Super Clean Stick Shift: 1991 Jeep Cherokee Laredo

In my opinion, the Jeep Cherokee XJ model fits in the category of new classic. With prices of nice examples going up, this stunning example checks a lot of boxes. Find it here on Craigslist in Fairfax, VA for $4,500

AMC did it right in ’84 with the design of the XJ Jeep Cherokee. The model hit the market at the perfect time when the small SUV market was heating up. The Chevy Blazer and Ford Bronco II were on the market, but in 2 door versions only. The Cherokee was offered in 2 and 4 door models, giving consumers with families the opportunity to take the kids off-road. The design was virtually untouched from ’84 until ’96, and the simple, classic lines seemed to stay modern. Drive train options varied as the Cherokee migrated from AMC to Chrysler. By 1991 when this particular Jeep was built they had the power train dialed in.

This Cherokee is equipped with the legendary 4.0, by ’91 the 4.0 was equipped with Chryslers Multiport Fuel Injection instead of the Renix system leftover from the AMC days. The transmission should be the 5 speed AX-15.  I believe this color is called Canyon Blue, its looks great and is most likely a repaint. The 4×4 logo under the Cherokee fender badge looks out of place and should not be there, other than that its almost perfect.

The interior looks amazing and the 5 speed shifter and crank windows are a very welcome sight. It’s nice to see the classic Jeep 4×4 Lever as these where offered in a 2WD. I would hope the future owner doesn’t take any hardcore off road excursions, but it does add to the practicality of the Jeep.  Mileage is low at 109,000.

Growing up in the 80s these things were everywhere, I have many memories riding in an 85 XJ with the 2.8. The interior of these Jeeps have a distinct smell that always evokes memories. Hopefully the next owner of this Jeep will maintain it to this standard, but drive and enjoy it.

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  1. RayT Member

    I can’t think of these as “classics” — and it sure doesn’t look like a “barn find” — but it’s only the distance between me and Fairfax. VA that keeps me from checking it out!

    These were terrific machines when new: comfortable, useful and nearly bulletproof. The 4.0 (inline, not V6, despite what the seller says) gave adequate performance, acceptable fuel economy and, from all I’ve heard, will survive almost anything short of a direct nuclear attack. I drove several Cherokees, both on the highway and over mild off-road trails, and they did their job. Pretty sure they’d seem just as nice to me today.

    The ones I drove were all automatics, but the 5-speed makes it all that much more tempting. Good for me — and my bank account! — that the seller didn’t take photos of the underside and engine bay. If he/she had, I might be checking for flights to the Fairfax area….

  2. Redwagon

    At $4500 I’d be surprised if it were still available.

  3. r s

    I’m not sure why the crank windows are a ‘welcome’ sight. On a warm day driving by yourself, if you decide to turn on the A/C, to close those crank windows you have to pull over and go all around the vehicle to manually roll them up. I’d much rather press a few buttons while I’m driving.

    • jeffro

      Pull over? More like stretch and lean wayyyyy over and roll the window down. I like crank windows…one less thing to break. Lol

  4. Jimmy

    Not much of a Jeep fan but for a family hauler and in this color combination I love it.

  5. Mike

    I was interested in one until I sat in a co-worker’s Cherokee. The area around me was tight and my line of vision was at the top of the windshield. Ended up getting a Vanagon Syncro instead to shovel $$$ into.

  6. Matt steele

    I had one.had a suburban spin out on an icy hill and block my path.i couldn’t get it stopped.smashed into it at 35 mph.cracked the grill blew the air bags.i drove it 2 more years..
    Gave to step hr later it was upside down in a steep ravine..she was was drivable but not roadable… they r very tough vehicles..wish I had another

  7. Joe M

    I have had five of these in various forms, great vehicles. Went to the auctions to try and pick one up for use around the property. Stunned by the prices even at auction, getting harder to find. Wish the made them in Mexico like the old VW Bugs.

