15 Oct 2012

Living with - Jeep Cherokee 4L Limited

The car - 1996 Jeep Cherokee 4L Limited
Owner - Phil Millar


The X Trail I was driving was due to be handed back to motability, so I was in the market for another 4x4. This wasn't going to be thru motability as the advance payment on anything suitable was way too much. 

A disco was on the cards. Cheap to pick up, loads of models about at low money. I got a call from a mate who mentioned a friend of his had a 4L Cherokee for sale with 10 months MOT. When he mentioned it was for sale at £350 I was willing to put up with the horror stories of 4L Jeep fuel consumption, for a while anyway.


The Jeep was bought 'standard' when I picked it up.  I gave it a 'short service' oil, filter, plugs & leads, and a few months later changed the diff and transfer box fluids. 

First impressions were you could feel every pound of the 1.5T weight, and quickly got the tag of YT, the Yank Tank. The longer I drive it the less the bulk was noticed - and it had in fact good road manners. It'll never drive like a hot hatch, but it will happily hustle down back roads without scaring the crap outta you. The brakes will haul it to a stop in safety, although 1996 ABS needs a fair boot full of pedal before it cuts in. 

With that 4L straight six up front it'll cope with anything I need, and if you're enthusiastic on the loud pedal, the rear will squat, and move surprisingly quick. Being American, the chassis is rock solid with no flex or give, the suspension is firm enough to allow to handle sensibly quick driving, but still remain comfortable and relaxed cruising.

As money allowed, and mods came up they progressed to the stage it now stands. 3" lift, 29" mud terain tyres, steering gaurd, HD winch bumper with bullbar, roof lights, safari snorkel and, to keep the Kent byway foliage off the windscreen, a set of custom bush wires. None of these mods affected the overall drivability of the Jeep, apart from improving its off road capability. It will go just about anywhere a similarly modified Landy will go. The transfer box has 2wd, 4wd Hi and 4Lo with center difflock. 

General ownership

For a 96 motor with just over 120K miles, it's still fairly fresh. All the electrics work, windows, seats, mirrors. The leather seats have no rips nor excessive wear. No warning lights have lit up on the dash. In a year and a half of ownership I've replaced the battery, rad cap and top hose, all in, around £100. I've never had to top up the engine oil in my time of ownership. 

Now to the nightmare point, fuel consumption. 60mph on the motorway with cruise control set, and the 'coast' button hit, 30's will show on the trip, and that's U.S. gallons, so in reality a bit higher. Town, mmm , don't expect to see higher than 12-14mpg, and if you hot hooligan, and mash the loud pedal into the carpet, DON'T LOOK. If ya do you'll see one number. THREE, yes, 3 mpg! But God, it does hoof on at that, with a very satisfying note from the exhaust. 

Would I buy another and would I recommend it to others?

All in all, would I get another 4L Cherry (Cherokee)? HELL YES. Every time. 

Many thanks to Phil Millar for the review of his Jeep Cherokee.  You can find Phil on Twitter here