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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For Image; genuine ability off-road; good equipment

Against Costs a lot to run; cramped; poor reliability

Verdict Lots of kudos but it’s poor in too many areas

Go for… 4.0 Limited

Avoid… 2.5 Sport

Jeep Cherokee 4x4
  • 1. Suspension is the largest cause of trouble in Cherokees of this age
  • 2. Accommodation in the rear is cramped for any passengers
  • 3. For the size of car, the boot is a poor size
  • 4. The Cherokee's running gear is another major cause of complaints
  • 5. The dashboard is a pain to use because of its poor ergonomics
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Jeep Cherokee 4x4 full review with expert trade views

With the possible exception of Land Rover, Jeep is just about the most famous name in off-roading. Like all the company’s products, the Cherokee is a very good off-roader. It looks the part, too - tough, rough and rugged.

Unfortunately, it’s too rough on the road. The ride is uncomfortable, the steering vague and there’s too much body roll in corners. To cap it all, the engines are very noisy. Unless you particularly want a car to go off-road, you’ll be better off in something like a Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V.

The cabin is also far from impressive. The dashboard is a pain to use because of its poor ergonomics, the seats don’t give enough support and the view out isn’t great.

Worst of all, for such a big car, the rear and boot are both very cramped. Access is also awkward to the rear seats.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Poor quality, feels cheap and costs a fortune to run. Unreliable diesel

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There were only ever three engines in the Cherokee, and biggest is best. Ignore the two 2.5-litre units and head straight for the six-cylinder 4.0-litre.

Of these two 2.5-litre units, the diesel at least has reasonable fuel economy – well, if you can call 30mpg reasonable. The sluggish 2.5 petrol is best avoided.

As long as you steer clear of the most basic Sport model, and buy a Limited version, you’ll get plenty of equipment, including air-con. A range-topping Orvis version was introduced in March 1999 (T-reg onwards), but the Limited is so well equipped it’s not worth spending the extra few hundred quid.

Because of the car’s age, most models are now outside the Jeep network, so it’s essential you shop around to find a good car. Look out for a full history and avoid any car that looks as if it’s been neglected.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Still bought to do a job so it needs to be a 2.5TD Limited

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Buying a Cherokee isn’t too expensive. Compared with the likes of the CR-V, RAV4 and even the Land Rover Freelander, it’s a pretty cheap used car.

However, the running costs – and its fuel economy, in particular – are far less attractive. You’ll struggle to get as much as 20mpg from the 4.0-litre model, and even the diesel can’t do any better than 30mpg in everyday motoring. Almost every rival can do better than that.

Likewise, insurance and routine maintenance costs are pretty dear, and on a par with larger cars such as the Land Rover Discovery. If you’re looking at the Cherokee as an alternative to a mainstream family car, you’re in for a shock.

Just about the only consolation is that labour rates at Jeep dealers are only a little higher than average.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Poor quality, feels cheap and costs a fortune to run. Unreliable diesel

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

As we’ve said, it’s crucial you find a good Cherokee. Neglected cars can be problematic, and the difference between good and bad cars can be huge.

Reliability is certainly a big problem, as figures from Warranty Direct prove. The Cherokee has emerged as one of the least reliable 4x4s on its books, with the suspension and running gear causing the trouble in half the cases.

Various recalls have also affected the car, but perhaps the most worrying were: a recall for cars built in early 1995 regarding the driver’s airbag; a 1996 problem with the handbrake; and another in 2000 where there were concerns that corrosion in the control module could cause the airbags to go off without warning.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Still bought to do a job so it needs to be a 2.5TD Limited

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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