Jeep Cherokee or Grand Cherokee - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 24 Old 05-03-2015, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
EarlBalentine
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Jeep Cherokee or Grand Cherokee

I'm looking for a good Jeep 4X4 like a Cherokee (late 1997-2001 or Grand Cherokee.
Which Jeep would be more reliable for off road (not rock or wall climbers) the basic Cherokee or the Grand Cherokee and which year?

I like to have the luxury options like leather seats, NAV Moon roof etc.

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post #2 of 24 Old 05-03-2015, 12:20 PM
CJ7-Tim
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The basic XJ Cherokee will be more capable and more reliable. The Grand Cherokee will have the options you desire.

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post #3 of 24 Old 05-03-2015, 01:27 PM
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Right off the bat the cherokee never came with nav or a sunroof from the factory and one with leather is pretty hard to find (at least in my area). I was thinking about the same thing when I was looking for a Jeep. I liked the fact that WJs and ZJs were easy to find with leather and had more comfort options than the XJ did, but I love the body style of the XJ and its capabilities. I ended up with a 2000 cherokee sport and definitely don't regret my decision. Besides, you can always do a leather seat swap from a grand into a regular cherokee fairly easily

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post #4 of 24 Old 05-04-2015, 08:42 AM
jonsnw93
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Just remember grands are known for electrical problems
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post #5 of 24 Old 05-04-2015, 10:30 AM
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You can pretty easily put Grand Cherokee seats in a Cherokee (the ZJ/WJ bolts directly to the XJ base). ZJ/WJs really didn't come with NAV, except maybe some late model WJ, so either would be an after market upgrade. Sunroof goes to the WJ/ZJ.

My Dad's WJ Limited with the V8 was pretty capable out of the box and is a pretty luxurious ride, but it was a little more of a pain to work on and had its share of gremlins.


XJ is basically a wrangler in a different dress. Its utilitarian, simple, and reliable. Most people would say the 1999 XJ is the best, but it depends on what works for you. I am partial and think the 97-01 XJs have a little more refined and classic style that doesn't look as dated as the ZJs and slowly the WJs.
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post #6 of 24 Old 05-04-2015, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by XJFrance View Post
ZJ/WJs really didn't come with NAV, except maybe some late model WJ, so either would be an after market upgrade.
Yea, 02-04 WJs could be optioned with a 4.1" factory NAV. Considering that most smartphones today have a larger screen with more up-to date maps available, I wouldn't count that as much of a positive feature.

- Justin

1992 Cherokee Laredo - mostly stock, DD. 300k miles and counting

2004 Grand Cherokee Laredo - 4.7, bone stock - Wife's DD


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post #7 of 24 Old 05-05-2015, 01:30 AM
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I find this thread reminding me why I chose the XJ over a Grand Cherokee and others. I really wanted a V8. Our first jeep was a liberty, my wife's, it has it all. Bluetooth, leather, etc. everything but a sunroof. It is nice on the cold mornings with the heated seats. Our 2nd jeep, my son's, was a 1996 Cherokee sport. It has electric windows and locks, everything else was basic. I was then hooked and could go and get about any jeep I wanted for myself. So after months of searching I chose a somewhat beat up 1995 plain Jane Cherokee Sport. It has nothing power except the steering. It had a long list of things that needed fixed or changed and I missed having grease under my finger nails I guess. I have done a lot to it and I have spent a lot of money (Currently $4,747.25), when you sit back and add it up it doesn't make since to others why. But this is why I got it, to build what I wanted. It will never be worth more than what blue book says to someone else, but to me it is worth many times more. A jeep is an experience.
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post #8 of 24 Old 05-05-2015, 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by jonsnw93 View Post
Just remember grands are known for electrical problems
Ill agree with you there as I have a zj...
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post #9 of 24 Old 05-05-2015, 02:07 AM
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Originally Posted by 300cpilot View Post
I find this thread reminding me why I chose the XJ over a Grand Cherokee and others. I really wanted a V8. Our first jeep was a liberty, my wife's, it has it all. Bluetooth, leather, etc. everything but a sunroof. It is nice on the cold mornings with the heated seats. Our 2nd jeep, my son's, was a 1996 Cherokee sport. It has electric windows and locks, everything else was basic. I was then hooked and could go and get about any jeep I wanted for myself. So after months of searching I chose a somewhat beat up 1995 plain Jane Cherokee Sport. It has nothing power except the steering. It had a long list of things that needed fixed or changed and I missed having grease under my finger nails I guess. I have done a lot to it and I have spent a lot of money (Currently $4,747.25), when you sit back and add it up it doesn't make since to others why. But this is why I got it, to build what I wanted. It will never be worth more than what blue book says to someone else, but to me it is worth many times more. A jeep is an experience.
I like how you say experience instead of money pit lol
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post #10 of 24 Old 05-05-2015, 05:48 AM
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If you are really set on the old clunky nav, you can install the nav unit into the XJ with a bit of work...

