I bought my red, 5-speed Jeep Cherokee in Sept. 2006 and still have it to this date. I bought it with 85k miles on it and it now has a little more than 100k miles on it. In that time, the only problems I've had are glitchy power windows and a cracked evaporator. I was slightly weary about buying a gas guzzling SUV for my first car but after driving it for a while, I've found that it does real well. It gets about 19/20 city, but I find that keeping it just below 65 on the highway will get me 30 mpg for highway trips (and that's with a fully loaded college vehicle!). This has been and will remain a fun, reliable, and efficient first vehicle. I plan to hold onto this for a long time.
Gas mileage, reliability, sporty 5- speed, turning radius, peppy 4.0L I-6, lack of blind spots, overall look, 4WD and fun driving feeling.
Improvements? There not making any more. I realize Jeep tried to bring back the look of the Cherokee with the Commander and the size of the Cherokee with the Patriot, but they're just not the same. BRING BACK THE I-6 JEEP!