1998 Jeep Cherokee Review

Pros & Cons

  • Inexpensive and loaded with rugged character, dual airbags, optional ABS, optional 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine
  • Rugged character result of ancient engineering, uncomfortable rear seat folds but doesn't split
List Price Estimate
$1,545 - $3,103

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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 when it was first introduced in 1984. This year, however, the Cherokee benefits from some overdue updates, including a new three-speed automatic transmission, optional with the 2.5-liter SE model.

Utilitarian and upright it is, but with a compelling personality that even the Grand Cherokee lacks. The Cherokee Country has been replaced by two new trim levels: Classic and Limited. Four adults fit inside the Cherokee in reasonable comfort, with adequate headroom. Rear legroom is lacking, in a very short seat, and entry to the rear is constricted by a narrow door. Worth noting is the fact that the rear bench folds but doesn't offer a split, meaning you can't haul a toddler and a treadmill simultaneously.

Relatively refined on the road, the compact Cherokee is capable of strutting its stuff when the going gets rough. Acceleration is brisk with the 4.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, courtesy of 190 horsepower, and we highly recommend this upgrade if you select the SE model. The Cherokee's 4.0-liter engine puts the "sport" into sport utility.

SE and Sport models can have two or four doors, while the step-up Classic and Limited editions are 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. Selec-Trac is Jeep's full-time four-wheel drive system. Standard gear includes power steering, tinted glass and power front disc brakes. Four-wheel antilock braking is optional (six-cylinder only), as are power windows and door locks, keyless entry system, cruise control, air conditioning and leather seats.

