Thursday, March 5, 2015

10k: Low Mile 4X4: 2000 Jeep Cherokee XJ Sport

Launched in 1984, AMC's XJ generation Jeep Cherokee set the standard for a new era of compact sport utility vehicles (SUVs).  Other manufacturers raced to copy the fast selling unibody off-roader and only caught up when Chrysler dropped the ball on continuous improvement.  It may have been whoa in 1984, but by Y2k it was meh and was replaced in 2001 with the bleh Jeep Liberty.  Find this 2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport here on eBay currently bidding for $10,200 with 3 days to go, located in Woodbury, NJ.


Technically, the XJ  still uses a ladder box frame, but it is incorporated into the XJ Cherokee's unibody shell instead of in a typical body-on-frame setup.  The end result is a car that has the off-road and hauling capability of a truck without the chassis squeaks and ponderous mass of a typical SUV based truck.  At 3400 lbs the XJ weighs about as much as a modern 4-cylinder powered Audi compact sport sedan. 

Power comes from a 4.0 liter (242 cubic inch) Chrysler built (based on the AMC design) inline-6 that is multi-point-fuel-injected to produce 190 horsepower and 225 ft-lbs of torque...or about as much as the typical 4-banger powered Audi sedan...the similarities for a vehicle so entirely different in concept are interesting...



Why do I keep rambling on about the Audi A4 -- okay, here it is.  In 1990 when an upper-middle class suburban Mom/Dad wanted a car, the XJ was on the short list, but the Liberty was such a bizarrely styled pile of excrement that the buyers had to go elsewhere...and they flocked to Audi dealerships like moths to a flame.  How else can you explain where all those B5 A4 buyers came from with the ?  They were subsequently burned by the 1.8T's miserable reliability figures (it went through coil packs faster than hungry polar bear can eat baby penguins covered in molasses) and moved on to Lexus/Mercedes/Lincoln (haha -- just joking about Lincoln, their current buyers come from insane asylums and lobotomy clinics) dealers a few years later. 


See another low mile XJ for sale? Send it here: tips@dailyturismo.com


27 comments:

  1. After having owned a '96 XJ 6 cyl 5-spd 4x4 and inexplicably traded it on an Acura Integra after 2 years... I've been looking for ways to get back into the XJ game. Unfortunately this one has the wrong transmission and is priced [waaaaaaay] outside of my price range.

    It's really rare to find these things in un-cut, un-molested condition ESPECIALLY in the northeast where these things were what the Subaru Outback is now but back in the '80's and 90's.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fleetwood T. BroughamMarch 5, 2015 at 7:54 AM

    Technically, in 1990 the hypothetical buyers you speak of would have had trouble locating an A4 or a Liberty in any dealership. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right you are. What I meant was --- in 1990 when an upper-middle class suburban Mom/Dad wanted a car, the XJ was on the short list, but 10 years later the Liberty was such a bizarrely styled pile of excrement that the buyers had to go elsewhere.

      Delete
    2. Good point. It was a terrible move. I wonder who decided to go in that direction? Did Daimler have anything to do with it? Obviously, Jeep needed a compact SUV and the concept is not a bad one. But why make it so poorly and cannibalize sales (starting in '07, I believe) with not one but two additional models... I get that the cars are actually different size-wise, but I don't know that the public ever perceived it differently.

      Delete
    3. It's long been my take that Daimler-Benz bought Chrysler thinking they could sell 'Chrysler' branded products for a lot of money, and they came up with the Crossfire and the Pacifica quickly and stuck them in the showrooms and they went nowhere, and they panicked.

      They'd already started spending money on the 300 and the Jeep Commander and couldn't pull the plug on those, and they got into the showrooms more or less as planned and did well. But DC decided to bail out at that point, shopping the company around for whatever they could get. They cut capital expenditures to the bone after the 300 and Commander, and everything that followed was utter crap.

      Delete
  3. The 4.0 is a pretty powerful engine. With a stick it is a blast to drive. I always liked the cherokee limited with the color matched or gold eniki style wheels.

    Whats with a jet photo? I a little r&r from looking at all exterior shots?
    [img]http://imagehost.vendio.com/a/35026819/view/IMG_2551.JPG[/img]

    ReplyDelete
  4. So yesterday Blogger was double-posting every comment I posted, today it just eats them...ah well..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, what you are trying to say is that in the last two days for every one attempt at posting a comment, you are getting one actual post...on average. I don't see the problem.

      When I get some time, I'm going to dig into the commenting issues and see if another item on the page is messing it up. In the meantime...sorry!!

      Delete
    2. I suppose if you aggregated all the words over a three-month period the count would be about the same, so...

      Delete
    3. TIL nearly everyone has more than the average number of legs

      Delete
    4. Are you posting from a mobile device or a desktop?

      Delete
    5. Desktop. Chrome browser. Things seem fine today.

      Delete
    6. Hmm. Interesting. You're using Blogger, logged in? None of that should affect things. Weird. Is DT using magazine style? That would be out of the user's control and a question for the DT admin.

