Known for its excellent abilities off-road and innovative appearance, the Cherokee was one of the best compact SUV lines manufactured by Jeep. Although it had the same name as its predecessor, it still proved to be a remarkable vehicle for setting the stage for the modern SUV and for inspiring automakers and car owners all around the world through its innovations and style.
1984: First model
Released in 1984, the first model of the XJ Cherokee, did not have the separate body-on-frame automobile construction. Instead, it was a single structural skin unit which was integrated into a ladder-boxed chassis and had a rigid design. Also, the 1984 Cherokee was available in two- and four-door models. The main difference between the two models was that the two-door Cherokee had foldable front seats and longer doors.
1985: 2WD model
Jeep introduced the first two-wheel drive Cherokee since 1967 in 1985. This step was backed with the hopes of increasing sales and attracting people who wish to own affordable vehicles that are not 4WD. However, despite the difference in drivetrain, this model still utilized the same front suspension as that of the four-wheel drive models. Jeep only made the suspension less expensive by using a single axle tube that had no differential.
Early 1990s: Government models
By 1990, Cherokees started to be popular police and government vehicles. In fact, a new package was released by Jeep in 1992 for police use--the Cherokee AHB. Also, for the 1996 model year, a version of the XJ Cherokee SE was released which was used for fleet and police purposes. This version was notable for its 4.0L Power-Tech high-output inline six-cylinder engine that could produce as much as 190 hp and lack of interior door handles in the rear. And for the United States Postal Service, Jeep released right-hand drive Cherokees which also paved the way for the commercial right-hand drive versions.
1997: NVH models
In 1997, Jeep revamped the interior and exterior of the Cherokees. Some of the changes done to the Cherokees during this year were the use of stronger unibody frames, installation of new tail lights, inclusion of door plastic moldings, and replacement of fiberglass lift gates to steel ones. These changes proved to be successful because they significantly improved the Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) measurements of the Cherokees.
2001: Last models
With the arrival of Wolfgang Bernhard in 2000, Chrysler experienced major changes. One of those was the discontinuation of the Cherokee which was considered by Bernhard as aging and bland. Thus, in mid 2001, the production of the Cherokee was stopped, and it was replaced by the Jeep Liberty in 2002. But despite its discontinuation, this particular line remains to be popular among off-road drivers who love modifying their own vehicles.