Skip to main content
0 items

A short history of the Jeep Cherokee

A short history of the Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep Cherokee has gone through five generations, but it’s surely the second-generation Cherokee that sticks in everyone’s mind.

This is the one with the chunky, boxy styling that managed to look both tough and cool at the same time.

It was a million miles from its predecessor. The original Cherokee was a heavy, growling V8 (there was an ‘entry-level’ in-line six) with styling straight from the sixties, but its replacement came with a lighter, modern unibody construction and some more sensible power units for a post-oil-crisis America.

Having said that, the smaller engine options weren’t especially tempting, and Cherokee fans would probably opt for the 2.8-litre of 4-litre petrol motors. Not so frugal, but more in keeping with the Jeep’s muscular image.

A short history of the Jeep Cherokee

The rectangular styling must have looked conservative, even in its day, but while some designs of the time dated faster than a paisley shirt, the Cherokee’s shape has almost become an icon for the tough but stylish off-roader. Even now, it combines on-road presence with everyday practicality that’s quite hard to pull off.

We’re not the only ones to think so. The second-generation Jeep Cherokee stayed in production from 1984 to 1998 – fourteen years. It’s been made all over the world, from the USA to China, Venezuela, Argentina and Egypt.

In 2001 Jeep bowed to the inevitable and launched a new model, but with a more rounded profile and a somewhat cartoonish look to the front, and followed up in 2008 with a fourth-generation model and in 2013 with a sleek and radical fifth-generation redesign a million miles from the second-generation Cherokee’s iconic utilitarian rectangles.