The "'Jeep Cherokee'" is a line of sport utility vehicles (SUV) manufactured and marketed by Jeep over five generations. Marketed initially as a variant of the Jeep Wagoneer (SJ), the Cherokee has evolved from a full-size SUV to one of the first compact SUVs and into its last generation as a crossover SUV.

Jeep Cherokee
Fifth generation (KL)
Model years1974–2023
Body and chassis

Named after the Cherokee tribe of Native Americans in the United States, Jeep has used the nameplate in some capacity since late 1973 when American Motors Corporation (AMC) introduced the 1974 model year line.

Production of the Cherokee ended in February 2023. The Cherokee nameplate was since only used by the Grand Cherokee and its longer version, the Grand Cherokee L.[1]

First generation (SJ; 1974)

1975 Jeep Cherokee (US)

The Cherokee was a rebadged reintroduction of a two-door body style Jeep Wagoneer, with a redesigned greenhouse that eliminated the car's C-pillar. Instead, the Cherokee featured a much broader D-pillar and a single, long fixed rear side window with an optional flip-out section. Previously, a two-door version was available in the Jeep Wagoneer line (from 1963 through 1967). However, this had the same pillar and window configuration as the four-door Wagoneer. The Cherokee replaced the Jeepster Commando, whose sales had not met expectations despite an extensive 1972 revamp. The Cherokee appealed to a younger market than the Wagoneer, which was regarded more as a family SUV.[2]

The Cherokee was first revealed in late 1973 and it was marketed as the "sporty" two-door variant of Jeep's station wagon that went beyond the CJ-5 in interior space with off-road ability.[3] The term "sport(s) utility vehicle" appears for the first time in the 1974 Cherokee sales brochure.[4][5] A four-door was added to the lineup for the 1977 model year. In addition to the base model, the trim levels of the Cherokee included the S (Sport), Chief, Golden Eagle, Golden Hawk, Limited, Classic, Sport, Pioneer, and Laredo.

Second generation (XJ; 1984)

1984– 2001 Jeep Cherokee 2-door

While the full-sized Wagoneer continued production for another eight years as the Grand Wagoneer, the Cherokee nameplate was moved to a new platform starting with the 1984 model year and continuing through 2001. Without a traditional body-on-frame chassis, the Cherokee instead featured a lightweight unibody design.[6]

This generation of Cherokee would eventually be well known as the innovator of the modern SUV, as it spawned competitors, and other automakers noticed that this Jeep design began replacing regular cars.[7] It also began to supplant the role of the station wagon and "transformed from truck to limousine in the eyes of countless suburban owners."[8] The XJ is a "significant link in the evolution of the 4x4."[9]

It would prove so popular that the second generation Cherokee's replacement was released as a separate vehicle, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, starting a successive line of Jeep flagship models.

Third generation (KJ; 2002)

2003 Jeep Cherokee Limited Edition wagon (Australia)

The third generation, marketed as the"' Jeep Liberty'" in North America to differentiate it from the Grand Cherokee, was introduced in April 2001 for the 2002 model year. It was sold as the Jeep Cherokee in markets outside of North America.

The Cherokee was priced between the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. It remained the smallest of the four-door Jeep SUVs until the crossover-based four-door Compass and Patriot were introduced for the 2007 model year. The Cherokee featured unibody construction. It was assembled at the Toledo North Assembly Plant in the United States and other countries, including Egypt and Venezuela.

The KJ was the first Jeep vehicle to use rack and pinion steering.[10] It was also the first Jeep to feature the newly introduced "PowerTech" engines; the 150 hp (112 kW; 152 PS) 2.4 L I4, which was used until 2006, and the 210 hp (157 kW; 213 PS) 3.7 L V6. The KJ Cherokee was also the second Jeep vehicle to incorporate an independent front suspension, with the 1963 Wagoneer first to feature this as an option on four-wheel-drive.[11]

Fourth generation (KK; 2008)

Jeep Cherokee Liberty (US)

Continuing to be marketed as the Jeep Liberty in North America, the Cherokee was redesigned in 2008. For the first time, a rebadged fourth-generation Cherokee was marketed by Dodge as the Nitro. The Nitro was discontinued after 2011, and Sergio Marchionne wanted to avoid duplicate vehicles with Dodge and Jeep (as well as Chrysler) sharing the same sales network.

The four-cylinder engine was dropped from the Cherokee's models because the smaller Patriot and Compass offered greater fuel efficiency. The iron-block, aluminum-head V6 became the standard engine with the 2008 models. The towing capacity was 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg). Jeep discontinued the Cherokee's CRD for the American market because it could not meet the more rigid 2007 emissions standards for diesel engines. Transmission choices were both carry-overs: a six-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Standard equipment included electronic stability control with roll mitigation, traction control, and anti-lock brakes with brake assist. New Features included standard side airbags. Optional features were rain-sensing wipers, Sirius Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, a navigation system, and the MyGig entertainment system with a 30GB hard drive.

