Jeep Cherokee Buyers Guide

Jeep has made a name for itself as being the manufacturer of one of the most capable off-roading vehicles in the world. However, there is more to the Jeep name than just off-road capability. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive Jeep Cherokee buyer's guide. Now those who are interested in learning more about the Jeep name, particularly the family of Jeep Cherokees, can get all the information they need to make an informed buying decision.

Whether you’re just starting out on your car buying journey or you consider yourself to be more of a novice, this Jeep Cherokee buyer's guide is sure to guide you on your journey. Learn the history behind the Jeep Cherokee and find out all about the new 2021 models. Orange Coast Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat is the best place in California to buy a Jeep of any type, whether it’s a Jeep Cherokee or not. We stand behind the Jeep brand and consider the Cherokee to be the best choice for anyone who wants the off-roading power of a Jeep in a sleek and stylish package.

A red 2015 Jeep Cherokee is angled left while parked on a paver driveway.

The Cherokee and its History

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has sold over five million units, which is more than the amount of Wranglers sold since 1983. It’s a very popular vehicle, and not many people know this, but the Cherokee was one of the vehicles that practically saved the Jeep brand from going under. In the late 1970s, funds were drying up until French auto manufacturer Renault invested heavily in Jeep’s parent company at the time, American Motors Corporation, eventually taking a controlling interest. Renault did this as part of its overall plan to sell more Renault products in American markets. And just as AMC, and its subsidiary Jeep, found new life with these timely funds, the Cherokee came out.

The Cherokee label was first put onto the Jeep Wagoneer as a sportier two-door vehicle option. In February of 1974, the Jeep Cherokee (SJ) version was the first vehicle ever to win the Four Wheeler Magazine's Achievement Award, which today is called the Four Wheeler of the Year Award. In 1975, the Cherokee actually had two different body styles. One consisted of a wide track that had 3-inch wider axles than the original size. In 1977, the Cherokee, the four-door version became available.

In 1984, the Cherokee made a major revolution to the more similar current Jeep Cherokee. This one was 21 inches shorter, 6 inches narrower, 4 inches lower, and 1,000 lbs lighter than the full-sized Wagoneer version of the Cherokee. It also went to a revolutionary uniframe rather than the traditional chassis and frame style that had always been used up to this point. Thanks to the Four Wheeler of the Year Award, this Jeep Cherokee gained a lot of recognition.

The newer XJ version of the Jeep Cherokee was the first vehicle with two available 4x4 systems, which gave people options as to what would work best for them. The Selec-Trac Full-Time 4x4 was well proven at this point and still very popular. The other system was the Command Trac Part-Time system, which was a newer system.

By the late 1980s, French car group Renault hadn’t quite made the progress they’d hoped on American soil and were glad to sell their controlling share of AMC to Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, who was eager to take over. Many major changes were seen in the Cherokee after Iacocca stepped in.

Until 1988, the Jeep Cherokee was the only compact SUV on the market that offered both a two-door and a four-door option. In 1989, while some consumers were expecting the official announcement of the next generation Cherokee, Iacocca was more concerned with making minivans. He did, however, reveal something called the Concept 1 at the 1989 Detroit auto show, which it turned out was sort of the blueprint for the Grand Cherokee.

Soon after, both the smaller Jeep Cherokee and the three-row Grand Cherokee would be sold side-by-side. (Fun fact: Iacocca’s other brand, Dodge, loved the design for the Grand Cherokee and was fighting to acquire it under its name but lost to Jeep). From 1992 to 1998, the Cherokee had a five-speed manual transmission and manual windows, but those features didn’t last long.

In 2001, the Jeep Cherokee was phased out for a time, but it made its way back into the Jeep lineup in 2014, where it was refined into a great, everyday vehicle as well as a capable off-road vehicle. This newest version of the Jeep Cherokee with the Trailhawk earned itself best-in-class 4x4 capability because it had lifted off-road suspension with skid plates, tow hooks, a Selec-Terrain Traction Management System, Jeep’s active drive lock with a rear locker, and great angles all over the place. It’s no wonder this vehicle was so incredibly capable!

A silver 2022 Jeep Cherokee is shown from the side parked in the woods.

The 2022 Jeep Cherokee

The rugged and adventurous 2022 Jeep Cherokee has the prestigious Trail Rated badge. This badge signals that the vehicle has undergone rigorous testing to make sure it can perform under extreme conditions. It is tested for traction, water fording, maneuverability, articulation, and ground clearance. When you see this badge, you can be sure that this vehicle is up for some serious off-road conditions.

When you get the available Uconnect 4C NAV system, you can see the Off-Road pages, which provide important off-roading vehicle information, such as wheel articulation and suspension height. This vehicle also has an available 4x4 system and will automatically go into four-wheel drive mode when it senses you’re traversing unpredictable roads.

There are two available engines for the 2022 Jeep Cherokee: the 3.2L Pentastar V6 and 2.0L turbo I-4. When equipped with the 3.2L Pentastar V6, the vehicle can tow up to 4,500 pounds. When you opt for the 2.0L turbo I-4, you’ll see a drop in towing capacity but a boost in fuel economy. In fact, you’ll get a nice 23 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway with this engine.

While this car is made for adventure, it doesn’t skimp on luxury interior features. It boasts heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an available nine-speaker premium audio system to let you bump your favorite tunes while enjoying some bumpy roads. Plus, it has an available dual-pane panoramic sunroof to let passengers fully enjoy the views outside. Luckily, this car only lets the good views in and nothing you don’t want, thanks to a new special air filter that keeps unwanted particles out of the cabin.

