Low Mileage ZJ: 9,000 Mile Jeep Grand Cherokee

Seeing vehicles in mint, unused condition that you’ve grown accustomed to seeing in junkyards and converted into hoopties can be a trip. This 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited here on craigslist has just over 9,000 miles from new and is located in a town near and dear to your author’s heart – Poughkeepsie, New York, where I can only imagine which of the few remaining prominent families left in my hometown had this beauty locked away in the garage. 

The Limited was the top of the line model for the year, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t a true Jeep underneath. In fact, one might even argue it was closer to its roots in 1995 than it is today, despite both generations placing an emphasis on luxury. The ZJ platform Limited came equipped with Quadra-Trac full-time four wheel drive, and despite the likelihood of this example never venturing off-road, it can be a decent rock crawler with the right tires. Lift kits, transfer case upgrades and larger tires are all common modifications.

However, this example should simply be preserved and enjoyed. Power and heated leather seats, heated mirrors, a power sunroof and keyless entry were all standard features. Although the puffy leather isn’t in style today, this Limited’s interior still looks all sorts of comfortable with plenty of room for kids and their stuff. On the outside, the Limiteds all received unique wheels with gold inlays and color-matched lower body panels. All of these features appear to be in mint condition on this example, but the seller doesn’t verify the functionality of finicky items like power seats.

Roof rack, tow hitch and exposed rear tire carrier all point to an original owner who read the options catalog carefully and then ordered one of everything. When is the last time you saw a Grand Cherokee that hadn’t already been converted to off-road use or just thoroughly trashed? Black with gold accents is one of the best color combos these Limited models came in, and the $11,900 asking price hardly seems unreasonable considering you’ll not likely find another one this nice anytime soon. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Al Go for the find.

Fast Finds


  1. Gunner

    Love it. If it were only closer. A bit steep on the price for me, but it somewhat unique. My favorite generation. Great find.

  2. jdjonesdr

    Man, would I love to find some seats like that for my 90 Cherokee

  3. Jim B

    Jeff – what are “hoopties”? Regional dialect? (I’m from CA)

    • glen

      I’m wondering the same thing, I’m in Ontario,Canada.

    • JamestownMike




      plural noun: hoopties

      a car, especially an old or dilapidated one.

      • glen

        I call them beaters!

    • lucipher

      a hoopty is a beat up old car lol that’s all

    • Tom Driscoll

      Hooptie= midwest speak for: ghetto cruiser, junker, good riding-who cares what people think-get in and drive fun car!

    • Mg

      hoopie is a cheap beat up car which get you from point a to point b

  4. JamestownMike

    I’m not a fan of the Chrysler V8’s (5.2?), it would be much better if it had the bullet proof 4.0 inline 6!


      That motor is junk and will give out quickly. I would have to drop in a 401 in its place.

      • JamestownMike

        I agree, that 5.2 is junk!…….and the transmission wasn’t much better!

      • Semperfi1371

        Which is junk? Not the 4.0, my 90 has 675k on her

  5. Andre

    Had one of these for a couple years, limited trim – even same black on beige.

    It was literally the worst vehicle I’ve ever owned. Some type of failure – head gasket(s), electrical, driveline, electrical again, things falling apart, a little bit more electrical was a weekly occurrence.

    I see these on the road (rarely, nowadays) and feel sorry for the owner.

    Traded it ~90,000mi on an R53 Cooper to go (pretend) racing and was pretty sure I had found Jesus.

    Like 2
    • Junkyard Jimmy

      I am with you Andre. My first ever brand new vehicle I ever bought was a Jeep Grand Cherokee and it was a horrible vehicle. Turned me off of Chrysler forever. The second week I owned it the catalytic converter took a dump. Once a month it got towed for something. I used to joke that it racked up more miles behind the tow truck then I ever was able to drive it. Transmission quit at two years and I sold it for a loss just to be done with it. To top it off, the 4.0 six got worse mileage than my old Ford Bronco with a big V-8 that I traded in to buy the Jeep.

      Like 1
      • Andre

        Yes.. Same boat would never touch another Chrysler product after that nightmare

      • Krazy Rex

        Junk yard Jimmy. I have heard tales as yours. Mine is a 1990 and love IT. TOWED I TIME ONLY. 120,000 miles trouble free-alternator died. Bot for $4,500 with 15 yrs sweet now past. Wish your experience was better. Thank you for sharing. It is always good to learn from others. Thank you JYJ. Love junk yards too!

    • JamestownMike

      Seems like they got the electrical gremlins figured out on the 97 and newer Jeeps.

      • Matt G

        I have an 01 Cherokee with a bucket full of electrical problems- it might be better than before but it still ain’t great…

    • wuzjeepnowsaab

      The reason surviving gen1 zj’s have low miles is because they were broken 70% of the time

      Like 1
    • Wesley H Evans

      Are you kidding me! I bought a 1996 Grand Cherokee 5.2 Orvis Edition back in 2000! And after 19 years and 315,000 miles of being one of my daily drivers all I’ve had to replace is the water pump, alternator and the power steering pump! Other than that keep the oil changed every 3000. Oh, and quite a few sets of tires. Still runs good today! Puzzled about the bad luck you have had???

