35K Miles: 1985 Jeep Cherokee Pioneer

1,030 miles a year isn’t a lot to pile up on a 1985 Jeep Cherokee Pioneer, but this time capsule only has 35, 338 miles on it. It can be found here on craigslist in Windsor, Colorado, just southeast of Ft. Collins. They’re asking $5,500 for this nice Jeep. Thanks to Ikey H. for sending in this tip!

Colorado is Jeep country so it isn’t surprising to see a 4×4 Cherokee there but it is surprising to see such a nice one with hardly any miles on it. I drive more than 35,000 miles a year so for a 1985 Cherokee to have fewer miles on it after 34 years than I drive in one year is unusual. For the doubters, check out the underside photos and actually all of the photos. I hope that you’ll agree that it doesn’t have 135,338 miles. Not to mention that it has a six-digit odometer!

The Cherokee has a pretty interesting history, having been made under AMC, Chrysler, and DaimlerChrysler for 17 years with few changes to the design. My mom’s sister used to get a red two-door Cherokee every few years and then switched to a red four-door and they were great vehicles. I love the small size, it’s too bad that most SUVs today have to be so bloated and puffy.

The interior looks great in this little time capsule. The seats and everything appear to be in almost like-new condition. The seller says that everything is original and that as such there are a few areas in the paint that aren’t perfect. They have provided a lot of great photos, kudos to the seller for that. That’s a rare thing these days.

The engine is AMC’s 150 cubic-inch or 2.5L inline four with 105 hp. They say that even the AC works! This is one nice Jeep. Have any of you owned a Jeep Cherokee? How about anyone owning a two-door Jeep Cherokee?

Have something similar for sale? List it here on Barn Finds!

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  1. M

    Nice find, this is going to last about 15 seconds. That interior is immaculate

  2. Evan

    4WD in the heavier 5-door body with the 2.5 I-4 and an automatic? No wonder this doesn’t have many miles. What a slug, and even more sluggish with the A/C on.

    • Sandy Claws

      Geez, how fast do you need to go? This isn’t a performance vehicle, it is an all weather commuter. The 2.5 was perfectly adequate I guess this belonged to an elderly person that not only drove few miles, but they also had a great deal of maturity.. I would love this and the price is right, am giving this one serious consideration.

      • Ralph

        This is Barn Finds, where half the people pee their pants with glee whenever a 4hp French car shows up and the other half think anything with less than 700hp is “dangerous to drive on the highway”……..

    • That AMC Guy

      Unfortunately in 1985 the optional engine was a rather gutless and unreliable 2.8 V6 purchased from General Motors that didn’t really make much more power than the AMC 4-banger.

      AMC was basically owned by Renault when the XJ Cherokee was being designed. I’ve read that the French executive in charge of the XJ project (François Castaing) hated the “Rambler” six and deliberately designed the Cherokee engine bay so it would not fit.

      This changed with the 1987 model when the firewall was modified so the then-new 4.0 six could be shoehorned in. (It’s a pretty tight fit, though nothing like the Pacer travesty.) That year a very good 4-speed automatic transmission with electronic control (Aisin-Warner AW4) was also offered.

      I have a late-production Cherokee (1999) with the 190 hp six and AW4 automatic. While not a muscle car it moves out pretty well and you don’t notice a difference in pickup when the AC compressor kicks on.

  3. IkeyHeyman Member

    You don’t see many 30-some year old Cherokees that look this good. Maybe the “mileage police” can point out discrepancies but I don’t see any on first pass.

  4. Stevieg

    This is a nice unit…probably one of the slowest vehicles out there (maybe even dangerously underpowered) but a check of a nice unit none the less. Probably very unappealing to drive, hence the low miles. Usually these are great plow trucks, not this one.

  5. Stevieg

    Sandy Claws, I am not thinking in terms of straight line acceleration contests lol. I am definitely thinking of slalom racing either, just freeway driving. A body shaped like a sail, 4 cylinder engine, not even fuel injected, 4×4, automatic & air conditioning all makes me wonder about doing 70 mph (the legal speed limit on a lot of highways) and then you have some highways out west where the speed limit is even higher. You cab easily get trampled by an automotive stampede driving something like this. If only it had the inline 6….
    I also wouldn’t use this sweetheart as a plow truck. They make GREAT plow trucks, but this one is too nice to do that to. But with that 4 popper, I don’t think it could even push snow. Maybe I am wrong on that regard, but I wouldn’t even try it.

  6. KevinLee

    Geez, if a car has a hopped up V/8, half you guys say it would be much better with a six cylinder. If it has a six or four there’s complaining it’s not powerful enough! I’ve had my share of hot rods( actually want another), and I had a ’89 Cherokee Sport with the 4 banger. It was driven all over Texas with a/c on and got great MPGs. Oh yeah, mine was a 5 speed and would do smoky burnouts like crazy!

  7. Nick hockman Member

    Agree. My dad had one with theb6 as a kid. He always said he wished he would have got the better 4cyl.

  8. Kenbone

    Had an 82 with 5spd 4 door.Very nice enjoyable ride,fantastic in snow. Had 275,000 and still ran great when i sold it ,no smoke. Had the 2.5 ho. Still miss it

  9. daCabbie

    I had this same exact vehicle, back in 2002… I was involved in a 40mph head on collision with a Dodge sedan… no one won…

    This might not be the fastest vehicle on the road but I’d drive it into a brick wall.

    Speed kills…

  10. Stevieg

    It sounds like the 2.5 might be enough power in this. I never had one with the 2.5 so I didn’t know. I forgot about the 2.8 being in these but I probably forgot on purpose…those were just miserable lol. Going by other’s responses, I guess I would probably not get “traffic trampled” in one of these. Thanks for the insight.
    Either way, it is a nice unit. I never said it wasn’t.

  11. kelly g

    One of my best friends got one of these new in 1984. His father had passed away when he was 14, and i think his mother was super smart and compassionate to provide him 2 years later with what was then the hottest rig out. Something for a 16 year old to fixate on instead of his fathers passing. We went everywhere in that 4 cyl automatic jeep, and never had a complaint. Truly a great vehicle! This one is a steal at 5600.00.

  12. Scott

    Bought this same vehicle brand new for my Wife in 85, loved it so much I bought a Comanche new the next year. We sold the Cherokee in 96 and bought a Suburban. I still miss that Cherokee, my son still owns the Comanche to this day and it still goes anywhere all while powered by the original 2.5L with over 325k on the clock.

  13. Maestro1

    It’s a nice, clean straight car with decent power. Buy it, drive it, enjoy it.

  14. David Ulrey

    I’m late jumping on the bandwagon but here goes – perhaps it has to do with the elevation I live in. It’s approximately 5500 feet here. I’ve owned several of these XJ Cherokees, 2 of which had the 2.5 four cylinder but with carbs. With a manual transmission and stock or darn close to stock size tires they were ok. No speed demons but that’s okay because I didn’t buy them to be speed demons either. I’ve had more with the 4.0 inline 6 and AW4. Both engines are great but given where I live it’s hard to fathom this as a daily driver with an automatic for anything other than a grocery store car and snow occasionally. The highest speed limit any place within a 30 mile radius is a maximum of 65 with in town speed limits being 30 or 35 mph but with some of the gradual hills I think it would have to really work hard to even go 55 with a 3spd automatic and the fuel economy gears many of these had. I do love these but given where I live a 4cyl and automatic just wouldn’t cut it.

  15. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Someone must have grabbed this beauty, the CL ad has been deleted!


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