Moving to the trunk area, you’ll find a spacious 25.8 cubic feet of space in the trunk when the seats are in use. When you fold the rear seats down, you enjoy a total of 54.7 cubic feet of storage space, making it easy to store all of those adventure essentials from coolers to backpacks and beyond.

A silver 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is shown from the side parked in the woods.

The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

As its name suggests, the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is larger than the Jeep Cherokee. It is also a Trail Rated vehicle and is ready for off-roading. The Grand Cherokee has three rows of seating and can hold up to seven passengers. The second and third rows of seats can be folded down in a variety of configurations for easily customizable cargo space.

One major differentiating factor of the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is that it is available in a plug-in hybrid option. Drivers enjoy plenty of luxury interior features here as well, like available front massage seats with 16-way adjustments and a memory function. Beautiful ambient LED lighting can be found throughout the cabin, too.

One interesting feature you’ll find in this car is that it automatically lowers itself when traveling at highway speeds in order to improve aerodynamics. It also has the available Selec-Terrain Traction Management system, which lets you select between the modes auto, sport, rock, snow, or mud/sand. Additionally, its maximum towing capacity far outshines that of the Jeep Cherokee, at an impressive 7,200 pounds. This vehicle has a total of three engine options: the 3.6L Pentastar V6, the 5.7L HEMI V8, and the 2.0L turbo I-4 PHEV (the hybrid).

Boasting larger dimensions than the Jeep Cherokee, the Grand Jeep Cherokee is a lot of car to manage. Thankfully, it’s loaded with driver assist features that make it easy to maneuver this vehicle safely. These include some of the expected standard features like Active Lane Management, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning. It also has some advanced safety features that are ideal for an adventure vehicle, like the available Night Vision, that uses infrared sensors to scan for pedestrians and animals up to 328 feet ahead, or the 360-degree Surround View Camera that gives you a comprehensive view of what’s happening around your vehicle at all times.

A dark gray 2021 Jeep Cherokee is shown from the side driving through a tunnel.The 2021 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee

When you think of a Jeep Cherokee, there are three main vehicles that come to mind. First is the classic Jeep Cherokee, which is a comfortable yet capable Jeep SUV. Upgrade the Cherokee to the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and you have an even bigger SUV that comes with a lot of bells, whistles, and creature comforts, all without losing any of the original capabilities. Finally, for those who dream of owning a luxury vehicle with room for the whole family that can still take them on exciting off-roading adventures, we have the Grand Cherokee L. If you want to drive over sand dunes and up mountainous cliffs while sitting in the lap of luxury, the three-row Grand Cherokee L is the Jeep for you.

The 2021 year models are bringing in a collection of even more exciting things for the Jeep Cherokee, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee L. The Cherokee is now offering some safety and security features that are standard on all Cherokee models. Blind Spot Monitoring will help you keep track of those hard-to-see spots so you can change lanes with confidence. This system also comes with Rear Cross Path Detection, which makes backing safer than ever. The Cherokee also has a Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking. This feature will let you know when you are getting too close to another vehicle too quickly and will brake for you if necessary. With greater amounts of standard safety, you can enjoy greater peace of mind anywhere and everywhere you take your Jeep Cherokee.

On the outside of your 2021 Jeep Cherokee, you can enjoy that striking look that Jeep has become so well known for but with a modern flair. You’ll see this in the LED headlamps and the easily recognizable seven-slot grille. When you drive around in your new 2021 Jeep Cherokee, people will know that you are serious about adventure.

Inside the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee, you will find luxurious fabrics and available premium finishes to give you the refinement that you deserve as well as the capability you crave. When you look up, you will see the sunshine or the starry night sky through either the CommandView Dual-Pane Panoramic Sunroof or the complete open-air should you opt to have the sunroof open. With all good adventures comes the need for great music, and that is why the Jeep has an available Harman Kardon Premium Audio System that includes a 10-inch subwoofer and 19 high-performance speakers placed in such a way that you will get to experience theater-like surround sound everywhere you go.

If you are looking for a Jeep with an excellent new sound system, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L is the one to get. Featuring the all-new Uconnect 5 system, the Grand Cherokee L provides excellent sound quality through the McIntosh 19-speaker sound system with a 10-inch subwoofer. Not only that, but you can bring all of your family and friends along because, for the first time ever, the Grand Cherokee has three rows of seating for up to seven passengers.

Why Orange Coast CJDRF Is the Best Dealer Around

Are you convinced that the Jeep Cherokee is the vehicle for you? Whether you’re ready to sign the dotted line or you would rather get some more information first, come on down to Orange Coast Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat. Our friendly team members are standing by, ready to help you on your Cherokee buying journey.

Take a tour of our showroom and our very best Cherokees. We’re always updating our selection of vehicles and love showing drivers what’s new in the Jeep lineup. And if you want to explore vehicles before arriving in person, doing so is easy on our website, where you can quickly filter for the features that matter to you. If you find a car you love on our website at a price that fits, we’ll always honor that at our dealership. Once here, ask our knowledgeable sales team all your biggest questions, and don’t leave until you’ve received all the answers.

Beyond just friendly and knowledgeable staff and a large selection of inventory, Orange Coast CJDRF also has one of the best parts and service centers on the west coast. Since we specialize in Jeeps, you know that your new Jeep will always be in good hands when you bring it to our certified mechanics. No matter what your issue is, we’ll have you back on the road again in no time. And because we want to make quality service affordable to all, we regularly offer specials on important maintenance services and even offer financing on servicing. Whether you need a new part, need an oil change, or need to address a recall, our service team is here to keep your car in great health for many years.

A popular model on the Jeep Cherokee buyers guide, a red 2021 Jeep Cherokee, is shown from the rear driving on a tree-lined road.

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