Monday, March 30, 2015

10k: Clean XJ: 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport

The XJ generation Jeep Cherokee defined a new standard in compact sport utility vehicles.  It was a capable off roader that eschewed body-on-frame roughness for a unibody chassis that gave it relatively good fuel economy and good road manners.  Naturally, every weekend warrior, little league dad, and soccer mom wanted one and even the US postal service got a version with right-hand drive for delivery routes.  Find this 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport here on eBay currently bidding for $9,301 with 4 days to go, located in Woodbury, NJ.


The XJ was  sold in North America from 1984 through 2001, so this car fits right into the paradigm of always buying the best of a particular generation.  If the car hasn't been through some massive and hideous cosmetic upgrade, the last cars to leave the assembly line will benefit from years of manufacturing and voice of the customer improvements that should translate directly into durability. 


The engine in this Cherokee is a 4.0 liter AMC inline-6 fed via Chrysler multi point fuel injection and rated at 193 horsepower and 231 ft-lbs of torque in "high output" spec.  It isn't a thrilling engine, but the big inline-6 will produce smooth torque at idle speeds and last for decades.


Most Cherokees have been beaten to a pulp over the years, but this one has only 72k miles and  had one-owner for most of its life, before the current seller picked it up for resale. 


 See another 4X4 that is too nice to turn into a dune crawler or use as a beater, but is sort of a garage classic that doesn't look like it should be?  tips@dailyturismo.com

23 comments:

  1. It took me a while to figure that icon was a cream puff. At first glance, it looked like a four-wheeled sheep with a beret....

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    1. Lordy, thank you, Bob; I didn't know what it was, either. I now also know what a cream puff looks like. Turns out I've had a few cream puffs in my life, I guess, and they were pretty tasty. I. Like. Cream puffs.

      Good to know.

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    2. I think it looks like a big rolling cow patty that is getting a shave....but Kaibeezy assured me it was a cream puff.

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    3. Great. Now I'm hungry - for the cream puff, not whatever everybody else is seeing. It's a DT rorschach test!

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  2. I don't know why, but I'm always surprised by how cramped these are inside.

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    1. Oh yeah, and I dare anyone taller than 4'1" to try and sit in the back seat. If you have legs, you'll find that task impossible. Either your knees will be up by your ears, or your neck will be kind of cocked sideways... though I can confirm, having driven one of these in high school, that with the rear seats folded flat a 6'2" individual and a 5'2" individual can fit comfortably in the supine position (among [many] others). On a completely unrelated note, if you try to clean the headliner with anything other than a dry cloth, it will come unglued and start to sag.

      On this particular unit, it looks like the (re)seller has replaced the exhaust. (S)he did the same thing on the last one they sold (5 March 2015). Strange because the factory exhaust on ours lasted over 100,000 miles... and this is the vehicle we used to launch our boat in the ocean, and was the designated Maine winter beater.

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    2. Here's my Q for all you Cherokeers; so why this over something like a Wrangler or 4Runner? I get that these could actually go off-road, but if that wasn't a factor why buy one? The closest I ever got was nearly buying a Gladiator. I didn't and bought a Trooper instead (though I should have bought a Montero at the time instead). By the time this '01 hit the showroom, the technology had surpassed it. If I recall correctly, the design really dates back to the mid-80s. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, I just wonder why anybody would pick a cramped off-roader when there were plenty of other options. MSRP must have had something to do with it....? Not trying to start a fight here (for once), just honestly curious.

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    3. Cheaper price, cheaper parts, didn't have the Japan stigma for the good 'ol 'Murican boys.

      I don't really know why, but I guess these were still more "offroad" tuned than the 4runner was in 2001. If given a visual comparison between the Cherokee and the 4runner in the mid to late 90's, I would definitely pick the Cherokee as the one who would do better offroad. But I'm sure in reality, the 4runner is just as capable, if not more.

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    4. So why not the Wrangler? Because the Cherokee was completely enclosed? Then what about all of the other similar vehicles, like the Blazer? Was the Blazer (and stablemates) just not as off-road ready?

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    5. First, price. Wrangler and 4Runner are both on a different price-level than a Cherokee. A complete beater 97+ Wrangler or 96+ 4Runner 6 cyl 4x4 can be had for $4k. A sorted 97-2001 Cherokee 4x4 6 cyl can be had for $4k.

      Second, subjectively the 4Runner is a better vehicle. I've owned both: currently own a '98 4Runner and previously a '96 Cherokee sport 6 cyl 5 spd 4x4 and '97 Cherokee sport 6 cyl auto 4x4.

      The 4Runner is slightly better on gas (observed), tows the same, and is more reliable (again, observed) once you're on the "other" side of 150k miles. Stock for stock the 4Runner is better off-road in my experience.

      Cherokee with the 6 cyl is shorter, wider, has a lower CG, faster, more torques, feels lighter and more nimble, and stock for stock has a lower step-in and rear seat height.

