Are you in the market for a used vehicle that won’t leave you stranded on the side of the road?
If you’re eyeing a Jeep Cherokee that has been in the market since 1974, it’s crucial to know which model years to avoid to save you from costly repairs and maintenance headaches.
While some Jeep Grand Cherokee’s best years have proven reliable and trustworthy, others have been plagued by transmission, engine, and electrical issues.
I strongly suggest you avoid 2014, 2015, and 2019 at all costs!
By steering clear of these problematic model years, you’ll be able to find a dependable Jeep Cherokee within the best years we shall explain in this guide that will give you a satisfying driving experience without any unwanted surprises.
- 1 The Worst Jeep Cherokee Years to Avoid
- 2 Transmission Issues
- 3 Engine Problems
- 4 Electrical Issues
- 5 Most Reliable and Best Years for Jeep Cherokee
- 6 The 2018 and 2020 Jeep SUV
- 7 Improvements in Newer Models
- 8 Transmission and Engine
- 9 Automatic vs. Manual Transmission
- 10 Diesel Engines
- 11 Some Known Issues
- 12 Class-Action Lawsuit
- 13 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- 14 Consumer Reports
- 15 Trim Levels and Features
- 16 Grand Cherokee Models
- 17 Cherokee Trailhawk
- 18 Navigation System
- 19 Cruise Control
- 20 Vitals Steps to Buying a Used Jeep Cherokee
- 21 1) Average Cost
- 22 What More to Look Out For?
- 23 Generations of Jeep Cherokee
- 24 First Cherokee (XJ)
- 25 Second Generation (KJ)
- 26 Third Generation (KK)
- 27 Fourth Generation (KL)
- 28 Fifth Generation (currently in production)
- 29 Share this post:
The Worst Jeep Cherokee Years to Avoid
Jeep Cherokees are beloved by many, but like any vehicle, some years have more problems than others.
This section covers some of the worst years to avoid, especially 2014, 2015, and 2019. And transmission issues, engine problems, and electrical issues you should be aware of when considering a used Jeep Cherokee.
The 2014 and 2015 Jeep Cherokee models have reportedly experienced transmission problems such as shifting difficulties and complete transmission failure, making them less reliable vehicles.
Again, the 2014 and 2015 models suffered from engine issues, which may cause excessive oil consumption or engine failure.
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee has additional engine troubles, such as heavy oil consumption and recalls related to engine problems, making it another year to avoid.
Electrical issues have been noted in the 2014 and 2015 models, with some Cherokee owners experiencing problems with the vehicle’s infotainment system or other electronic components.
By researching and considering other years with fewer reported problems, you’ll be well on your way to finding a reliable vehicle to enjoy for years to come.
Most Reliable and Best Years for Jeep Cherokee
Now let’s talk about the sweet pie – the best years model you must focus on to nail down a reliable Jeep Grand Cherokee years or any trim model you may desire!
The 2018 and 2020 Jeep SUV
The 2018 and 2020 Jeep Cherokee models stand out with solid reliability ratings. These years have demonstrated better performance, fewer mechanical issues, and increased customer satisfaction compared to some other years.
They have proven to be reliable choices, offering a combination of comfort, safety, and off-road capabilities that Jeep owners have come to expect.
Choosing a Jeep Cherokee from one of these better years, 2018 and 2020, makes you more likely to enjoy a worry-free ownership experience.
Improvements in Newer Models
Newer Jeep Grand Cherokee models have benefited from various improvements addressing some of the earlier issues in previous years.
The 2020 or 2021 Jeep Cherokee models are perfect pointers because both have made strides in resolving most main problems like transmission, engine, and electrical issues reported in the older 2014, 2015, and 2019 models.
As a new owner, you can expect enhanced vehicle performance, better driving experience, and improved safety systems, making these years more appealing than some of their predecessors.
While many improvements have been made in the more recent models, staying informed about the reliability trends and potential issues that might emerge in the future is crucial.
Remember that, as with any vehicle, research and diligence in evaluating the specific model and year you’re considering are crucial to making the best decision.
Transmission and Engine
Automatic vs. Manual Transmission
As previously explained, Jeep Grand Cherokee has seen its share of transmission issues, especially in the automatic variants.
The worst years (2014 and 2015 models), known for transmission hesitation, rough shifting, and random engine stalls, were mainly observed in the automatic transmission versions.
On the other hand, the manual transmission variants have remained relatively problem-free in comparison and have much less costly repairs.
Jeep Cherokee’s diesel engine options have also faced some concerns, including engine and suspension issues in the 2015 model year.
Do note that the diesel engine option was less affected by some problems, issues as transmission issues.
Also note that while the manual transmission and diesel engine options are more dependable than their automatic counterparts, we still highly recommend you do your due diligence!
