What's New for 2000
The 2000 Cherokee scores the '99 Grand Cherokee's redesigned 4.0-liter PowerTech inline six in addition to a new five-speed manual transmission. The Limited model sports bright chrome accents, including the front grille, the headlamp surrounds, the side graphics, the rear license-plate brow and the 16-inch wheels.
Some things never change and the Jeep Cherokee is one of those mainstays. Unlike its posh and bigger Grand Cherokee sibling, which keeps adding comforts and graceful touches, the ever-practical Cherokee simply keeps on rolling, looking little different now from when it was first introduced in 1984. But that's all going to change with the 2002 model, when it gets its first serious redesign, lifting some styling cues from the Jeep Dakar concept, which sort of looks like a squashed Jeep Wrangler. Not that we fear change--we fear aerodynamic-based change. Watch for the hip-to-be-square Cherokee to go rounded, seriously rounded, soon.
However, this year, the Cherokee nabs the redesigned 4.0-liter PowerTech inline six-cylinder, which is said to be quieter, cleaner, and more refined than the previous version it has had since 1987. The optional powerplant makes 190 horsepower at 4,600 rpm and 225 foot-pounds of torque at 3,000 rpm. It also complies with the U.S. low-emission vehicle (LEV) requirements. The standard engine is the wimpier 2.5-liter PowerTech inline four-cylinder, and either engine can be mated to the five-speed manual or the optional three-speed automatic transmission.
The Cherokee is one of the few SUVs that can actually balance on- and off-road duties. The coil-front/rear-leaf suspension continues to provide a smooth ride, while the Command-Trac (part-time) and Select-Trac (full-time) transfer cases are still around to help buyers escape far beyond where some of the more luxurious SUVs wimp out. Although if you tend to be city folk, two-wheel drive is still available for 2000.
Two- and four-door configurations remain, and four trim levels are at your disposal--Limited, Sport, Classic, and SE. New exterior colors are Patriot Blue, Sienna, Silverstone, and Medium Fern Green. A radio/cassette combo is standard, and both the Classic and Limited versions have cast aluminum wheels.
If you're a fan of this body style, you might want to scoop up this collector's item while you can. After all, you can't go wrong with an SUV that in 16 years hasn't needed to out-trick itself to become more competitive.