4X4 5-Speed! 1994 Jeep Cherokee

A Jeep Cherokee XJ, like this 1994 example is one of my favorite cars. I owned one for twenty-six years and drove it 325K miles – it never let me down! They’re primitive but functional vehicles. An everyday sight at one time, this vintage Cherokee is starting to become scarce so let’s take a look at a fine example of the less commonly found two-door model. It’s located in Brooklyn, New York and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $5,400 with eighteen bids tendered as of this writing.

Produced between 1984 and 2001, the Cherokee covered a lot of bases with two and four-door models, available with two or four-wheel drive powertrains, four and six-cylinder engines, and manual or automatic transmissions. There was even a pickup truck version known as the Commanche. Total sales over its eighteen model years reached about 3 million units.

Purchased from the original owner’s family, this Jeep is reported to have only experienced 74K miles and it still looks great! The finish is clean and deep, the black trim shows no sign of fade, the body panels are well aligned and there is no sign of rust or corrosion. The seller claims, “The paint and all the body panels on this vehicle are 100% original and this vehicle has no aftermarket modifications“. The seller ads that this Jeep has been garaged long term – that’s a safe bet.

Power is provided by a tried and true 190 HP, 4.0 liter, in-line six-cylinder engine – a motor that is one of AMC’s greatest hits. Connected to that most venerable engine are a five-speed manual transmission and a four-wheel-drive transfer case. The seller states, “the vehicle is reliable and runs like a dream“.

Regarding the interior, the seller states, “The interior of the vehicle is super clean. The seats are in great condition with no rips or any wear. The dash and door panels are also in perfect condition and clean. All the dashboard trimmings and other interior trims are in perfect condition”. Based on the images, that’s a very true claim. It’s especially remarkable considering how easily light tan shows dirt and wear. The spotless character continues throughout the cargo compartment as well, an area that is usually subjected to rigorous use. The seller mentions that the A/C is “ice cold” a feature that was always marginal, at best, on my ’91 Cherokee.

The ticket here is “buy, drive and enjoy”, this Jeep needs nothing! This walk-around video will give you additional perspective. XJ Cherokees are fun, multi-purpose vehicles though the stories around their reliability are mixed. Mine was spectacular but I know others, especially those who owned pre’91’s, that had completely different experiences. That said, I have a good feeling about this Cherokee and I’d bet that it has a lot of life left to it. Does anyone have a Cherokee experience that they would like to share?


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  1. nycbjr Member

    haha the auction states “holy Grail” must read jalopnick (david tracy) lol

    Like 3
  2. alphasud Member

    One of the best vehicles they made. I bought a 95 Jeep Grand Cherokee and drove it for several years. Those 4.0 engines were real workhorses. I used to tell people my Jeep was like that old pair of jeans you always reach for in the dresser because they were comfortable and made you feel good to wear.

    Like 10
    • George Smith

      Had a 95 jeep with the 4 liter. It never let me down. It had 302,000 miles when I sold it to someone who wanted something to drive in the winter with 4 wheel drive. It still ran great.

  3. nlpnt

    Where did all these 2-door Cherokees come from? You NEVER used to see them, the 4 doors must’ve outsold them 100 to 1. I’m still surprised the 2-door made it to the end of the XJ’s production run.

    Like 5
  4. Luki

    Jim you drove an XJ for 26 years? You drained a super tanker.

    Like 3
  5. Scott

    This would be a fun ride with the 4.0 and 5 speed.

    Like 1
  6. James

    Had a ’97, Ford F100 coils up front with 2″ spacers, Dodge Dakota leaf packs out back for a 4″ lift. Detroit locker in the Chrysler 8.25 out back, open high pinion D30 up front with JKS swaybar disconnects. That thing was a GOAT. Bought a new house, was going to use my ’93 D250 Cummins to move, got hit (hit and run) so the Jeep filled in and moved our entire house. Man I miss that thing and have been looking recently for another XJ. Shoot, if this one was a newer one (specifically ’98 or ’99) I’d be pulling the trigger. Have always wanted a 2 door 4.0 manual. Beast!

    Like 2
  7. LMK Member

    Still using my 96 Cherokee with 202,000 on the clock. Can’t say enough about its reliability that hasn’t already been said by others who have driven this era of 4.0 Cherokee’s.. Thought about selling it this past mid winter and then reconsidered it and I thought , ‘it’s cheaper to keep her’ . I will freshen it up a little bit where needed and continue to use it…Glad that their values have been on the rise too..

