Folding that rear seatback produces great luggage space, with a long and flat floor, and volume is acceptable with the seatback up. The long steering column puts the wheel too close to the driver’s chest.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4-door 6-cylinder

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 2
20%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 3
30%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 7
70%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 39

Specifications

2-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
101.4 166.9 67.7 63.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
71.8 20.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 38.5 41.4 34.9
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
101.4 166.9 67.7 63.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
71.8 20.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 38.5 41.4 34.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Cherokee 2-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 80
Injury 69
Theft 102

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: If the air conditioner gradually stops cooling, the computer (PCM) may not be sending a signal to the compressor-clutch relay to cycle off, which causes the A/C evaporator to freeze up. (1991-95)
Automatic transmission
Description: If the transmission will not engage when first started, chances are the torque converter is draining down. A check valve in the fluid line leading to the transmission cooler should fix the problem. (1993) If the transmission won’t upshift for about the first quarter mile in cool weather, it is probably due to defective cast-iron seal rings in the governor drive. (1993-94)
Oil leak
Description: The rear main seals on 2.5- and 4.0-liter engines are prone to leakage if the vehicle is operated in dirty conditions. (1991-96)
Suspension problems
Description: Front end shimmy may continue long after hitting a bump or pothole requiring revised lower control arms be installed. (1999-01)
Transmission leak
Description: Automatic-transmission fluid leaks from the speed sensor in the transmission. (1993-94)

Recall History

1990 w/ABS
Description: Hydraulic fluid may be contaminated.
1990 w/4.0-liter engine and automatic
Description: Could have intermittent high idle speed.
1990-91 w/ABS
Description: Improper insertion/crimping of hose fittings can result in loss of ABS function.
1990-91 w/ABS
Description: Hydraulic control unit for antilock braking system can experience excessive brake-actuator piston-seal wear, which could lead to loss of antilock function and reduced power assist.
1990-96 in 15 states and Washington, D.C.
Description: Front-disc brake rotors can experience severe corrosion if operated for extensive period in “salt belt”; can eventually compromise structural integrity, allowing wear surface to separate from hub.
1991
Description: Jounce bumper could contact and collapse left rear brake tube.
1991 w/ABS
Description: Brake-fluid tube may contact steering shaft and result in leakage.
1993
Description: Retainer clip that secures master-cylinder rod to brake pedal was not installed properly.
1993-96
Description: High steering loads can cause steering-gear bolts to break or frame to crack.
1994
Description: Rear-seatbelt bolts may not support passengers in sudden stop.
1995
Description: Certain airbags might not deploy in an accident.
1995
Description: Parking-brake handle-release button can separate, so parking brake may not hold and vehicle could roll inadvertently.
1996
Description: Fasteners that secure alternator fuse could have improper clamp load; arcing could cause fire in engine compartment.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.