The Jeep Cherokee Had Engine Problems in Back-to-Back Years

The Jeep Cherokee has been a flagship vehicle of the military-inspired brand for decades. Boasting off-roading fun combined with everyday driving capabilities, the Jeep Cherokee has been an American favorite since its first debut. And while many Jeep owners are Jeep owners for life, not all Cherokees proved satisfactory. In fact, there are two Jeep Cherokee model years that stand out above all others for all the wrong reasons.

The Jeep Cherokee model years to avoid at all costs and why compiles all owner-reported problems with the Jeep Cherokee across all production model years from 1981-2019. In its model year comparison of the Jeep Cherokee‘s complaints, there are a few model years that conspicuously stand out among the rest with their sheer amount of complaints. Both the 2014 and 2015 Cherokee model years soar high above any other years, with a staggering amount of complaints in comparison.

In fact, the 2014 and 2015 model years currently have 659 and 643 complaints from owners on Car Complaints, respectively. These numbers are already unimpressive on their own, but even scarier when you notice that these model years receive roughly three to ten times more complaints than any other model year listed. 

The Jeep Cherokee’s biggest problems: severe engine and transmission issues

While the 2014 Jeep Cherokee has more complaints under its belt, Car Complaints ranks the 2015 Cherokee as its choice for Worst Model Year. This is due in part to Car Complaints’ worst-rated problem across all model years. The 2015 Jeep Cherokee has 35 complaints of problems with engine stalling. And while that doesn’t seem like a lot, Car Complaints finds that this issue earns a severity rating of 9.0 (out of 10) for its high average repair cost of $1,300 and low average mileage at which it’s occurring – 21,000 miles.

But the 2014 Cherokee seems to also have this horribly-rated engine problem. In fact, more owners of the 2014 model year report having the same problems with their engine stalling than the 2015 model year, with 46 total complaints. These owners, however, experience this problem at an average mileage of around 35,000 miles and have an average repair cost of $700, earning it a slightly lower severity rating of 8.6.

As if the engine stalling isn’t bad enough, both the 2014 and 2015 Cherokee models have other things to worry about. Even though the issue with a stalling engine earns a higher severity rating from Car Complaints, both model years have significantly more complaints in other areas.

The 2014 model year has an astounding 402 complaints in the “transmission problems” category, while the 2015 model year has an even higher number at 406. It seems plenty of owners have problems with their transmission.

For the 2014 model year, 115 Jeep Cherokee owners claim their transmission shifts roughly and 81 more experience improper shifting. But nearly 50 owners say their transmission died. For the 2015 model year, 66 owners experience delayed shifting during acceleration, 64 claim shifting is rough, and 64 more experience transmission failure.

Do all model years prove unreliable?

Jeep Cherokee luxury SUV on display at Brussels Expo on January 9, 2020
The Jeep Cherokee | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

While the 2014 and 2015 Jeep Cherokees earn Car Complaints’ “Avoid Like the Plague” label, there are plenty of other model years that fare better. In fact, most other model years earn nowhere near the number of complaints. While the 2016-2019 model years seem to do the “next-worst” in their amount of complaints, this could also be due to the popularity and therefore volume of current owners.

Impressively enough, older model Jeep Cherokee models like the 1995-2001 model years have nearly no complaints at all. Each of these older-model Jeeps has 25 or fewer complaints.