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post #11 of 24 Old 05-05-2015, 10:02 AM
300cpilot
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I like how you say experience instead of money pit lol
After being married for 25 years, I know what to say.
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post #12 of 24 Old 05-05-2015, 10:24 AM
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Having owned two XJs with a 4.0, both being lifted between 3" to 4" on both short- arm and long-arm lifts, having 31s up to 35s, and my current ZJ niner on 32s - I would take a V8 ZJ any day over an XJ.

XJs are slightly smaller and have better aftermarket support, so in theory they are a bit better starting point for a trail Jeep. That being said, ZJs have coil springs on all corners, more torque from the V8 (if you go with a V8), are more comfortable and roomier, yet not that much bigger to be an issue on the trails.

As far as reliability goes, a 4.0 + AW4 XJ has the edge - it's just about as bulletproof engine + tranny combination you can get on just about any brand motor vehicle if you go with a gasoline engine + auto tranny.

Bone-stock, I'd say both XJ and ZJ are just as good on the trails, with the ZJ being better on the road (both handling and comfort). Modified, you can't really make a difference between the two on the trails - XJ has a slight edge on weight, ZJ has the edge on steep climbs with the longer wheelbase.

1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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post #13 of 24 Old 05-05-2015, 10:31 AM
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Ill agree with you there as I have a zj...
And transmissions. I know quite a few people who wheel ZJs ... *EVERY* single one has lost at least one transmission.

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post #14 of 24 Old 05-05-2015, 10:40 AM
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Just remember grands are known for electrical problems
On the comfort- stuff, maybe so.

With the powertrain at least on the OBD II ('96-'98) ZJ, not really. They are in most parts very similar between same-age ZJs and XJs.


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And transmissions. I know quite a few people who wheel ZJs ... *EVERY* single one has lost at least one transmission.
IMO, the biggest reliability issue on the ZJs over XJs are the auto transmissions - they just aren't as reliable as the AW4. Especially the 42RE behind the I6 and the 44RE behind the '96-'98 5.2 V8s aren't heavy-duty enough.
46RH behind '93-'95 ZJs is pretty good, it's derived from the 727 - which is known to be an excellent transmission. Pretty much the same applies to the 46RE behind the '98 5.9s
On the RE- versions, shift- and governor solenoid, governor sensor, and transmission speed sensor issues are fairly common - but easy and cheap to replace.

You MUST install an aftermarket to a ZJ. Then again, AW4s are known to be geat-generating units, so it's a good idea on the XJs as well. AW4s however can tolerate more abuse than the Chrysler transmission do, they just don't crap out as easily if mistreated.

My niner 46RE has hit 220F and over when wheeling without a tranny fluid cooler. My AW4 reached just as high temps when wheeling. Fluid on my niner came out dark brown and smelly, and it puked out some of it when I hit those high temps in deep snow. My AW4 never burned the oil, even though it got just as hot.

1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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post #15 of 24 Old 05-06-2015, 01:34 AM
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I have had two XJs (1994 and 1995) and a ZJ (2005) along with CJs, J20 and Willys.

The ZJ was a great highway vehicle and when it got rough it had all the ability I needed. The sat nav was a piece of craaaaaap, the screen was way too small and the software was behind in 2004 and looked dated in 2009. The comfort was there, heated leather seats and moonroof and nice stereo.

The XJs are not exactly bulletproof, time is not kind to vehicles, but they are rugged and dependable and there are places I take my Cherokee that I would not take a newer Grand. My 1995 Cherokee is a Limited and has comfy leather seats, power everything and air con, it is quite comfy on a long highway trip.

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