The Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ Is the Underrated 4×4 SUV

With the world of 4×4 SUVs is becoming more and more popular, finding something that offers durability and value can feel like a difficult task. But not when the Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ is considered. As the second iteration of this iconic Jeep vehicle, the WJ is still flying under the radar. Even with its available 4.7-liter V8 engine and coil-sprung solid axles.

What makes the Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ great?

A Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV parked on the street.
A 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee | Darren McCollester/Getty Images

The Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ comes with a variety of off-road features and can still be had at a reasonable price. Additionally, with proper care and maintenance, the WJ is known to be a long-lived vehicle. Jeep also offered a variety of four-wheel-drive systems to this model. Allowing buyers to get an SUV that is ready for 4×4 situations.

A range of engine options and transmissions were made available to the Grand Cherokee WJ. These include the legendary Jeep 4.0-liter straight-six engine. According to MotorTrend, this powertrain is known for its reliability if proper care is given. For additional power and capability, used SUV shoppers can find a Grand Cherokee WJ equipped with a 4.7-liter V8 engine. With this option, the WJ gets a higher towing capacity and a stronger rear axle. That said, because the V8 utilizes aluminum heads, head gasket failure can be an issue. Especially if the engine is allowed to run hot.

Even though the Grand Cherokee WJ sits on solid axles, the coil springs help improve the comfort of the ride. Meaning you can daily this SUV without the harshness seen by vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler. 

Is the Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ good for off-roading?

Because the Grand Cherokee WJ offered advanced four-wheel-drive systems like Quadra-Drive, it is a competent off-road vehicle. This SUV also benefits from the thriving Jeep community. This means making modifications and off-road upgrades an easier task to undergo. Additionally, because so many models were produced, your local scrapyard likely has plenty of examples to pull parts from if needed.

What should you pay for a Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ?

The side panel of a Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo SUV.
Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Depending on trim and options, a used Grand Cherokee WJ can go for as low as $3,000 to nearing $8,000. Prices have been increasing, especially as the used SUV market continues to be in turmoil. In general, expect to pay around $5,000 to $6,000 for a Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ that is in good condition and with attractive options. Production of the WJ spanned from 1998 to 2004. So some comfort features like heated seats can even be had.

Which Jeep Grand Cherokee is best?

A custom Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ build. Featuring a snorkel and aggressive off-road tires.
Jeep Grand Cherokee | Michal Fludra/Nurphoto via Getty Images

There’s no doubt that modern Grand Cherokee models are great. But with a starting MSRP of $38,325, buying new is not for everyone. Especially those looking to get into off-roading or overlanding as a hobby. The Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ offers a budget-friendly price point and is a great starting point for a 4×4 build. 

If you are shopping for a cheap 4×4 SUV, take to Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or explore used car dealerships. There is likely a Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ for sale near you that is ready for adventure. 

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