Jeep Cherokee XJ Compact SUV Review

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The legendary 4×4 SUV vehicle is about to return very soon. Well, we expect the Jeep Cherokee XJ ever since the company announced a new platform and mentioned this old dog as a possible replacement for Jeep Liberty. However, from 2013 to now, nothing happened. But, let’s see what could 2019/2020 bring if the XJ reappears.

The first Jeep Cherokee XJ showed up in dealerships in 1984. Back then, it presented a revolutionary style. For people that lived in suburban areas, this was a great vehicle for all needs – a truck that also gets elements of a car. Nowadays, we can witness SUVs and crossovers getting the utility and luxury together. All of them have to thank Cherokee XJ as a pioneer in this segment.

So, people recognized the 4×4 as the perfect combination for their needs. Also, Jeep stepped up with a revolutionary design, which also drew attention. Variations with 8- and 10-bar grille were choices. The SUV lasted until 2001. After three million copies sold, the Jeep Cherokee XJ was discontinued. Jeep Liberty succeeded it, and now, when this model is gone too, there is a space for Cherokee XJ to come back.

Jeep Cherokee XJ redesign

Why Is Jeep Cherokee XJ Discontinued?

Poor sales? We wouldn’t say so. The Jeep Cherokee XJ is one of the best-selling products the company ever had. But, when Wolfgang Bernhard stepped into the charge as Chrysler director in 2000, he wasn’t a fan of the XJ. He said it is an old model and the company needs changes. That lead to the discontinuation in 2001 and replacement in 2002 with Jeep Liberty. Well, the XJ delayed the termination in some other countries for a while. But, it didn’t save this lineup from the final cut.

The Comeback

Of course, fans were stunned by this move. It came out of nowhere. For 12 years Jeep didn’t mention the XJ. And then, when the Liberty SUV saw its discontinuation, Chrysler, owner of the Jeep brand, presented a new concept. Spokesmen said that will be the new Cherokee XJ, built on the compact U.S. wide platform.

So, the company is about to use a proven nameplate when the competition is growing. The SUV range is larger every day, and the FCA need a reinforcement. The Jeep Cherokee XJ is a familiar name (not the face). But, we can expect some old cues to bring back the memories to one of the most successful 4×4 during the 80s and 90s.

Jeep Cherokee XJ comeback


When stories about the new Jeep Cherokee XJ appeared, the company already released engine possibilities. There are no many options. A 2.4-liter Tigershark unit is a four-cylinder engine that is capable to produce between 178 hp (Ram ProMaster City) and 184 hp (Fiat Toro and Jeep Cherokee). The same mill can deliver 171, 175, or 179 lb-ft of torque. These are respectable numbers, but fans would like to see some larger displacement.

Back in 2013, a 3.2-liter V6 was mentioned as the option. The same one is used by Jeep Cherokee, but the XJ is about to take the position in the SUV class, not a crossover. It is possible to see the new model with a 3.6-liter Pentastar powertrain. We doubt engineers will tune it to burst more than 305 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. We can see these numbers performing great in Dodge Challenger.

Jeep Cherokee XJ Diesel

Another possibility is to see the Jeep Cherokee XJ getting the power from a diesel engine. Jeep Wrangler will appear in Europe with a 2.2-liter unit. The XJ could use it outside the US. But, the FCA is seriously considering adding this drivetrain to the USA lineup. It is not impossible since the mill can meet emission standards. The SUV will definitely need a lot of torque for an off-road ride, so it can bring back memories of unstoppable 4×4 it used to be in the 80s and 90s.

Jeep Cherokee XJ specs

Jeep Cherokee XJ Redesign

The new Jeep Cherokee XJ will be an enlarged version of the regular Cherokee. Well, the XJ could use a body-on-frame platform as well. The FCA will move Dodge Durango to this architecture, and Cherokee XJ could join it. But, it is more likely that SUV will stay on the compact U.S. wide platform.

The look of the vehicles will combine modern cues of Jeep vehicles and classic Cherokee details. Well, in these 17 years a lot of things have changed. The old SUV wouldn’t have a chance in today’s market. Modernization, on the other hand, in combination with a rich heritage, could position it pretty high right from the start.

Jeep Cherokee XJ Future

Well, the arrival of the Jeep Cherokee XJ is still questionable. We expected the old-school vehicle to be the next-gen of the outgoing Liberty in 2013. Instead, the company launched Cherokee KL. However, many fans are still eager to see the XJ, even in some limited or off-road 4×4 variant.


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