A History of the Jeep® Cherokee XJ (1984-01)

This week we’re taking a look back at the Jeep® Cherokee XJ.  It launched in 1984 and was produced through 2001 selling over 2.1 million units.  This vehicle was a big seller in the Jeep lineup during that time frame.


Introduced in 1984 and riding on an all-new unibody platform, the Cherokee XJ was an instant hit and was immediately crowned “4X4 of the Year” by three separate publications.  AMC (the parent company at the time) was largely responsible for this success because of their strong belief in the future of SUVs, and their large investment into the development of the XJ.  The end result was simultaneously more manageable, refined and advanced than anything we had produced to date.  It was significantly smaller and lighter than the previous SJ Wagoneer, and offered door configuration and engine options.  In fact, the famous 4.0L Jeep six-cylinder was introduced on this model for several years after its introduction. Other unique features offered were the new Command-Trac® four-wheel-drive system and Quadra-Link® suspension.


The Cherokee XJ is definitely one of the most well-known models you’ll find in our ongoing blog series spotlighting 70 years of great Jeep® 4×4 vehicles. We’re not playing favorites here, just going by the numbers.


32 Responses to “A History of the Jeep® Cherokee XJ (1984-01)”

  1. It’s about time the XJ got featured on this site! Hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the last one was made. I have an ’01, and despite the electrical gremlins and the blistering roof paint, I couldn’t be more happy with the utilitarian nature of this vehicle. Respectable power and fuel mileage, manageable size, timeless looks, and unmatched durability, reliability, and longevity. I can’t say I’m on the “Bring back the XJ” bandwagon, but there is definitely something intangible about these rigs that just isn’t there with the ones coming out today…

  2. I have a 97 cherokee.  My parents got me started on the Jeep craze with a 90 cherokee 2 door sport.  We had so much fun with that Jeep.  I use my current cherokee as a family hauler.  I would love for Jeep to bring the Cherokee back with solid axles front and rear.  maybe a 110 in wheelbase to keep the large amount of cargo room but to mainly increase rear leg room.  by going to 110 inch wheel bases break-over angle will not increase dramatically and it will make it more family friendly.  If chrysler were smart they would look at the 4.0 and see what they can do to meet emission standards as well as increasing mileage.  The Cherokee is such an awesome vehicle with a few tweaks it will easily lead Jeep into the next decade helping to establish the Jeep name as environmentally friendly and rugged

  3. Awesome! Have two of these! Need to make them again. Whey did you guys stop making the best selling SUV in history???? 🙁 :S

  4. BrowncoatKal

    The first time I saw a Cherokee, I fell in love with it.  I wasn’t a Jeep fan at that point, I just really loved the look of the Cherokee and wanted one.  Well, years later that dream became a reality and I bought myself a used 1997 Cherokee.  I’ve had it now going on 11 years and love it.  I have also now become a Jeep nut and plan on my next vehicle being one.

  5. Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is fantastic, as well as the content!. Thanks For Your article about A History of the Jeep® Cherokee XJ (1984-01) | Jeep .

  6. The XJ was an absolutely FANTASTIC vehicle…I personally have owned 3 and I work on my parents when necessary. the 4.0L is possibly the most venerable and capable straight six out there. I am quite sad that I will have to watch as my XJ dies before me from the cancerous body rot that they are all prone to, however I take great pride in the fact that I KNOW it will not die in vein because these vehicles are workhorses, mine is no exception. Please with all that you have done to ruin the Jeep name and brand leave the XJ alone….let us remember and keep her as she is, don’t create one, molest its very nature, and then market it as some savior SUV. Chrysler and the Jeep team have successfully destroyed what it means to be a Jeep as it is today…let the old warriors stay as they are and let them die with valor! (unless of course you want to pick up where you left off in 2001 and just bring the factory back as it was in Toledo. That would be cool, I would go purchase one immediately if that were the case! you know with the old AW4 auto, 4.0L, and the NP231)

    • Carol L

      Own 2 Cherokees: ’01 Sport (blue) & ’99 Limited (white) — we even named ’em! Why this unique stands-out-on-the-road Jeep image ever skewed into a wannabe-lookalike Acura-Lexus-Audi snooty puss luxury “car” borders ad nauseam! C’mon Chrysler, get your head gaskets out of your exhaust pipes & realize Jeep is NOT a car and then bring back the best SUV … the XJ! Curious why Chrysler celebrating Wranglers by offering owners to find where their VINs fall on its 1M assembly log? What about XJ with its 2.8 million? I’d like to know! And to y’all Jeepsters out there … don’t forget that Jeep wave!

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  8. Reed, 34, has considered retirement after each of the last couple of seasons, and with his contract due to expire at season’s end, it may be a natural stopping point for the ball-hawking safety.

    But after Sunday’s win over the Indianapolis Colts, Reed insisted that his sole focus was on next week’s game at Denver, not his future.

  9. You have to wonder how this game would have turned out if Robert Griffin III hadn’t tweaked his knee in the first quarter and erased any chance he had of being effective under center.

    Or if Redskins coach Mike Shanahan had turned the offense over to Kirk Cousins, who has shown in the past that he can win games (as a backup and as a starter). Instead, Griffin might have hurt himself even worse in the fourth quarter on a botched snap, and Cousins had little chance to overcome a 10-point deficit.

  10. Tensions are building in a legal fight between maternal and paternal grandparents over who should get custody of an infant whose father, Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher, killed her mother before taking his own life.

    [img]http://a57.foxnews.com/global.fncstatic.com/static/managed/img/U.S./0/371/JovanBelcher.jpg[/img]Four-month-old Zoey Michelle Belcher is with her mother’s family in Texas, according to a lawyer for Jovan Belcher’s mother, Cheryl Shepherd
    Shepherd, of West Babylon, N.Y., had moved in with Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, about two weeks before the Dec. 1 shootings and was in the Kansas City home when her son fired several shots into Perkins’ body.

  11. The Dallas Cowboys fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

    Ryan was let go after the Cowboys missed the postseason for a third consecutive year. His firing ends a two-year tenure with the team.
    Under Ryan’s tutelage, the Cowboys ranked among the league’s top 20 total defenses, placing 14th in 2011 but slipping to 19th in 2012, perhaps in large part as a result of injuries to many of Dallas’ key defensive players.
    Ryan becomes the second casualty of the Cowboys’ coaching staff. Running backs coach Skip Peete was fired on Monday.

  12. Kurt Muzio

    1, it was over 2.8 million units, youre about 700,000 off.

    2, kill the new Cherokee and let the XJ and its legacy rest in peace if you aren’t going to make a worthy successor.

  13. blitz4075

    “A History of the Jeep Cherokee XJ (1984-01)”… one. paragraph. wow. good job there “writer”.


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