      Delete
  5. Let's try this again, then:

    The XJ was very simple mechanically though they did a good job with the old AMC six, it was a product of the K-Car-Era Chrysler so it was cheaply built with crap switchgear and tiny seats, it wasn't very roomy, but they hit one thing that everyone else missed even if it was right under their noses, and so they ended up OWNING the market for five years.

    What was it?

    Doors.

    Here's my top-of-the-head list of every four-door SUV available in 1984: the Suburban (a tarted-up ten-year-old full-size truck design), the Land Cruiser (slow, very trucklike, horrible freeway vehicle, $$$) and the Isuzu Trooper (nice vehicle but styling by Duplo-wielding three-year-olds and not much under the hood.)

    Audi didn't eat Jeep's lunch, the guys at Ford who bandsawed the Bronco II in half and stuck in another pair of doors did. The even nicer second-generation 4Runner, the stretched Pathfinder, and the well-we've-got-to-have-something-to-sell Blazer/Jimmy hit the market in that same window at the end of the '80s and suddenly the XJ just seemed cramped and cheap. Its real replacement in that segment was the ZJ and it would have done them a world of good to get it to market a couple years earlier, but Jeep kept the Cherokee around anyway to nail down lowest bid on all those fleet purchases. Lots of construction foremen and utility engineers still running around in old XJs.

    Less said about the Liberty (or the Nitro, or the Caliber, or the Patriot, or so many of the other junkers Daimler-Chrysler pushed out the door after DB lost interest) the better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, forgot Jeep was still selling the Wagoneer in '84.

      Delete
    2. The Range Rover too, but as a gazillion dollar gray-market import, it was hardly a threat to the Cherokee's dominance.

      Delete
    3. @mrkwong - In your previous comment regarding the beginnings of the XJ Cherokee, were you implying that the vehicles were cheaply built with horribly-made switchgear?

      I owned a 1992 Cherokee Laredo a few years ago and I thought the build quality was excellent. You may remember that in 1987, AMC was purchased by Chrysler. By 1990, the overall construction quality of the XJ series and other Jeeps had improved dramatically.

      Delete
  6. @pj - Yes, the material quality at least in the ones friends had in the '80s was...well, no worse than the Detroit standard of the day, but the Detroit standard of the '80s is why Toyota and Honda occupy the place in the market they have today.

    The biggest problem I had with it from a driving standpoint is just that the seats were undersized (a problem I think typical of Chrysler product of the era, they shrunk the seats to try to make the interiors look larger, I don't mind narrow seats but I have fairly long legs and need a longer lower cushion) and the footwells were narrow.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Does this solve all the XJ problems?

    http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/cto/4911446552.html

    [img]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-d_M7wEQTYc8/VPkDgnUn7TI/AAAAAAAAPJI/gljxP8JSsdw/s1600/WTF_XJ.jpg[/img]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, did anyone else check this thing out? It's....different that's for sure. I'm not decided if I absolutely love it or it's its horrible or both. Looks like it was built well though and I've never seen another one

      Delete
    2. Man they're still trying to sell that thing? It's been on Los Angeles CL for at least 2 years. Kind of... scary.

      Delete
  8. In my experience the Jeeps big six was not all that reliable. Maybe it was compared to the German 1.8T. I recall a friend replacing a head gasket at about 75K on a babied Jeep that his mom drove. That is the one that sticks out, but I'm sure there are others. I've always liked these though. Am I wrong on the reliability?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes...the 4.0 liter I-6 ain't perfect, but it's a fantastic engine.

      Delete
    2. The 4.0 had cooling problems on the last cylinder. They had a tendency to blow the head-gasket's or do other nefarious damage, especially to that one cylinder.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the input! Makes sense too because even though it was babied during daily driving I'm sure it was taken down a mining trail or two on the weekends. I vividly recall going down the steepest grade I've ever ridden down in a vehicle in that jeep. I had to duck as cargo was raining down from the rear. I think I was hit in the head by a boombox...

      Delete
  9. I got one of these as a "reliable" winter capable car. After the several years of constant repairs I realized that if I'm doing all those repairs anyway I might as well do them on something that isn't horrible to drive (Like an A4!). Ride : horrible, steering : horrible, brakes : adequate (until the brake like rusted through), acceleration : adequate, when the engine was working. One thing you realize driving these is that they're very small. Slightly more interior volume as my RAV4. And probably the same as one of my legacies. Parts are super cheap, and they should be because the quality is awful. Mileage was in the teens at best. I wanted to like this car real bad but it was just constantly kicking me in the shins. Replaced it with a Sienna which is quieter, faster, gets better mileage, has vastly more interior space , and does decent in the snow. Nope, the cherokee was not for me, my a4 was about the same amount of work but it wasn't horrible to drive.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Another reason I think these have become difficult to find in unmolested shape is the Cash for Clunkers program. It was the 6th most traded in vehicle.

    ReplyDelete

Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint Eastwood...it don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="http://www.IMAGE_LINK.com" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.