Used 1998 Jeep Cherokee Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1998

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.

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 The Cherokee Country has been replaced by two new trim levels: Classic and Limited.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?

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.