Jeep Cherokee XJ (1984 - 2001)

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About Jeep Cherokee XJ

Jeep Cherokee XJ History

The Jeep Cherokee XJ holds a special place in the hearts of off-road enthusiasts and automotive historians alike, as it represents a significant chapter in the storied history of Jeep vehicles. Introduced in 1984 as a compact SUV, the Cherokee XJ quickly gained a reputation for its rugged capability, innovative design, and versatility.

One of the most distinctive features of the Cherokee XJ was its unibody construction, a departure from the traditional body-on-frame design of other SUVs at the time. This construction method not only reduced weight but also improved on-road handling and comfort without compromising off-road performance. Combined with its relatively compact dimensions, the Cherokee XJ became a trailblazer in the burgeoning SUV market, appealing to both urban commuters and outdoor adventurers alike.

Under the hood, the Cherokee XJ offered a range of powertrain options over its production span, including robust inline-four and inline-six engines known for their durability and torque. This power, coupled with available four-wheel drive systems and rugged suspension setups, made the Cherokee XJ a formidable off-road performer, capable of conquering challenging terrain with ease.

Throughout its production run, which lasted until 2001 in the United States (and until 2005 in other markets), the Cherokee XJ received various updates and refinements. These included improvements in interior comfort, technological advancements, and enhancements to its off-road capability. However, its iconic boxy shape and timeless design remained largely unchanged, contributing to its enduring appeal among enthusiasts.

Beyond its success as a consumer vehicle, the Cherokee XJ also found favor in military and government applications, further cementing its reputation for reliability and durability. Its adaptability and ruggedness made it a popular choice for various roles, including reconnaissance, patrol, and utility transport.

Even after production ceased, the Cherokee XJ continued to be cherished by enthusiasts worldwide, with a thriving aftermarket community supporting modifications, restoration, and customization. Its legacy lives on not only in the hearts of those who owned and admired it but also in the countless trails it conquered and adventures it enabled during its remarkable tenure as a Jeep icon.

Jeep Cherokee XJ Specs

The Jeep Cherokee XJ is an iconic compact SUV that gained popularity for its rugged design and off-road capabilities. Here's a technical breakdown of its specifications:

Engine Options:

  • The Cherokee XJ was offered with a range of engine options throughout its production years.
  • The most common engine is the 4.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine, renowned for its durability and torquey performance.
  • Other engine options include a 2.5-liter inline-four cylinder engine.


  • Typically paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual transmission, providing smooth shifting and versatile performance.


  • Available in both rear-wheel drive (2WD) and four-wheel drive (4WD) configurations.
  • The 4WD models feature a part-time or full-time system with high and low range gearing, enabling superior traction on various terrains.


  • Utilizes a solid front axle and leaf springs in the rear, contributing to its robust off-road capability and ruggedness.
  • Offers good articulation and ground clearance, allowing it to tackle challenging off-road obstacles with ease.


  • Length: Approximately 165 inches.
  • Width: Around 67 inches.
  • Height: Varies depending on model and suspension setup.
  • Wheelbase: Typically around 101 inches.


  • The 4.0-liter inline-six engine delivers ample low-end torque, making it well-suited for off-road adventures and towing.
  • Capable of tackling steep inclines, rocky trails, and muddy terrain without breaking a sweat.
  • Despite its off-road prowess, it also offers respectable on-road performance and handling.

Fuel Economy:

  • Varies depending on engine choice, transmission, and driving conditions.
  • Generally ranges from around 15 to 20 miles per gallon (mpg) combined.

Safety Features:

  • Basic safety features for its era, including seat belts, airbags (in later models), and optional anti-lock brakes.
  • Its sturdy construction and solid build quality contribute to its overall safety reputation.

Interior Features:

  • Offers seating for up to five passengers, with ample headroom and legroom.
  • Depending on trim level and year, may include features such as power windows, power locks, air conditioning, and a basic audio system.
  • Cargo space is decent for its size, with a rear liftgate or tailgate for easy loading and unloading of gear.


  • The Cherokee XJ has earned a cult following among off-road enthusiasts and remains highly sought after for its simplicity, reliability, and capability.
  • Its timeless design and legendary durability have cemented its status as a classic within the Jeep lineup.

Popular Jeep Cherokee XJ Parts

The Jeep Cherokee XJ, a beloved classic in the world of off-roading and rugged adventure, has a vibrant aftermarket scene with a plethora of popular parts sought after by enthusiasts looking to enhance their vehicle's capabilities and style. Here's a rundown of some of the most sought-after upgrades and modifications:

  1. Lift Kits: Elevating the Cherokee XJ is practically a rite of passage for many enthusiasts. Lift kits provide increased ground clearance, allowing for larger tires and improved off-road performance. Popular brands like Rubicon Express, Rough Country, and Skyjacker offer various lift heights to suit different needs, from mild to extreme.
  2. Bumpers: Upgrading to aftermarket bumpers not only enhances the Cherokee's aesthetics but also adds functionality. Heavy-duty steel bumpers from manufacturers like ARB, Smittybilt, and JCR Offroad provide improved protection, integrated winch mounts, and mounting points for auxiliary lighting.
  3. Rock Sliders and Skid Plates: Off-roading can subject the Cherokee's undercarriage to punishing terrain. Rock sliders and skid plates from companies like Poison Spyder, Rusty's Off-Road, and Rugged Ridge offer vital protection against rocks, stumps, and other obstacles, safeguarding vulnerable components like the fuel tank and transfer case.
  4. LED Lighting: Upgrading to LED headlights, fog lights, and light bars not only enhances visibility but also adds a modern touch to the Cherokee's appearance. Brands such as Rigid Industries, KC HiLiTES, and JW Speaker offer a wide range of lighting options tailored to fit the XJ.
  5. Performance Upgrades: Whether it's improving horsepower, torque, or fuel efficiency, there's no shortage of performance upgrades available for the Cherokee XJ. Cold air intakes, exhaust systems, and performance chips from companies like K&N, Borla, and Superchips can unlock additional power and throttle response.
  6. Wheels and Tires: Swapping out the factory wheels and tires for larger, more aggressive ones is a popular modification among Cherokee owners. Brands like Mickey Thompson, BFGoodrich, and Goodyear offer a variety of off-road tires, while aftermarket wheels from Pro Comp, Method Race Wheels, and Black Rhino provide both style and durability.
  7. Suspension Upgrades: Beyond lift kits, aftermarket suspension components such as control arms, sway bar disconnects, and track bars can further improve the Cherokee's off-road prowess and on-road handling. Companies like Iron Rock Off Road, TeraFlex, and Clayton Off Road offer comprehensive suspension upgrade packages.
  8. Interior Accessories: Enhancing the Cherokee's interior can make off-road adventures more comfortable and enjoyable. Popular interior accessories include all-weather floor mats, seat covers, storage solutions, and upgraded audio systems from brands like WeatherTech, Coverking, Tuffy Security Products, and Alpine.

These are just a few examples of the myriad aftermarket parts available for the Jeep Cherokee XJ, allowing owners to customize and personalize their vehicles to suit their individual preferences and off-road ambitions. Whether it's tackling challenging trails or cruising the urban jungle, the Cherokee XJ can be transformed into the ultimate adventure machine with the right upgrades.