    Like 6
  8. Erik

    Ughh…OLD MAN GOLD! They have killed off so many putrid colors offered on cars and sadly even killed off some nice colors that were once offered but WHEN will they ever finally kill off Old Man Gold and Old Lady Hair Light Blue?

    Always loved the 2 door XJ models but my ’94 4 door XJ (I bought used from a private seller who pampered it as his executive company vehicle back in 1996 when the SUV craze was taking off) had the indestructible inline 4.0 engine but when the transmission went at only 80k miles in 1997 and the cost to repair nearly maxed out a credit card limit it was the last American brand vehicle I had for decades until I bought an occasional use low mileage pampered 2007 Ford F150 2wd back in 2016. But my daily drivers are still not American brands as I believe the only thing a vehicle made in the past 30-40 years should EVER need done to it service-wise in the first 0k-100k-200k miles of it’s life is oil and filter changes, tires replaced, and brakes replaced. Heck, I cannot even recall the last time I ever replaced a muffler on a vehicle with less than 200k miles on it…oh wait…it was on my ’94 XJ shortly after buying it in 1996.

    • Steve Clinton

      So I take it you don’t like the color?

      Like 7
    • Bhowe Member

      Well as a collector of domestic as well as hondas and toyotas, I’ve had to put head gaskets in all but one of my hondas. Not to mention back during this time period the quality of interior materials used in the imports was horribly flimsy. Poor fabrics and let’s not even talk about the plastics used in the imports. Take something like a starter replacement. Average domestic starter may not last as long as some of the imports, but the are also problems 1/3 the price of the import. How about a little fairness and perspective.

      Like 3
  9. Tony Primo

    There are still some manuals roaming around.

  10. Jimbosidecar

    I had a 1994 4 door in Beijing China. They were built there for the local market (4 cylinder 2WD, 5 speed) or imported as knock down kits (6 cylinder 4WD 5 speed or auto). Mine was the 6 cylinder/4WD, 5 speed version. Drove it about 150,000 miles and the only trouble it ever gave me was the a/c. After moving back to the states I bought a 2 door 4WD, 6 cylinder, 5 speed version. And guess what? The only trouble I ever had with it was the a/c

  11. Steve

    My Son has a 98 2 Door. The owner of this one is really touting the Stick but those who own an XJ and actually four wheel them like the automatics. Ever try rock crawling with a stick shift? And, they all need an upgrade in the cooling department.

    Like 1
  12. Steve Clinton

    We bought my son a used 4 door Cherokee as a high school graduation present. it served him well for years and then he sold it for more than I paid for it.

    Like 2
  13. Mike

    This Jeep was built back when they were still building quality Jeeps. I had a 1992 5 speed straight 6 and drove it for 278,000 miles and sold it when the roof over the windshield rusted out. When in high school I worked for an International Harvester / Willys dealer and used a 1943 Army Jeep around the yard. That was a great vehicle. Too bad they don’t build quality Jeeps any more.

    Like 3
  14. Rod

    I’ve been enjoying a 1990 XJ 4.0L limited automatic 4 door for 20 years. US import, I bought in Europe and became the second owner. The driver’s seat is the only element that has worn out and was reupholstered. Cooling system and steering were rebuilt and the AC compressor has just packed up ! But these Jeeps are truly wonderful and a lot of fun.

    Like 2
  15. terry lee watts

    we are the second owners of a 90 cherokee 4.0 with automatic. i maintained it for the previous owners. has 245000 miles and still purrs. everything works like new. will continue to drive it till we get tired of it. which is probably forever. there,s nothing like tried and true.

    Like 4
  16. Materialman

    I had a 94 4.0 5 speed. Put 120,000 on it without a single problem. Good power, good mileage, and tough as nails. They got it right!

    Like 1
  17. David Ulrey

    I have owned 5 of these critters and not a lemon in the bunch. Years ranged from 1984 to 1996. Two of the ones had the 2.5 four cylinder with a carb. Lord knows they weren’t power houses but did fine with plenty of shifting the manual transmissions. Lol. One of those was an early Cherokee Chief with the stripe package. All the rest were variants of the different models and were 4 door ones. I actually never had any a/c issues, maybe I was lucky? One I had looked great because it was painted not long before I bought it. Here’s the kicker. Got it from the original owner and it had close to 500k miles! It sounded like a diesel whether it was at idle or driving but it didn’t smoke, that thing just kept on truckin’

    Like 2

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