      Overall, I lean towards the 4Runner. I'd trust my wife and kid in it. It's more refined and livable compared to the Jeep. Plus it has more interior people and cargo room.

      I miss the Cherokee, and I love the 4Runner. If it were just me in this family, I'd buy another Cherokee in a heartbeat. Since it isn't, and my wife just learned how to drive a stick, I'm searching for a unicorn to stand in on off-road duties for our current 4Runner while the brother-in-law uses it out in NC (the 2015 CX-5 we just bought is NOT an off-roader). The unicorn I seek is a 96-2002 4Runner 4 cyl 4x4 5-spd. I've only ever seen one in person in my life. If I can't find one within my price range (read: milk money) that isn't completely flintstone'd out, I'm going to build one.

      Phew that was way longer than I expected it to be.

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    6. Thanks for your feedback, RyanM! I'm cogitating more questions...

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    7. Not the wrangler because price, and an even more limited rear seat space/access. The Blazer (S10/15 size) was an awful, toilet of an also-ran. I'm sure someone will come out of the woodwork and say how great theirs is, but they've probably never driven a Cherokee or 4Runner. I'd lump the Blazer et. al in with the Ford Explorer of similar vintage... though I'd buy an Explorer (especially the 90-94) any day over a Blazer of similar age/pedigree.

      The Blazer and later Explorers were trying to cover too wide of a spread. Trying to be decent at everything. They ended up sucking at basically everything that mattered to people like us. The Cherokee at least knew what it was and didn't bother with trying to be refined or have better on-road handling.

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    8. But given that all of the cars we're talking about are available used, what are the compelling reasons to buy a Cherokee? I'm guessing the Wrangler and other SUVs we've discussed are still a bit pricier, which brings up an interesting point about the Cherokee. It occupied a niche for a number of years and continues to even as a used car. Given the original MSRP, the current values are pretty darn good compared to, say, a six-digit Euro-mobile. Not for me, but interesting nonetheless.

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    9. Interesting that you want a 4 banger manual 4Runner. Why no V6 or automatic? Why so picky...and you want it for nothing? Ah, the conundrum of the picky enthusiast...here's what I found with a very quick search.

      1999 Toyota 4Runner 4WD

      2000 toyota 4 runner

      1996 toyota 4runner

      1996 Toyota 4RUNNER

      There are more out there. Tell me a rough geographical area and I'll see what I can dig up.

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    10. So this Cherokee is probably going to go for $10K+. Again, I have to ask why this over a GC?

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    11. And if cheap is the chief concern for the Chief, there are certain plenty of cheap Jeep GCs out there. A WJ only dates back to 1999...I'm afraid the charms of an XJ Cherokee are still lost on me. Of course, I'm not the target market so I suppose I'll just shut up. But it's still interesting to ponder who, why and what.

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    12. What about Subaru's?

      90's subarus especially outbacks and foresters are very capable both on road and off road. They even sell lift kits for both.

      Any thoughts?

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    13. I thought the same thing, timbuck2. But if a person is solely focused on "buying American" then they'll most likely just dismiss the Subaru brand out of hand. They're missing out, I think, and I'm in agreement with you.

      My other thought was quad-cab trucks. But they're most likely too bulky and currently retain too much residual value. It really is interesting what niche the Cherokee occupies.

      I don't profess to understand SUVs for most folks and they make very little sense to me in general. It seems to me that it's more about the image than anything else. Seeing a SUV that actually appears to have been off-road is such a rare occurrence, at least around here, that it makes me think that's true of most geographical areas where people don't live out in the wilderness. The game changes where a person actually has to go off the beaten path and that makes more sense to me. The folks that actually do that are really pretty few and far between.

      Even towing a boat...there are plenty of vehicles out there that can haul tons of stuff and a boat and not suffer from SUVitis. I mean, which would you rather drive; a Chevy Traverse (rated for 5,200 lbs) or a BMW 5 Series GT (4,630 lbs)? I'm clearly not fan of the roundel and even I'd make a bad dash for the German wallet-emptying ungainly-mobile in a hot minute over the American snooze-missile.

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/Vg4kQ1s.jpg?1[/img]

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    14. On the other hand, CUVs make perfect sense to me. If people want a tall station wagon with a raised H-point...that I get.

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/8sB8NWV.jpg?1[/img]

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    15. AMC Eagle was an amazing design. I personally really like them. Hard to find a good example out there. SMOG parts killed many of them out in the west if rust didn't do it in the east.

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    16. I'd imagine 2-door Cherokees are more desirable. Are they?

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  3. They are cramped and the seats were designed by people who don't sit. But I wish they still made them.

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  4. I bought mine 4 years ago with 72K on the odo as well... Price was $4,000. OK, I had to put $2,000 into it to get it fully sorted for VA inspection, but in the end I got a great beater for $6,000. Mine is also in very good condition, but the asking price in the Ebay ad is $12,900... Fughedaboutdit! Go to your local CL and find a good example for less than half the asking price here...

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