1996 Jeep Cherokee Review

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Some things never change much, and the Jeep Cherokee is one of those mainstays. Unlike its posh--and bigger--Grand Cherokee brother, which keeps adding comforts and graceful touches, the ever-practical, affordable Cherokee simply keeps on rolling, looking little different now than it did a dozen years ago. A driver's airbag became standard last year, contributing to the Cherokee's good showing in government crash testing.

Utilitarian and upright it is, but with a compelling personality that even the able Grand Cherokee lacks. Even the dashboard is flat and fully vertical, with full gauges and a high--if modestly sized--glovebox. Four fit in reasonable comfort, with fine head room, but occupants feel a lot snugger inside than in a Grand Cherokee. Rear leg room is lacking, in a very short seat, and entry to the rear is constricted by a narrow door.

Relatively refined on the road, the compact Cherokee is capable of strutting its stuff when the going gets rough. Acceleration is brisk with the "Power Tech" 4.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, courtesy of 190 horsepower, and we highly recommend this upgrade if you select the SE model. Revisions to the six cylinder result in a Cherokee that is quieter and more responsive than last year. Peak torque and horsepower are made at lower revs as well, contributing to a more brisk feel around town. With the 4.0-liter engine, the Cherokee puts the "sport" into sport utility.

SE and Sport models can have two or four doors, while the step-up Country edition is four-door only. All are available with either two- or four-wheel drive. Command-Trac part-time four-wheel drive allows shift-on-the-fly operation. Select-Trac is Jeep's full-time four-wheel drive system, and it benefits from upgrades this year. Standard gear includes power steering, tinted glass, and power front disc brakes. Four-wheel anti-lock braking is optional (six-cylinder only), as are power windows and door locks, keyless entry system, speed control, air conditioning, and leather seats. New this year are standard heavy-duty battery and alternator, and intermittent wipers. Five new colors are available.

Archaic? Of course, but the original compact Jeep sport-utility remains a sensible choice in its field, more capable than most of heading into the woods at a moment's notice. What more can anyone ask of a moderately-priced on/off-roader?

1996 Highlights

Cherokee rolls into 1996 with improved engines, new colors, upgraded Selec-Trac four-wheel-drive system, more standard equipment and the same sheet metal that it wore on introduction day in 1983.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Jeep Cherokee.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

