1995 Jeep Cherokee

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1995 Jeep Cherokee

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Available in 12 styles:  Cherokee 2dr Wagon shown
Asking Price Range
$41–$7,769
Estimated MPG

14–20 city / 19–23 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 1 of 2

By 

chicagotribune.com
American Motors Corp., or AMC as it was known, usually was good for a laugh, as evidenced by the fact that this is the outfit that brought out the Gremlin and Pacer, a pair of styling oddities.

Gremlin, you may recall, was designed on the back of an airline burp bag by AMC's chief stylist Richard Teague, which caused some to joke that the amiable Teague could have put the bag to better use.

AMC was the minority member of what then was called the Big Four, which was abbreviated to the Big Three when Chrysler purchased the tiny automaker in 1987 to acquire the Jeep line of sport-utility vehicles. It was one of then Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca's finest moments-entry to the sport-utility market without having to spend the time or money to design, develop and build one from scratch. With Jeep he had an instant rival to Chevrolet Blazer and Ford Bronco (which would become the Bronco II and, finally, the Explorer).

Jeep, together with Iacocca's other stroke of genius, the mini-van, allowed the once struggling Chrysler to fill its coffers to overflowing.

Iacocca is gone, but the Jeep Cherokee is still around and will continue in its present form until the 1997 model year. Time not only heals all wounds, it allows an automaker to amortize its costs. Not fooling with Cherokee sheet metal is one reason the vehicle has been so profitable for Chrysler. But some say Cherokee has been around a bit too long in its present form. We agree.

In the 1993 model year, Chrysler brought out the Grand Cherokee, a larger, more stylish member of the Jeep family, but chose to keep the older, smaller Cherokee as a price leader-a wise move, especially considering a Grand Cherokee can set you back $30,000 or more.

We test drove a 1995 Jeep Cherokee Sport, and age has obviously caught up with it-a box in a world of balloons, square lines instead of rounded ones.

On the open highway you'll get buffeted when the breeze slaps against those square slab sides. Cherokee's chief rivals, Blazer and Explorer, feature rounded edges that slip through the turbulence; Cherokee bounces around in it.

Cherokee features a 4-liter, 190-horsepower, inline 6-cylinder engine compared with a 4.3-liter, 190-h.p., V-6 at Chevy, a 4-liter, 160-h.p., V-6 at Ford. The Chevy engine is peppier, and Chevy and Ford V-6s are quieter than the in-line Chrysler 6.

Our test vehicle was equipped with a 5-speed manual, the trans of choice if you do a lot of off-roading. A 4-speed automatic will run $897.

Rather than push-button four-wheel-drive, as in Blazer and Explorer, our vehicle required pulling on a transfer case lever, another reminder of its age.

In the early days of sport-utility vehicles, owners didn't expect a utility to coddle them like a Lincoln because, after all, these were built off truck platforms.

To today's sport-utility buyer, it 's a substitute for a sedan or coupe and rarely, if ever, leaves the pavement. He or she demands car-like ride and handling.

The Cherokee Sport comes with large P225/75R15 tires that are designed to look sporty but tend to have a mind of their own at speed and in corners. You feel as if the tires have lifted the vehicle's center of gravity a bit higher than you'd like for total stability.

Bowing to the demand for safety, Cherokee offers a driver-side air bag as standard. No passenger-side bag is available, however. Anti-lock brakes are offered-as an $595 option.

Four-wheel-drive, of course, means never having to stay home when the roads are covered with goop. You'll probably be able to count on your thumbs how often you use 4WD, but having it provides a great deal of assurance.

With age, of course, comes wrinkles that need to be smoothed out when that all-new 1997 Cherokee appears. Those wrinkles include the parking brake handle, which r sts in the center console, robbing you of storage room; and a regular-size spare tire in the rear, eating up cargo room.

Another annoyance is the confusing power-window buttons on the driver's door panel that, in the dark, can have you opening every window but the right one.

Yet another grievance is that in keeping with the square design, the windows open on a horizontal plane from the top, not in an arc from the front, as in aero-styled vehicles. That means more wind noise and trouble for those who smoke. An ash flicked from the top of the window often blows back into the cabin. Cherokee has a side vent, but it's a decoration.

The Cherokee Sport starts at $18,606. Standard equipment includes power brakes and steering, front and rear stabilizer bars as well as front and rear gas-filled shocks, 20.2-gallon fuel tank, dual manual mirrors, all-terrain 15-inch tires, AM/FM stereo and clock, tinted glass, trip odometer, childproof rear door locks and intermittent wipers.

Cherokee may be a price leader, but you'll have to load it with options to get the common conveniences such as air conditioning and power windows and locks.

Our tester started at $18,606 but topped $22,000 with options that excluded ABS and automatic transmission, which would have added $1,492 more to the sticker.

At $22,000 to $23,000, Cherokee might be a way to avoid a $30,000 to $32,000 Grand Cherokee, but you'd have to seriously consider the Blazer, with better ride and handling, peppier engine, quieter operation, increased room and comfort and more modern styling, or Explorer, which may be lacking in performance, but does have standard dual air bags.

>> 1995 Jeep Cherokee 4WD Sport Wheelbase: 101.4 inches Length: 166.9 inches Engine: 4-liter, 190-h.p., inline 6-cylinder Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic optional EPA mileage: 17 m.p.g. city/21 m.p.g. highway Base price: $18,606 Add $1,469 for sport option package consisting of air conditioning, tilt steering, center floor console, rear wiper/washer, roof rack, leather-wrapped steering wheel and front floor mats (sport option?); $582 for power windows/door locks and keyless entry; $203 for overhead console; $285 for locking differential; $122 for dual electric mirrors; $110 for fog lamps; $201 for AM/FM with cassette; $116 for spare tire cover; $245 for aluminum wheels; $72 for cargo area cover shade and $495 for freight; bringing total to $22,506. Strong points: Driver-side air bag standard. Four-wheel ABS available as an option, four-wheel-drive security. Weak points: Not exactly a cheap Jeep after you add the options. ABS runs $595, automatic transmission $897. Only a driver-side air bag. Sheet metal in need of surgery and square body means wind gusts will buffet ve hicle. Full size spare in rear eats into cargo room. Confusing control button layout for power windows. Parking brake handle lies in center console to cheat storage space. Oversized tires result in some ride wobble. >>


    Expert Reviews 1 of 2

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