Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

3 Reasons to Grab a Used Jeep Cherokee For an Off-Road Adventure

Typically, it’s the Jeep Wrangler that’s always picked first in its class when it comes to a rugged off-road vehicle. But, even used Wranglers can be expensive, especially if they’re modded. Where does that leave you? Either shelling out half your bank account for a used car, or buying a used Jeep Cherokee. The Cherokee is not only cheaper than a Wrangler, but almost just as capable. No, I’m not talking about the newer model that had the Cherokee name slapped on it. I’m talking about the XJ model, which was last produced in 2001. After that, the Liberty took its spot until 2014, when the new Cherokee was released.

It’s the XJ that you can find everywhere, just like the Wrangler. Along with plenty of mods (almost just as many as a used Wrangler from matching years) and capability, a used Jeep Cherokee is able to give you more for less.

Cheaper Than a Wrangler

Even a used Wrangler from the late ‘90s early 2000s can get pricey. For whatever reason (be it their popularity, legendary reputation, or simply their well-built design), Wrangler’s depreciate a lot less than other vehicles. Especially when mods are involved. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself paying over $12,000 for a used Wrangler from the ‘90s with close to 200K miles on it, a warn winch, big off-road tires, upgraded suspension, etc. Even if that Wrangler is about to break down into a pile of nuts and bolts the next time it goes out on a trail, somebody will buy it, and somebody will fix it up.

Therefore, perhaps it’s the culture that you can thank for the expensive price of the Wrangler. A legendary model like that, combined with off-road fans who will always buy it for either parts, DIY repairs, or even as just a first-time beater for the woods – Wranglers always sell, so they’ll always be on the pricier side.

But a used XJ Cherokee? That comes at a much more affordable price point.

Older Ones Are Still Just As Capable

While there is some debate about the quality and effectiveness of the Liberty and new Cherokee model (even though the new style Cherokee is Trail Rated), no one argues about the capability of an XJ Cherokee. Buy any one of those Cherokees from 1984-2001, and you’ll be grabbing a full-size SUV with off-road capability that rivals a Wrangler model produced in the same year.

Where’s the proof? Look around on the road the next time you’re driving, and check out all the modded XJ Cherokees that people are still using for off-roading. Whether there is a warn winch thrown on the front or a big set of off-road tires, used Cherokees are being used for off-road fun.

Will the Wrangler still outperform it? Of course it will. Sure, the price point is high, but the Wrangler is still one of the best off-road machines to date, whether you’re buying a new or used one. But, a used XJ Cherokee balances an affordable price point with Wrangler-like off-road capability.

It’s Still a Jeep

Finally, it’s still a Jeep, built by the same manufacturers who made the Wrangler. The XJ Cherokee and Wrangler have a lot in common, actually. That much is apparent just by looking at their designs.

Even if they didn’t share similar traits, Jeep is still known for building legendary and durable off-road machines. So, if you are still speculating about the affordability and capability of a used XJ Cherokee, then you can trust in the fact that it’s still a Jeep.