Mini Wagoneer: 1992 Jeep Cherokee Briarwood

By Nathan Avots-Smith

Old Jeeps are hot stuff these days. The mack-daddy Grand Wagoneers of the ’70s and ’80s are quickly entering the pricing stratosphere, so it seems logical that the XJ Cherokee, built from 1984 to 2001 and considered the progenitor of the modern, mid-size unibody SUV—not to mention a classical good looker—would be next. Here’s a mini Wagoneer with a not-so-mini price: a ’92 Cherokee Briarwood, replete with faux wood paneling and just 16,640 original miles, for the princely sum of $17,950. I bet they get it, too. You can find it advertised on the site of Concord, California dealer CarBuffs, and thanks to reader Nick for the tip!

The Briarwood trim might be a bit obscure to some of us, so a quick primer: When the XJ Cherokee was introduced in 1984, the top-of-the-line trim was the wood-paneled Wagoneer—no Grand, but clearly positioned as the big wagon’s baby brother. In 1991 and ’92, as the big Grand Wagoneer took its final victory lap and was replaced by the Grand Cherokee (which also boasted a Grand Wagoneer trim in its 1993 debut year), the Cherokee Wagoneer trim level was replaced by the Briarwood, which was largely the same as before, but shared the same front clip as other Cherokees and included a full leather interior rather than the old Wagoneer’s cloth-leather combo. After 1992, there were no more wood-paneled Cherokees, and the downsized, Grand Cherokee-based Wagoneer only lasted one year, spelling the end of faux wood siding altogether for Jeeps after 1993. Got it?

That leather interior looks every bit as good as a 16,000-mile car’s should. All of the power accessories, which include powered seats for both front passengers, are said to function well, and the A/C still blows cold. The rear seat looks just as good as the front, the carpets look clean all around, and even the very inconvenient looking roll-out cargo cover is still present and accounted for. There’s even allegedly some residual new-car smell.

Under the hood is the legendarily stout 4-liter inline six, backed by an automatic transmission and sending power to all four basket weave wheels via a SelecTrac transfer case. This is an incredibly clean little wagon throughout—I’m guessing the selling dealer shelled out for as good a detailer as they did a photographer, although they were conscientious enough to document the very minor imperfections in the paint—to the point that I’m not even offended by the price. As much as I hate to think of cars in these terms, at a now-classic 25 years old and in a lovely color combination, this rare, low-mileage XJ Cherokee is probably a great investment. With that in mind, if you were to drop the coin on this one, could you bring yourself to drive it?

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  1. Jeffro

    Hmmm…anybody want to go mudding?

    • leiniedude

      Jeffro, I am all in! 18K, 10 K to much. Maybe less. Nice rig though. I have had several. Still drive a 1999 Grand Cherokee and a early Willys Overland 4 wheel drive utility wagon. She would not last long in my hands in that condition. To many Wisconsin beauty marks.

  2. Dusty Stalz

    Here’s my 91 Briarwood backyard find. Bought it off a buddy last year. 31s with offset rims and a 2″ rough country lift. 4.0 HO motor. Goes like stink and I’ve never been stuck. Love it.

    • leiniedude

      I believe you Dusty. 4.0 is killer motor. Great looking rig. Great rack also. Enjoy.

    • Neal

      Nice setup. Just noticed the pinstriping above the wood grain.

  3. GliveCo

    Makes me sad when I see people only talking about beating their XJs like it’s all they’re good for.

    Like the pit bull owners who only use their dogs for fighting.

    Only a select few understand the true value of leaving these things beautiful and relatively untouched. Just like the countless Dodge Chargers destroyed over the years during the Dukes era, there will eventually only be a finite number of XJs left, and I hope I have one.

    I’ve got a Grand Wag currently, but I’d love to have a classic XJ and YJ to go with it.

    • jdjonesdr

      I’m with you. I’ve got a 2 door 90 XJ Sport that I found in a junk yard and brought it back to life.
      Drives as good as a new car now. I’ve got 4 vehicles including a 2008 Toyota Prado 2 door, and the XJ is my DD.
      I’ve been stopped on the street and offered 10K for it, but it’s not going anywhere.×1124/80-img_20170603_105853_ce7162aa813b1b838ea06eed1e42d594e0b86d43.jpg

      • BMW4RunninTundra Member

        That is a very nice looking rig!!! Especially for being a “junkyard rescue” vehicle!!! I love the matte black!!!! It just “fits”!!!!!!! Good on you! Keep it. Drive it. Smile a lot in it!!
        (this is all coming from an “Anti Chrysler” enthusiast)

    • Peter

      I have 4 jeeps 1988 jeep wagoner Limited and 1990 jeep cherokee limited with sun roof 1991 jeep briarwood and a 1992 jeep Laredo with sun roof

  4. Neal

    Nice rig and great resurrection!
    Btw- what’s a Prado?

  5. Neal

    Well, that’s a cool buggy! And a diesel to boot.

  6. Rustytech

    Love the xj Cherokee. My son and I are in the process of restoring his 1999. This is one nice looking Cherokee, but $17k? That has to be the highest asking price I have ever seen on one of these, and I have looked at plenty! I looked at one a couple months ago that was clean, and had about 50k on the clock. It was priced at $8500. Is 34k, and some fake wood grain worth $9500?

  7. ccrvtt

    Maybe a little pricey but look at what you’re getting. My customers who own these love them and are hanging onto them regardless of condition. They are just good, honest, all-American vehicles. My son has an ’04 WJ and I’m really impressed by the stoutness of the chassis.


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