Fifth generation (KL; 2014)

Jeep Cherokee Limited Multijet (United Kingdom)

For the fifth generation, the Cherokee nameplate returned to North America as the vehicle was converted to a crossover and grew to midsize to make room for the Jeep Renegade below the Cherokee and Compass. It was introduced for the 2014 model year at the 2013 New York International Auto Show, with sales starting in November 2013.[12][13] The Cherokee is the first Jeep vehicle to be built on the Fiat Compact/Compact U.S. Wide platform, co-developed by Chrysler and Fiat.[14]

The Cherokee has a highway fuel economy rating of 31 miles per U.S. gallon (7.6 L/100 km; 37 mpg‑imp)[14] and a 45% better fuel economy rating than the Liberty/Cherokee it replaced.[13][15]

The front end was updated for the 2018 model year,and a new 2.0 L turbo engine became available, rated with 270 hp (201 kW; 274 PS) and 295 pound force-feet (400 N⋅m) of torque. The other engines included the 3.2 L V6 and 2.4 L inline-four.

For the 2021 model year, Jeep added more standard comfort and convenience features on each trim, as well as introduced the Latitude Lux and related 80th Anniversary trims.[16]

The Jeep Cherokee assembly was at the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Illinois, until 28 February 2023.[1]

Call to change the name


The vehicle was launched in 1973 for the 1974 model year, and the Cherokee Nation had not asked Jeep about the name, there is no copyright on the Cherokee name, and the tribe was not offered royalties for using the name.[17] At that time the names were "carefully chosen and nurtured over the years to honor and celebrate Native American people for their nobility, prowess, and pride."[18]

In February 2021, Chuck Hoskin, Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, called for Jeep to change the vehicle's name. "I think we're in a day and age in this country where it's time for both corporations and team sports to retire the use of Native American names, images and mascots from their products, team jerseys and sports in general." "I'm sure this comes from a place that is well-intended, but it does not honor us by having our name plastered on the side of a car." "The best way to honor us is to learn about our sovereign government, our role in this country, our history, culture, and language and have meaningful dialogue with federally recognized tribes on cultural appropriateness."[19][20] The use of Native-oriented names and brands "are particularly fraught, because they cannot be disentangled from the harrowing history of mistreatment and land dispossession in the United States."[21]

By March 2021, Carlos Tavares stated that Stellantis was open to dropping the Cherokee name from its vehicles, and "the company was in talks with the Cherokee Nation over the use of tribe's name on its SUVs."[18] Following the discussions, Jeep will continue the Cherokee name on some versions of the vehicles.[22] In 2023, the Cherokee was discontinued "after 49 years of serving as a staple in Jeep's lineup, as well as the foundation for many modern SUVs" but the larger Grand Cherokee model continued.[23][24]


  1. ^


  1. ^ a b "Stellantis idles Belvidere plant as last Jeep Cherokee rolls off the line". Associated Press. 28 February 2023. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
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  4. ^ "1974 model year Jeep brochure picture – Cherokee page". Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  5. ^ Allen, Jim (2003). Jeep: Collector's Library. Motorbooks MBI. p. 168. ISBN 9780760319796.
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  7. ^ Bradsher, Keith (2002). High and Mighty: SUVs — the World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way. PublicAffairs. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-58648-123-0.
  8. ^ Cumberford, Robert (15 March 2006). "20 Greatest Cars - 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee price starts at $27,415". Automobile. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2024. Great designs never grow old, a truth no better confirmed than by designer Dick Teague's masterpiece, the Jeep Cherokee. Possibly the best SUV shape of all time, it is the paradigmatic model to which other designers have since aspired.
  9. ^ Brubaker, Ken; Morr, Tom (2007). Jeep Off-Road. Motorbooks. p. 107. ISBN 978-0760329948. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
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  11. ^ "Bruce Rice's 1963 IFS Wagoneer 4x4". 24 December 2007. Archived from the original on 30 July 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  12. ^ "Chrysler lets 2014 Jeep Cherokee details fly ahead of New York auto show debut". New York Daily News. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  13. ^ a b "The All-New 2014 Jeep Cherokee". Jeep. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  14. ^ a b Harley, Michael (27 March 2013). "2014 Jeep Cherokee flaunts its new contemporary curves". Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  15. ^ de Paula, Matthew (26 February 2013). "Jeep Revives Cherokee For 2014 With Polarizing New Design". Forbes. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  16. ^ ZumMallen, Ryan (13 October 2020). "Jeep Cherokee Prices, Reviews, and Pictures".
  17. ^ Lee, Kristen (9 March 2021). "Jeep's facing the first official requests to drop the Cherokee name nearly 50 years after launching the SUV". Business Insider. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  18. ^ a b Wong, Wilson; Helsel, Phil (4 March 2021). "Jeep open to dropping Cherokee name, CEO says". NBC News. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  19. ^ White, Annie (4 March 2021). "Chief of Cherokee Nation Says 'It's Time' for Jeep to Stop Using Name". Car and Driver.
  20. ^ Moye, David (22 February 2021). "Cherokee Nation Wants Jeep To Stop Using Tribe's Name On SUVs". HuffPost.
  21. ^ Riley, Angela R.; Katyal, Sonia K.; Lim, Rachel (7 March 2021). "Opinion: The Jeep Cherokee is not a tribute to Indians. Change the name". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  22. ^ Gutman, Andrew (23 March 2021). "Jeep To Proceed With New Cherokee SUVs Despite Backlash From Cherokee Nation". Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  23. ^ "The Jeep Cherokee Discontinued After 49 Years". 24 March 2023. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  24. ^ Silvestro, Brian (23 March 2023). "Jeep Kills Cherokee, Breaks Nearly 50-Year Production Run". Road and Track. Retrieved 25 May 2024.