A Simple Cargo-Truck 4X4 (XJ) For A Simple Man
Roger Abello,02/05/2016
Sport 2dr SUV 4WD
For a Simple Man Such As Me This 1996 2 Door Cherokee Jeep 4X4 5 Speed Manual Is Actually A Piece Of Equipment To Me. Why you may ask? Well I Bought this back in 2009 from a one owner he was in his late 60's, He ordered it new in 1996. He ordered it with the Sport Package: Power Windows, Power Door Locks, Roof Rack, Rear Window Defogger, as well as the wiper, Matching interior gray cargo cover, and Top of the line Aluminum Wheels with full size inside mounted matching spare tire. I Gave My Jeep a 2" Lift and instead of P225 R15 I raised it to P235 AT Wrangler tires. This Vehicle Looks Good can go anywhere on or off road incase of an emergency. The Jeep is just Smart enough that when it comes to smog or Diagnosis all it takes is a Plug In Less than 5min. Never has any Mechanical problems. The Jeep Has just Enough Electronics for proper engine and smog Operation which is all I ever wanted. No Electronics and solenoids to Fail it's all Manual ect : Pull Lever to activate 4X4 Not push buttons or solenoids or sensors to fail. Front and Rear Axials and not this independent suspension with CV Joints and boots to tear in dry sharp Brush or Rocks while exploring a place to make camp, Not to mention they are weaker than U Joints. Change the oil every 2,500 Miles, Coolant, and serpentine belt once a Year, Differential and Transmission as well as the Transfer case every 10,000 to be sure water contamination does not take hold to do any damage. K&N Air Filter (washable every 35,000 miles) saves money and gives some Xtra Power. Don't let your tank go below 1/4 tank and your Fuel pump in tank will stay cool and not fail. Simple and Cheap to perform Tune-Ups + Easy Access!!! Simple to perform all Maintenance (oil, trans, differ, transfer ect..... The advantages over others is Lights don't fade and oxidize and look bad, NO Parking Aids, as Far as Safety has Driver Air Bag, No Active Safety, No Navigation, No USB Ports, and No Entertainment. Just no nonsense piece of equipment down to earth vehicle Simple to Maintain and Operate AND No Nickel and Dime in you. This will be the Latest vehicle I will own. The New Autos across the Board are more computer and less control of your vehicle, than what once ruled our roadways and will continue on that trend. Complaints 1 It would have been nice to have the engineers to have more leg room up front my knees are up to bottom of dash and steering wheel. There is a question as to what happen to the Jeep Cherokee in 2002. This is what I found out in research is THE POWERS AT B IN CALIFORNIA told Chrysler Corp that the 4.0 liter has ran it's coarse and is out dated and that Chrysler needed to scrap the inline 6 for a V6 that will meet tighter emissions. So out with the Cherokee and in with Liberty. Anyway such as life I hope this helps to those who own or look to own a Jeep of that era.
1996 lifted cherokee country 4wd
i have owned my jeep for elven years and it has been lifted for about 7 years, and have over 300,000 miles and running strong. the 4wd drive system is indestructible, as well as the 4.0 straight six, it wont ever give out and has never left me stranded other then a dead battery in minus 20 degree weather.
See ya Cherokee
Took my Cherokee to the junkyard today. Bought it new in 1996. It's been in all environments, the coast, mountains, deserts and cities and performed like a champ. Replaced a water pump, brakes, tires and radio. The only thing that didn't work was the hydraulics on the rear hatch. Rescued stranded motorists, carried Christmas trees and was given to my son as his first car, after it had over 209K miles racked up on it. My inexperienced son ran into a F250 Ford dualie and tore the rear axle right off that truck. The Jeep suffered terrible front end damage. My son didn't have a scratch. I should be so lucky, as to go out as big a hero as that Jeep!
i own 4 jeep cherokees
dave norman,02/14/2016
SE 2dr SUV
the vehicle is me..simple-reliable-fixable. i travel a lot as pediatric nurse. i am also a firefighter both paid and volunteer. i needed reliability and got a 95 Cherokee cheap. i worked on it in spare time. then got rid of my regular pick up and bought a 96 Cherokee . sport. now i had 3 cherokees average shape and drive both regular. i do have some mechanic experinace before .Jeeps came in the picture but its a dream to i am on road with jeep. over the last 10 years i have owned bought and sold 12 Jeep Cherokee. i still own my 96 and 95. our son took a jeep to college. few problems only. Jeeps are forgiving. i will work on Jeep Cherokees upon retirement *** changes since my first review. Cherokees are coming in demand pull r parts are having less and less come in ! Prices are edging up due to supply and demand. I can still find them cheap but harder..usually someone bought and didn't know the few quirks. .being uni body is hampering total rebuild ..I do feel those who enjoy cherokee's can expect to pay a little more but i see the value holding and if patient sell and move up!..i dont like Grand Cherokee but it isn't personal! There has been a surge in Cherokees lately in both interest and prices but i believe its because a lot of people are going back to the basics which work!

Features & Specs

See all Used 1996 Jeep Cherokee features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1996 Jeep Cherokee

Used 1996 Jeep Cherokee Overview

The Used 1996 Jeep Cherokee is offered in the following submodels: Cherokee SUV. Available styles include Sport 2dr SUV, Sport 4dr SUV, SE 4dr SUV 4WD, SE 4dr SUV, Sport 4dr SUV 4WD, SE 2dr SUV, SE 2dr SUV 4WD, Country 4dr SUV, Sport 2dr SUV 4WD, and Country 4dr SUV 4WD.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Jeep Cherokee?

Price comparisons for Used 1996 Jeep Cherokee trim styles:

  • The Used 1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport is priced between $5,491 and$5,491 with odometer readings between 76782 and76782 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1996 Jeep Cherokees are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Jeep Cherokee for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 1996 Cherokees listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,491 and mileage as low as 76782 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Jeep Cherokee.

Can't find a used 1996 Jeep Cherokees you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Jeep Cherokee for sale - 9 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $14,582.

Find a used Jeep for sale - 7 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $19,869.

Find a used certified pre-owned Jeep Cherokee for sale - 3 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $17,884.

Find a used certified pre-owned Jeep for sale - 8 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $22,657.

Should I lease or buy a 1996 Jeep Cherokee?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Jeep lease specials
Check out Jeep Cherokee lease specials