  8. Ron

    Hmmmmm. The Jeep Cherokee! I own 3. On the advice of my brother in law who is a master Chrysler Mechanic “All you have to do is change brakes and exhaust” I bought a 99 Sport New for my son in high school. He drove that thing very very hard and used it all through college as well in Fla, We live in NY, and I used it to tow my 21 foot boat down to school for him every August so he could use it through the winter. The boat was way too big for that Jeep but it did it. Anyway that particular one then went to my next sone who also used it through high school and also drove it very very hard. Well he still has it with over 200k on it. Original engine, tranny, AC etc. That thing worked so well I bought a used 2000 Classic for my daughter also now pushing 200 k also needing very little. And the 3rd one I bought because I have grown to love them so much. Very versatile whether on the beach or in the snow. The 4.0 is a great engine. Very strong I bought a 2010 Liberty which feels underpowered and soft suspensioned. I have had many people come up to me with the Cherokee and tell me the best Jeep they have ever owned. Just the other day a guy who was getting gas next to me with a late model 4 door wrangler came up to me and told me he liked his Cherokee better than the Wrangler. Go figure. Anyway I have grown to love them because they have proven themselves to me over time and abuse


      What do you mean by “All you have to do is change brakes and exhaust”?

      • Beatlepat

        Th muffler bearings on these don’t last.

  9. exbenzo tech

    I had a 1995 grand cher with a 6 and full time 4wheel drive and posi rear.
    Simply the best suv I ever had.
    The biggest problem with these is the exhaust manifold cracking and heater box filling with garbage and starting to smell.

    • Jeffro

      Could of been the egg salad sandwich you left in glove box

    • JMB#7

      I had two 1988 4.0 Cherokees. Removed the exhaust manifold, grooved & welded the crack. Never cracked again. Sold one with 265k miles, original clutch, never burned oil but did leak a little around the main seal, and blew a little into the air cleaner. The other, had an automatic, and I sold it around 195k miles. Both ran great when sold. Used them for everything from hauling firewood to hauling the family & towing a boat. Ran B.F. Goodrich All Terrain KO tires. Even had a set of chains which were only needed once or twice. Now driving a WJ with the 4.0 liter, and I must say that the rear suspension on it is better for towing and all around use.

  10. Ron

    That was my mechanic brother in laws way of saying they last forever without much problems

  11. mark

    I owned 2 of the pick up versions of these (Comanche). An 86 and an 87. Both 2WD versions. The 86 had the 4 cylinder and a 5 speed. The 87 had the 4.0 in line 6 and an automatic. Both great vehicles although the 6 cylinder was better. That 4 liter in line was a great motor.

  12. Dean

    Had a 95 2 door with 2 wheel drive. Good commuter at the time with the straight 6. 4.0 is a good engine but it developed a leaking RMS. Then a drunk driver hit the rear totalling it. I got a Mustang GT after that

  13. R Soul

    I had a 88 black two door Laredo, 4.0l 5 speed. The only vehicle I’ve ever bought brand new. The engine and shift on the fly 4×4 was a great system. It rusted right through just after the rust perforation warranty expired.

  14. XMA0891

    Bought a loaded ‘85 when it was 12 years old, drove it for three years, and sold it for more than I purchased it for. The second owner brought it way over 200 k before using it as a trade in. All these accolades – And AMC went out of business how?

    • 68custom

      often said this one may have saved them (awhile) if they had been able to hang on long enough…

  15. Rustytech

    Ours just went over the 200k mark, I think it’s finally broken in! Other tha a few minor electrical gremlins, and some minor rust, we have had absolutely no problems with it. I to wish they still made them.

  16. steven m

    On of the best vehicles ever designed…..right up there with the bug….I don’t know why they stopped making them. I had a ’95 and would buy a ’19 if still in production.

    • Mike g

      To make a long story short, the tooling was worn out and there was nothing more to be done to clean up the emissions.. And the liberty was around the corner so it all got sold off to china where it lived for a while longer

  17. Lance Nord

    $4,500 is a bargain. I purchased a pristine, 93 Cherokee Laredo (fully loaded 4×4) with only 19,000 miles on it for $8,500 two years ago. It was always garaged. It still had original tires on it (in excellent condition; no age cracks) and still smelled like new car. I put $2,100 in it (new fluids, hoses, belts, tires, etc.). It runs like a champ.