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

1998 Highlights

Cherokee Classic and Limited replace the Cherokee Country. A new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is now the base engine for the SE, available with an optional three-speed automatic. New colors include Chili Pepper Red, Emerald Green and Deep Amethyst.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Jeep Cherokee.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Classic 4dr SUV 4WD
This is February, 2016. The car is a 1998 Jeep Cherokee Classic with 84K miles. REALLY. 84K. It's my 3d Cherokee. Prior a 2000 and a 2001 Cherokee Limited. I sold the 2000 to a friend when it had 160K. He reports just this week that he's at 245K and still going! The 2001 was much the same. These cars are, by my way of thinking, absolutely bulletproof. Now. 1998 Cherokee Classic. The only addition to the car is a set of 2000 Limited alloy 16" wheels. Other than that, just as it came from the factory. Within a week of this last purchase, the turn signals just stopped. I bought a $15.00 flasher relay, and back to the road! Of the three I have owned, this was the first electrical problem I have encountered. It handles like a Jeep. Not the best, but predictable as the sunrise. Never let me down. Goes where it's pointed. Never stuck, and NEVER left on the side of the road waiting for a tow. When the A/C is charged, you can almost hang meat in the front seats! The heater is capable of burning your feet. The radio is really not bad (the 2000 had the good stereo with door mounted tweeters and and amp under the back seat...that was REALLY great). I wish it had a CD, but I wish I were taller...neither of those things are going to happen, so the radio is fine. This is a SIMPLE car. Point/coil ignition. Climate control with cables. They're adjustable. Not like the vacuum operated controls. Manual 4WD engagement. Everything in the cabin is push-pull-click. No push-pull-click? Replace switch. Repeat. Read the gauges. DO REGULAR MAINTENANCE! Change the oil (You don't need a lift, or a jack). Don't forget the auto trans, transfer case and the two differentials (I do them every 50,000 miles, but I'm obsessive). Lube the suspension zirks. How hard is THIS? I guess I rant. But as long as I can get these, I'll keep buying them. They're getting rare, but they're findable (I made that word up) with a little searching. The car looks good. Anywhere. Party in the high end part of town? Fine. Running down a dirt road producing billowing clouds of dirt? Fine. Axle-deep snow? Smile. You look good and you ain't stuck! By the way, this is essentially a new car! The long and short of it is, this car is a throwback to a simpler time when things broke but could be fixed with a pretty sparse toolbox. My dad the engineer said these cars operated with "tractor technology". Under the hood it's all simple. February, 2017 UPDATE 15,000 miles later the usual stuff. The A/C evaporator, dryer, and heater core were replaced. After 3 of these cars, I think I can surmise that it's certain these components fail after 15 years. Had transmission flushed, and both differentials and transfer case drained and refilled. Fog lamp and rear window washer/wiper switches replaced. So one year out I've spent a little over $1,000.00 on maintenance items. Total into this car is $10,500 and I expect at least 3-5 more years before I sell it for $7,000.00. February, 2018 Update: Had to get a radio with CD player. 1 Factory Radio LLC in Virginia supplied a re-furbished original AM/FM/CD and gave me $ for the old radio. Transaction took a week, Bolted right in. $200.00. Leaky radiator. As long as I replaced that I replaced the water pump too. I was already in the engine bay anyway. This car is Emerald Green and looks new. I actually get asked (more often than you might think) if I want to sell it! Gas station, traffic light, Costco parking lot, by complete strangers! I was offered $10,000.00 in the Costco lot after the guy gave the car the once-over. I kept the car. 104,000 miles now. Still pulls like a train. And looks great. And I haven't had a car payment for over 2 years. Summer, 2018 Ok. I've replaced the a/c condenser, compressor, dryer, and the evaporator (the heater core as well) I CAN hang meat in the front seat it's so cold. The water pump and the thermostat and housing. Belt as well. Generally, if I'm in there, it's just easier to start replacing things rather than wait for a failure. The rear springs are getting tired, so I'll replace them at the end of the summer. Remember, I HAVE NO CAR PAYMENT. My son and I are going to Arizona from Michigan in mid-August (I was raised in AZ, so I can take it!) And we're taking as much of Route 66 as we can. I really can't wait to take the Hatch Cutoff (if it's still there) off 66 going south out of northern New Mexico ( I took this short cut to Tucson years ago and spent two hours at 105 mph and never saw a living soul). Hatch has become somewhat famous for their chili. Anyway, Tucson appeared pretty quickly. Holding a 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo at 105 for two hours was a spiritual experience. A carton of cigarettes and a thermos of Holiday Inn coffee were my constant companions. So that's my plan. I have no fear of taking a 20 year old car on this quest. I'll fill you in on the road. No more space allowed
i will always own a cherokee
I have owned a cherokee for 5 years. i paid $2k for it and have invested in a 3in rough country suspension lift and 30in yokohama geolander AT tires. not a hill in arizona i need to go up and havent been able too. ive never had to turn around on a trail. keep in mind jeeps are built not bought. i hear stories of peoples jeep bugging out on them early ill tell you first hand its because the owner did something wrong. 4.0 straight 6 are bullet proof. economic and powerful. from the trail to the road. there will always be a cherokee in my garage even if its not a primary. not enough room to say all the things i want about it. jeep cherokee's refuse to die. remember theyre built not bought.
Are you a man or not?
Sport 4dr SUV 4WD
After getting in a head on collision with a suburban, where all air bags for both cars deployed. The jeeps frame may have been slightly damaged, but I was perfect without a scratch. Only going 30mph the jeep actually pushed the front end of the suburban, aiming it into the other side of the road where it should have been in the first place. Insurance gave me $500 more than my original jeep was worth, which had 130,000 miles on it. I did not hesitate and found another cherokee with a 4.0L inline 6 engine, 4 doors, and 4 wheel drive. When you step on the gas peddle you feel the power, it's nothing like the V-6 engines out today. It may only get about 13 miles per gallon, but it's well worth it. Mainly, if you're a car guy or someday want to be, this is the car for you. Knowing simply how to use tools, I've fixed most issues myself, learning a lot about how cars work in the process. The overall build of the jeep is very simple; with any issue it simply takes a youtube search and a replacement part.
absolutely indestructible
Father drove it home brand new off the lot in 1998 from lou's jeep eagle in Geneva illinois. It's in my garage as I write this next to the wife's Acura mdx. I can't put into words how amazing this vehicle is. I refuse to buy another car until she dies on me. 311,346 thousand miles and aside from tires batteries belts lights. .ya know wear items. ..she's been solid as titanium! Years ago when roads were impassable I was passing hummers and other "4wd" vehicles.

Features & Specs

See all Used 1998 Jeep Cherokee features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 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 1998 Jeep Cherokee

Used 1998 Jeep Cherokee Overview

The Used 1998 Jeep Cherokee is offered in the following submodels: Cherokee SUV. Available styles include SE 4dr SUV, SE 4dr SUV 4WD, Limited 4dr SUV, Classic 4dr SUV 4WD, SE 2dr SUV, SE 2dr SUV 4WD, Sport 2dr SUV, Limited 4dr SUV 4WD, Sport 4dr SUV 4WD, Sport 2dr SUV 4WD, Classic 4dr SUV, and Sport 4dr SUV.

What's a good price on a Used 1998 Jeep Cherokee?

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Which used 1998 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) 1998 Jeep Cherokee for sale near. 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 1998 Jeep Cherokee.

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Find a used Jeep Cherokee for sale - 3 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $19,284.

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Should I lease or buy a 1998 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