      Like 1
  6. Jimbot

    I can confirm.. I owned one and they are complete garbage from front to back. This is cool because of the low mileage but otherwise.. might be a good sometimes-driven “lake house” truck or something but shouldn’t be used as reliable transportation to get you where you need to go.

    • JamestownMike

      I’d stay clear of any and all late 80’s, 90’s and even early 00′ V8 Grand Cherokee’s! Stay with the legendary 4.0 inline six and your pretty golden!

      • Ross892

        Got an 03 with 108k on the 4.0 inline gas milage is not great(actually sucks) but will not die, engine made in Kenosha will last another 5 years

      • Jimbot

        Totally agree JamestownMike – The 4.0 engine is bullet proof and really a wonderful example of engineering – I had an XJ which, frankly was better than the ZJ but still had lots of issues that always needed sorting out, but overall was much more reliable (and better looking IMHO) than the ZJ.

        I don’t want to bag on the seller though – that truck is cool, and low mileage, and I think to scoot around town or vacation home grocery getter this thing is perfect. I think it’s probably worth close to the asking price. Good luck to them –

  7. 86 Vette Convertible

    Co-worker had one that looked almost identical. Said after owning that one he would not have another Jeep. I don’t know if it was the same year, but it had the same body and he got it new. Apparently it was a perpetual problem child.

    • BillyT

      LOL! I have often heard, from people who have owned Jeeps, that the two happiest days in a Jeep owners life are the day they bought it and the day they got rid of it. Not ever having owned one I couldn’t say; however, I have owned a couple of other cars that I felt that way about.

  8. JamestownMike

    Two months ago, I bought this garage kept cream puff 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited with 86,734 miles, rear wheel drive (NOT 4×4) with the 4.0 inline six for $3,100 (with fees)! It was a Copart donation, CA clean title, run and drive. Passed CA smog no problem. Bought it for my niece in San Diego, CA.

    • JamestownMike

      Here’s a pic of the tan leather interior.

      • JamestownMike

        Here’s a pic of the legendary 4.0 inline six.

    • RichS

      My aunt had a ’99 4.0 4WD that gave her nearly zero troubles in the 200K she put on it – we bought it from her for the trade-in offer the dealer gave her when she bought a new ’07 V6 4WD. After 2 years of ownership she admitted the ’99 was a better vehicle and we actually went looking for the lowest mileage 2003 or 2004 we could find for her and quickly found her 2007 was worth less than a 4 year older GC with about the same miles. I’d buy another one – but only a 4 liter. The 4.7 was garbage.

  9. PJ

    Love everything about it, have the asking price but way too far from me sadly.

  10. Squanto

    The only thing not “Limited” on a Jeep will be the time it spends in the shop. The owner probably was only able to put 9,000 miles on it due to the downtime.

  11. John M

    The Aisin Warner Transmission in my 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee had over 260K on it. Still running well. I think those are what backed the 5.2 V8 too. Mine had the 4.0 six

    • JamestownMike

      The Aisin Warner AW-4, four speed automatic transmission was behind the 4.0 inline six engine. The 5.2 Magnum V8 had the 46RH, four speed automatic transmission.

  12. gene

    I had one 15 years ego . It was a 95 black, leather, full time 4 wheel drive with posi rear. It had a 6 cyl engine. I bought it at Copart for $2500. Had no damage at all. Why it ended up there who knows. It was a great suv . They only have one problem. The heater box collects garbage and eventually begins to smell inside the vehicle. The only real solution is to replace a heater box. Which is aint cheap and easy. Other than that they are bullet proof. Stay away from V8s they are crap.

    • Krazy Rex

      Gene do you also like Copart? For buys? Good experiences. Am thinking to try.

  13. John D

    I must take umbrage with the bashing going on. My experience with the 318 V8 clear back to the 1960’s is that it has always been bullet proof. The 4.0 I6 was from AMC and is also a solid engine. It would develop wrist pin slap at idle, but Chrysler corrected that after 1997 by lengthening the piston skirts. I was also selling them in the 1990’s and we regularly took them on trade with both engines around 200,000 miles and retailed them back out with only scheduled maintenance. I’d buy one with those miles on it today and drive cross country without fear. In 1998, Chrysler put the 5.9 (360) Magnum in the Limited. Then in ’99 they debut the 4.7 V8 derived from the same block and the Gen 3 hemi in 2005. I had a doctor who had all 3. The 5.9 was fast, but he told me the 4.7 was faster and the 5.3 hemi was faster yet. He was out drag racing his son to figure this out. Incidentally, of all the Jeeps we sold, our shop saw very few for more than just scheduled maintenance.

