Revel in the Greatness That Is the Jeep Cherokee XJ
Take a trip back to a time when simplicity, quirkiness, and boxy styling ruled the SUV world.
Forget about those newfangled Cherokee models and their fancy crossover designation. For Jeep fans, it just doesn’t get much better than the legendary Cherokee XJ. The boxy, virtually un-killable four-wheel family haulers from a bygone era were just plain good at everything. And the legend of the Cherokee XJ is what motivated Autotrader’s Doug DeMuro to wax poetic about why so many people love these darn things.
So what, exactly, would motivate people to go crazy over something non-automotive enthusiasts might just see as just another used SUV? Well, for starters, as DeMuro points out, “nobody really makes boxy SUVs anymore.” The Cherokee XJ retained basically the same styling for 17 years, with only minor updates. For those of us who don’t like our SUVs with “flowing lines and sensual curves,” the XJ is manly alternative.
Next up – simplicity. The XJ is a basic design, with “not much that can break or go wrong.” Its 4.0-liter straight-six is known for being “unbreakable” and “easy to fix.” And that simplicity extends far beyond mechanics. DeMuro admits to being shocked at how much of the XJ you can disassemble using nothing more than a “screwdriver and a wrench.” Even the brake lights are easily removed with a couple of bolts!
But the XJ’s influence goes far beyond simplicity. As DeMuro points out, it was one of the very first “crossovers,” a unibody SUV “that you could have in the suburbs.” It kind of gave birth to the smaller SUV and crossover movement of today. Though we often forget, DeMuro points out that the XJ is “over a foot shorter than a modern Honda Civic.”
Throw in quirky but lovable features and limitless off-road potential, and you’ve got the makings of a legend. DeMuro loves the way it drives, too, saying that it feels “substantial” despite its convenient size. It’s nice reminder of when the basic act of driving was much, much simpler. And why we loved the XJ in the first place!