Buying a Used Jeep Cherokee: What You Should Know

The Jeep Cherokee was a hit when it was first introduced in the 1980s. It was the perfect combination of an off-road capable SUV and a spacious family hauler. Even today, the Jeep Cherokee remains popular for many of the same reasons, particularly among used SUV shoppers. But, before snagging a used Jeep Cherokee for yourself, there are a few things worth keeping in mind.

A first-generation Jeep Cherokee in the woods
A first-generation 1993 Jeep Cherokee | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images

The Jeep Cherokee has been around for a pretty long time

The Jeep Cherokee arrived on the automotive scene in 1984. According to Consumer Reports, first-generation models drove like a truck but offered decent enough handling in normal driving conditions. Two and four-door versions of the Jeep Cherokee were offered. First-generation models could also be had with either a four or six-cylinder engine under the hood. Both manual and automatic transmissions were available. Early models also offered plenty of space, both for passengers and cargo. 

Between 2002 and 2013, Jeep did not produce any new Jeep Cherokee models. It wasn’t until 2014 that the automaker introduced a new iteration of the Cherokee. Boasting a more futuristic look than the original model, second-generation models did retain the vehicle’s known off-road capabilities.

There’s plenty of choices when it comes to what’s under the hood of second-generation models too. Choose from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, a 3.2-liter V6, or a 270-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine that was introduced in 2019. All engines come teamed with a nine-speed automatic transmission, but according to Cars.com, it isn’t especially refined.

RELATED: The Worst Jeep Cherokee XJ Models You Should Never Buy

Reliability is a struggle

As it turns out, neither Consumer Reports nor J.D. Power has posted reliability ratings for first-generation models. However, there’s plenty of data out there to determine whether or not second-generation Jeep Cherokees are reliable. 

Unfortunately, according to Consumer Reports’ data, 2014-2016 models struggled in terms of reliability, and only managed a one out of five reliability verdict. J.D. Power, on the other hand, gave the 2014 and 2015 models an ‘Average’ quality and reliability rating. The 2016 Jeep Cherokee, however, earned a ‘Great’ quality and reliability rating.

From 2017 onward, the Jeep Cherokee has continued to earn some pretty lackluster reliability ratings. While the 2018 Cherokee was able to score a three out of five reliability verdict from Consumer Reports, the 2019 model only managed a one out of five score. 

RELATED: Recall Alert: Jeep Cherokee Models Have Malfunctioning Airbags

Recent models offer plenty of safety features

While the Jeep Cherokee hasn’t earned the highest reliability ratings, it does come with plenty of safety features. Though, keep in mind, for the latest in safety technology, you’re going to want to stick with a second-generation model. While first-generation models are certainly enticing, they don’t offer nearly as many safety features as second-generation models do.

That being said, early second-generation models didn’t come standard with any driver-assist features but some models did include a rearview camera. For safety features like lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking, you’re going to want to seek out a newer Cherokee. 

RELATED: The Jeep Cherokee Wagoneer Limited Is a Wood-Paneled Throwback to the 1980s

How much should you expect to pay for a used Jeep Cherokee?

A 2021 Cherokee will cost you at least $26,555, and that’s just for a base model. CarEdge reports, however, that a Jeep Cherokee will depreciate 53% after five years, giving it a five-year resale value of about $16,537. Keep in mind, that’s assuming that the vehicle cost about $35,110 when new.

Should you buy a used Jeep Cherokee?

If you’re shopping for a used SUV and have a used Cherokee on your list, we don’t blame you. While the Jeep Cherokee might not be the most reliable SUV out there, it is off-road ready and offers a good amount of interior space. Consider a second-generation model for its many safety features, and maybe a used Cherokee isn’t such a bad idea after all.