  18. Rich Leon

    The paint looks good in pictures, but what about in person? The masking job in the rear door jams is pretty horrible.

  19. red

    someone please buy this jeep so i dont have to fly to virginia and drive it home.

  20. cjm

    An appealing Jeep in general, esp with this powertrain, but a 10 footer for sure. Not much care was taken with the paintwork. Rust creeping on inner lower doors and rockers, incorrect color, horrific jamb masking, trim that should have been removed and wasn’t, all the emblems were put back in the wrong places (4×4 should be under the quarter glass), looks like clear might be lifting on corner of gate. Too bad it was painted. Whatever was there before was almost certainly preferable to this paint job!

  21. Beatlepat

    The interiors on these were really cramped. My buddy and I drove from he L.A. area to San Francisco in his, and we rubbed shoulders the whole way.

    I see many of these being converted to rock crawlers. Seem to be able to take the thrashing.

  22. Gay Car Nut Tacoma

    I remember when the Jeep Cherokee looked like this. I miss that. I find the XJ Cherokee way more attractive than what’s being offered today. I think its worthy successor was the Jeep Liberty.

  23. Danton J A Cardoso

    Why is the shifter knob twisted?

  24. RetroRick

    These are neo classics that are only going up in value. Unmolested ones are getting hard to find and will always be desirable. I’ve owned 2 and still drive one daily. Bulletproof, easy to work on and plentiful parts supply. The good ones aren’t cheap and the cheap ones aren’t good. Get a rust free one and the rest is easy.

  25. Luckycat

    I have owned 3 of these Jeeps. A 91, a 98 and a 99 all Sport models with the 4.0 liter engine and 5 speeds. Very good dependable machines. The gear shift knob is out of position because of the nylon or plastic bushing molded into the knob handle that threads to the stick shift which cracks falls to pieces eventually. It happened on my 91 Jeep but not on the other ones?

  26. #69pacecar Member

    I bought one of these new in 87. It was a five speed 4×4 Cherokee chief and I loved that right up until I had to scrap it in 2001 due to rust issues, as we live in Montreal area. The only problem I had with it other than rust was when the temperature dropped below -20 degrees C and it sat overnight I would have to refill the clutch master cylinder. I found out later that the slave cylinder was in the bell housing of the tranny so that I why there was never any visible leaks. It got very messy when it was time to change the clutch as the mechanic at the garage got a hydraulic shower. That truck was a lot of fun and had well over 200,000 kms.

  27. Chris

    Yep – I had Grand Cherokee – never put a spanner on it – ran like a Swiss watch – that shape still looks good – best car I ever owned. I put some miles on it all across Oz – had it 3 years – perfection.

  28. 68custom

    there is a crapped out one near me for 2600$ I may have stopped to talk with the guy but its condition does not warrant the price. otherwise…
    Five speed is cool, and these are proper four wheel drive vehicles with a solid drive train! nice one!

  29. Ryan Shanahan Member

    Had a red 99 Limited. Awesome vehicle. It went anywhere I pointed it. I once parked so steeply on a snow Bank, I was concerned about the door hitting the ground when I opened it. Drove it for 10’years and 170k. Traded it on a brand new Tundra 6 years ago. I still miss that Jeep.

  30. Robeffy

    I am still driving my 96 Cherokee Classic automatic, 4wd, 4 liter, with 258000 km on it ( 168000 miles ).

    In Canada, lots of salt, dirt roads in North Ontario. One solid machine. The front sway bar links keep going, due to the bad roads. About it for problems.

  31. Ryan Shanahan Member

    I was skepticaly excited when the Liberty was canceled and the return of the mighty Cherokee was announced…I don’t foresee a new Cherokee in my driveway anytime soon.

  32. JMB#7

    I am not sure of the exact model, but a co-worker had one from the late ’80s.
    It had the heavier duty axles and springs. It was a 4-door. That would be the model to find if you were a collector or just wanted a work-horse.

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