The original Jeep Cherokee (XJ) launched the small SUV revolution.
Introduced in 1984 as the first true unibody SUV, its versatility, economy, and simplicity made it a best-seller. Its off-road prowess and near indestructibility made it an instant classic among adventurers of all types. With robust solid axles, high and low range four-wheel drive, and bullet-proof engines, Jeep saw fit to keep its design basically unchanged for 17 years.
Jeep made millions of Cherokees all over the world until they replaced it in their lineup with the Liberty in 2001 (Production of an XJ derivative continued in China all the way to 2013!). Our own XJ was originally a Canadian-market car, and we bought it five years ago simply to use as an economical four-wheel-drive vehicle for getting us around in Montana winters.
Over time, it evolved into our platform for exploring the backroads of Montana, Utah, and beyond. Currently, we are developing the XJ into an overland vehicle with an emphasis on reliability and flexibility as it’s still our daily driver. Unlike a lot of Cherokee owners, for now we’ve kept modifications to a minimum.
Our XJ is a minimally-equipped Sport model:
1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4-door
- 4.0 L inline six cylinder (AMC-H.O.: 190hp, 235 lb/ft)
- Automatic transmission (AW-4)
- Command-Trac high and low range 4WD, with factory limited-slip rear differential
- Firestone Destination A/T tires, LT235/75/15
- Smittybilt Overlander roof top tent
- Headlight upgrade: H4 bulbs and housings with Putco wiring harness upgrade
- Front seat conversion: Grand Cherokee (WJ) seats
As we continue to develop our Jeep for more extended overland travel, we’ll update its progress right here on MTdrift.