    Like 1
  14. Don

    Can’t believe the bashing of the 318 if it was in an 70 challenger you’d be saying it is a great engine ,and it is

    Like 1
  15. JamestownMike

    Are you really comparing a 318 from 1970 to 1995??………come on now!

    • RichS

      As far as the engine goes – give me the 1995. It’s going to start in 15 degree weather, idle correctly and not require ignition component replacement/adjustment at least once a year.

      As to what that engine is installed in – I’ll have to consider that on a case-by-case basis.

      Like 1
    • Don

      Yes I am

    • Don

      The 95 magnum is a lot stronger engine then the 70 .The 70 has 230 gross horse power and the 95 has 235 net horse power so I guess I’m not comparing them both ,the magnum is a lot better

      Like 1
      • John D

        If I was to ‘restore’ an older car with an old 318, I would get Magnum heads, a 4 barrel carb, a better cam and exhaust manifolds and end up with a better breathing, matching numbers engine.

        Like 1
  16. Car Nut Seattle

    Looking at today’s Grand Cherokee and the first generation Grand Cherokee, I find the first generation way more attractive.

    Like 1
  17. Tom Driscoll

    I agree, these were terrible cars, but if you ordered the H.O. motor, they were crazy strong! The next gen was my favorite…seats were super comfy, and the V8 literally jumped off the line. I have a 2011 Overland Hemi that is civilized and respectable, but has definitely lost the seat-of-the-pants feel of the earlier models…just shows, progress comes with some compromise…

  18. Royal Ricci

    You are from Poughkeepsie? I live in LaGrangeville.

  19. Chuck

    Wow, all these current and former Jeep owners with so many problems. My co-worker back in the 90s bought a ZJ. He loved it so much, he bought a WJ when they came out. As far as I know, he never had any problems with his. My ex bought a ZJ like this one except white w/gold after we divorced. She had no problems and handed it down to my son who ran the clock up to around 300K with no issues.

    I bought an ’04 Limited with the 4.7. Put 200K on it with no issues. Donated it to charity last Dec. We also have an ’08 Overland with the 5.7 and a ’14 Limited also with the 5.7. No issues on any of them. Love them. (Oh yeah, that’s the wife’s R53 in the foreground. Pic is taken from the second floor of my shop. There’s two TR6s and an old Bug sitting in there.)

    • John D

      The only problem we had consistently was on the ’99 and later WJ Limiteds and anything with the limited slip front axle chewing up differentials. The Quadra Trac before was a real nice transfer case. When upgrading it to a full limited slip on 2 axles, well, lets just say they brought it to market too soon, before development work was finished.

      As to all the vehicles with problems, I’d say that is a sign of a bad dealer or a bad shop. Like Chuck’s multiple high mileage good experiences, I have had nothing but good to say about high mileage Jeeps. They stay tight and reliable through the 200,000 mile mark.

  20. Keith

    Too bad it’s not an Orvis Edition, but hey you can’t have everything! Really though, I’ve owned a few Jeeps but never the GC, and especially not from this area. Knew too many people who did and heard all of their horror stories.

  21. jaymes

    buy and stash away for another 25yrs, worth alot then

  22. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Its a Jeep thing. I have owned Jeeps forever. Starting with my first, a 1976 CJ7. Graduating to the GC’s because of more room. I own a 1999 GC now and at a buck ninety seven thousand miles she is still happily going on the off road and snow trails. I also own a 1960 four wheel drive Willys Overland Utility Wagon. I drive her all year around here in Wisconsin with a huge smile on my face!

  23. RJ

    I had a 1996 GC Limited. Mine was a V8, Brandywine with charcoal leather. I don’t remember having a lot of issues outside of the information center randomly telling me I had a headlight, taillight, brake or turning light out when I really did not. My dad on the other had had a 1998 GC Laredo that had nothing but electrical problems. Chrysler nor independent mechanics could sort it out. After having it towed 5 times in a month from hundreds of miles away he traded it in on a Trailblazer. He’s had 5 TBs since, driven each to 200k with zero issues. I also had a 1998 XJ Cherokee Sport and I miss it badly. It was so nimble here in our Midwest winters. I rarely had to put it in 4WD even in the deepest snow.

  24. OJM

    While I agree with the deserved Chrysler bashing I couldn’t disagree more about the low quality of these early GC’s.
    I’ve owned a ’95 Orvis, 5.2 V8, for 20 years and this thing has been bullet proof for 160k. Besides the routine pm maintenance(belts, hoses, plugs etc.,.)the only part I’ve had to replace is the water pump. It actually still has the original exhaust system on it which is just now starting to leak a little.
    The transmission is clunky and It eats gas but the 318 is plenty strong. I’ve owned a lot of cars, mostly Japanese and this has been one of my favorites. I used it as a daily driver for 8+ years and to tow a boat it’s whole life and it’s been a work horse. I did have it Ziebarted early and it’s rust free. The original moss green paint still shines like new.
    My only secret has been synthetic oil and premium gas. This is a keeper for me.

    Like 1
  25. ali guven

    where did you order the tire carrier ?

    Like 1

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