New SUV Alternative: 73k Mile 1998 Jeep Cherokee

If you have gone new car shopping lately then you know how crazy the prices have gotten. Some of the SUVs cost nearly as much as a small house! That can make low-mileage 4x4s like this Jeep Cherokee very tempting. This one has only covered 73k miles since new and it presents very well in the photos. It’s located in Cream Ridge, New Jersey and is listed here on eBay for $7,900.

The majority of these Jeeps were driven into the ground long ago, so it’s a rare thing to find one this nice. Do a search of your local craigslist and I bet you will be astonished at how many miles some of the Cherokees have. The driver’s seat shows a little wear, but overall the interior looks very good here. I’d love to see the carpets without the plastic because that just makes me think the dealer has something to hide. Perhaps I’m just being cynical though.

If you are going to get one of these, that’s the engine you want. The 4.0 six-cylinder was tough and will go for hundreds of thousands of miles with general maintenance. The seller claims that a tune-up and brake job has been performed recently so you should be ready to go. This was built near the end of XJ production and is probably the only generation of Cherokee I’d want. They weren’t as cushy as later models, but they were durable and easy to work on.

This 4×4 may not be the most exciting vehicle we have ever featured, but it could be perfect for someone who is in the market for a new SUV but is having a hard time with the prices. It’s not as big as a Suburban, but unless you have more than three kids, that’s probably not a bad thing. These rigs are relatively cheap to run and you could probably get a lot of life out of this one without any major expenses beyond the purchase price. The real question though, is it really worth eight grand?


  1. DSteele

    The first set of tail lamps I designed when I worked at Jeep Truck Engineering.
    The good ol’ days

    Like 13
    • GliveCo

      I owned this model and loved the tail lamps. Thank you. Best vehicle I ever owned, and handsome.

      Like 5
      • DSteele

        I had a 96 XJ and loved it, but it was real basic. It was a 4×4 with AC but that was it when it came to power anything. I also designed the first generation Liberty tail lamps and bought one the first month of production, drove it for 14 years. Both were great vehicles
        Now my wife and I both drive 2017 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawks (Best Jeep I’ve ever own). I didn’t design the Cherokee Lamps
        I now design Honda lamps

        Like 3
  2. Bakyrdhero

    DSteele when I first saw the Cherokee facelift I thought the tail lights looked so much nicer and more modern with the smooth surface and orange blinkers.
    Glove I agree with you, my 99 Cherokee was the best vehicle I’ve ever owned. 10 years and 170k and it never left me stranded. We limped home on a bad water pump one time, but that drivetrain was still perfect when I sold it. Some annoyances popped up with the electrical and interior as I let it go knowing I wanted a new truck. Awesome in the snow plus a lot of fun. The first day I sat in my Jeep before I bought it I said to myself “it has everything I need and nothing I don’t” it just made sense. It wasn’t as flashy or cushy as the other SUV’s on the market, but that was also part of its charm.
    As far as 8k for this one…it’s probably worth it. The quad trac is a competent 4×4 system if that’s what this has as I suspect. If it’s the select trac with optional full time 4×4 then that makes a difference. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little extra traction in the rain and light snow. also a lower trim level with less options and while it will run forever, the miliage isn’t super low. I think I’d feel better paying more like $5-6k.

    Like 4
  3. Howard A Member

    Yes, (on prices) yes they have. If you are looking for Jeep under $10g’s, this is your only choice. I was looking for a CJ, but these people are nuts. They can keep their precious CJ’s. Even though, there’s no comparison from this to a CJ, this is much more civilized, and this is relatively, a good buy. These all have a jillion miles on them. My personal experience with one, was not good. I owned it for about 3 hours. On the way home from the dealer( used) the motor puked, and was lucky to get my money back, but it wasn’t the Jeeps fault. I doubt you’ll find a nicer one than this.

    Like 2
  4. morton

    Love the shape. That boxy styling has always appealed to me.
    I owned a 2001 County in 2.5 Diesel. Plucky little motor.
    My only criticism was the design of the side shafts (Or half shafts if you prefer?)
    These XJ’s never had proper wheel bearings with an inner race.
    The bearings run on the shaft. Causing them to wear down shafts.
    Resulting in them snapping like carrots.
    But otherwise a lovely SUV and capable off-roader even in standard form.

    Like 1
  5. Capriest

    This is a BARGAIN being that it’s in Jersey. These all either have 300k on them or are rusted to death up here.In most cases both. These are generally stone reliable. Way less things to go awry on it than a newer SUV, and much simpler to work on as well. This will likely only need wear and tear brake/suspension items and maybe some cooling system parts during the rest of it’s lifespan. I’d fluid film the hell out of it and see if the drivetrain could outlast the tinworm.

    Like 2
  6. geezerglide85

    We had 2 of these, a 2000 that my wife put 230,000 mi on and ’98 still going at 190,000. great vehicles. The 2000 still sits in the yard and runs great, but the back of the frame rusted around the trailer hitch. I love the fact that when you need 4-wheel drive you just pull the lever on the floor. This system doesn’t have fancy computers or electronics to break. 4.0 motor is super reliable. Low milage ones with no rust are hard to find.

    Like 3
  7. ccrvtt

    If the CVCC is worth $7,000 this Cherokee is certainly worth $8,000.

    I know what I’d buy.

    Like 1
  8. Eugene m Meyer III

    whole underside coated, and recently recently to hide surface rust? i would have to inspect in person considering a Jersey car.

  9. 408interceptor

    My 97 Grand Cherokee has been in the family since new. It has never been abused or driven off road in it’s 88,000 miles. I just finished replacing the rear axle oil seals and now the dana 30 front axle inners are starting to leak. The dana 30 will also be getting it’s third set of u-joints, this time I got the greaseable ones. The steering was never very accurate and it has only gotten worse with age. To hopefully fix this I will also be installing a new track bar before the dreaded “DEATH WHOBBLE” happens. Electrical anomalies are an every day surprise and now it takes 20 minutes to fill the gas tank because some evaporative device is not venting properly in the filler neck of the exploding gas tank. Yes Grand Cherokees explode just like Pinto’s in a rear end crash, the recall fix by Chrysler was to install class 3 tow receivers and a $100 gift certificate. I only keep mine because it’s rust free and the 4.0 runs good. Cherokees from this era are cheap vehicle, thank God parts are cheap and easily attainable but to pay $8,000 for one is ludicrous.

  10. cmarv

    VERY surprised this is still for sale !

    Like 2
  11. RetroRick

    Rust free stock XJs will never be cheaper than they are now. This is a good value and will run well forever, just like mine does. 2.8 million were made 1984-2001 but clean stock ones are getting rare. Parts are cheap and plentiful, easy to work on and a pleasure to drive. What else could you want?


    I’d throw a 4 inch rough country lift under it and some 33 or 35 inch rubber. I’ve had 2 of these and done that to both. It makes them ride better and I even got a bit better gas mileage from them. It also gets the body up a bit so you can get under it to spray away the Pennsylvania salt come spring and spray any bare spots with a good quality paint. I have an 08 wrangler Rubicon now but miss my Cherokee on almost a daily basis

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