55K Mile Survivor: 1998 Jeep Cherokee

This clean white 1998 Jeep Cherokee is a no reserve listing, representing a potentially great deal for a survivor-grade XJ with plenty of life left for daily driving or a gentle off-road built. The XJ is an emerging classic, but it’s not so far into the collector category that you have to keep it under cover and only driven on sunny days. Curiously, this example wears factory fender flares and the cross-lace wheels from the Limited package Cherokee. It’s listed here on eBay with bidding up to $7,600 and located in White Marsh, Maryland.

I personally got excited this was¬† a low-mileage Limited model, which has become fairly hard to find. And that brings up a point about the quickly appreciating XJ-series: is every Cherokee collectible now if it’s a low mileage survivor? While the XJ has a legendary reputation for racking up impressive odometer readings with minimal upkeep, that also means that finding one that hasn’t been used to that level has clearly become more of a challenge. Knowing you can buy a squarebody like this for safely under $20,000 and get tons of use out of it certainly has lots of appeal.

The interiors aren’t luxurious, unless you find the aforementioned Limited trim. The Sport models were built to be entirely suitable for everyday use, but also the kind of cockpit you wouldn’t feel badly about tearing up for off-road use. Drive it through some riverbeds and see some water squeeze in at the bottom of the doors? No big deal. Leave the doors open and let it air out the next day. Fortunately, that clearly hasn’t happened here; in fact, there’s no evidence of any modifications or customization attempts that would point to a previous life spent off-road, and certainly not with the conservative wheel and tire package seen here.

The engine bay is reasonably clean, and with under 60,000 miles, there’s tons of life left in this XJ. Some of us may recall videos from the Cash for Clunkers debacle that showed a Cherokee of this vintage getting fed the poison pill cocktail to render the engine a boat anchor and seeing an XJ-generation model take a hilariously long time to sputter and croak. With modern Cherokees chock-full of technology just waiting to break and interiors you dare not bring a muddy shoe into, survivors like this XJ represent an awesome value for an everyday-friendly classic with strong credentials off-road and on.

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  1. 8thNote 8thNote Member

    I’ve always liked the XJs. The classic wagon-body and the legendary straight 6 engine are a great combination. Its not uncommon to see clean examples pushing 200k miles for $10k on craigslist around here.

    Like 4
  2. RayT Member

    I’ll be surprised if the bids don’t jump up before this is over. A clean XJ, without the cover-the-rust spray paint underneath and no visible defects should pull in some higher bids.

    Wish I could afford it. I’ve driven several XJs and enjoyed every one of them. Love the big “six,” which has ample power and is smooth and reliable. Most I’ve seen had fancier trim (leather, etc.) but I dig the looks (and feel) of cloth seats.

    Someone is going to be happy with this.

    Like 5
  3. Larry

    I just sold my 1999 XJ 2 WD that I purchased nonrunning in 2008 for $1000. Has typical clearcoat faded paint, dead battery, bad tires and the owner son left a gym bag in the back area for six months in the Florida sun. I almost thought I paid too much at 1K after airing it out. We did a new battery, 4 new tires, tuneup, Hoses and belts and filters. Managed to replace 2 worn out front seats with two like new used ones for $40 from a nearby owner who had them in his garage. Kept it until the mileage rolled over to 170K and sold it to my AC man for $3000. Engine was solid and reliable and so EZ to work on.

  4. Car Nut Tacoma

    Call me old school, but I’ve always preferred the Jeep XJ Cherokee over the current version of the Cherokee.

    Like 5
  5. Mark Member

    I had a 98 Laredo and loved it. I sold it when the Grand Cherokee came out and that was really a stupid move. The XJ’s were much better in the snow and muck. My first lesson that just because a car has more bells, whistles and conveniences it is not necessarily a better car. And it costs a hell of a lot more to fix.

  6. JMB#7

    Few & far between, but I had a 1988 Laredo with the 4 liter & 5 speed manual. Fantastic combination, and my favorite of all my Cherokees.

    Like 1
  7. E

    Do you think this car is four wheel drive?

    • JMB#7

      That lever to the left of the shift lever is the “Select Trac” shift lever. 2wd High, 4wd High, Neutral, 4wd Low. 4wd with this transfer case is considered “Part Time” which means there is not a center differential. Said otherwise, it will buck in turns when traction is good.

      Like 1

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