Some Known Issues
A class-action lawsuit was filed against Jeep due to transmission defects in some Cherokee models.
The lawsuit targeted the 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokees, which experienced nine-speed automatic transmission issues. The problems mentioned in the case included hard shifting, stalling, and delayed acceleration.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recorded recalls and complaints about various Jeep Cherokee models.
For instance, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee had 12 recalls related to transmission problems, weak windshield wipers, and software issues. These transmission issues resulted in difficult shifting, unexpected stalling, and acceleration problems.
Additionally, the NHTSA documented that the 2019 Jeep Cherokee experienced heavy oil consumption issues, making it another year to potentially avoid.
The Consumer Reports platforms noted various Jeep Cherokee model years that have faced significant problems, like 2016, 2017, and 2019 reported to have experienced engine and powertrain issues.
These issues ranged from the engine losing power and shutting off while turning to problematic transmission performance.
Additionally, the 2011 Grand Cherokee had 741 complaints due to TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module) issues, which affected interior styling and electrical wiring.
It led to engine starting failures or delays and high maintenance costs, even at relatively low mileage.
Trim Levels and Features
Grand Cherokee Models
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has various trim levels catering to potential buyers’ diverse preferences.
Some standard trim options include the Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit, offering a range of luxury and off-roading features for different budgets and driving requirements.
Each version focuses on different aspects, such as performance, comfort, and technology, to provide a well-rounded experience for Jeep enthusiasts.
The Cherokee Trailhawk is a unique trim level within the Jeep Cherokee lineup. This rugged Trailhawk edition has features like skid plates, all-terrain tires, and a more advanced 4-wheel drive system, ensuring drivers can confidently tackle any terrain and off-road adventurers.
The Trailhawk also boasts an aggressive exterior appearance, making it a standout option for those seeking a capable and eye-catching SUV.
Many Jeep Cherokees have a modern navigation system to aid drivers with their journeys comfortably and reliably.
These systems may include features like turn-by-turn directions, real-time traffic updates, and points of interest to make navigating unfamiliar locations more accessible.
In more recent models, the navigation system can be seamlessly integrated with smartphone devices through the vehicle’s multimedia interface, offering an effortless user experience for everyday commutes and long road trips.
Cruise control is a highly appreciated convenience feature in most Jeep Cherokee models.
Standard cruise control systems allow drivers to maintain a consistent speed, taking some strain off the driver during long journeys.
Advanced cruise control systems, such as adaptive cruise control, are available in select Jeep Cherokee trims.
Adaptive cruise control uses radar technology to sense the distance between the vehicle and others on the road, automatically adjusting speed to maintain a safe distance. This feature enhances the traditional cruise control function, providing a more comfortable and secure driving experience.
Vitals Steps to Buying a Used Jeep Cherokee
1) Average Cost
When looking for a used Jeep Cherokee, the average cost can vary depending on model year, mileage, and overall condition. Here are a few examples of approximate price ranges for different trim levels:
- Cherokee Sport: $12,000 – $18,000
- Cherokee Latitude: $14,000 – $20,000
- Cherokee Limited: $16,000 – $22,000
Remember, these are ballpark figures; prices may differ based on the vehicle and location.
Maintenance CostsMaintenance costs for a Jeep Cherokee can roughly be grouped as follows:
- Routine maintenance includes oil changes, tire rotations, and other regular upkeep. Expect to spend around $500 annually.
- Major repairs: Replacing parts like the transmission or engine can be expensive, but these repairs are rare. Budget around $1,000 annually for these costs to be safe.
What More to Look Out For?
Also, we recommend that you do a deep inspection of the vehicle and its history, possibly with a qualified auto mechanic:
- Model year: As mentioned earlier, 2014, 2015, and 2016 are model years to avoid. However, recent models like 2018 and 2020 have received higher owner ratings.
- Mileage: Assess the vehicle’s odometer reading and consider how that will affect maintenance costs. A lower-mileage car may have a slightly higher upfront cost but could save you money in the long run.
- Service records: Look for a consistent maintenance history to ensure the vehicle has been appropriately cared for. Regular oil changes and other routine servicing are good indicators of responsible ownership.
- During the test drive, please pay attention to any unusual noises or hesitations, as they could signal potential issues with the engine or transmission.
- Vehicle history report: A report from a reputable source like Carfax will help you identify any accidents, damage, or title issues.
You can find a grand Jeep Cherokee at an affordable price by doing your due diligence and focusing on well-maintained vehicles from reliable model years.
Generations of Jeep Cherokee
First Cherokee (XJ)
The Jeep Cherokee XJ was the first generation of the Cherokee model, produced from 1984 to 2001. This compact SUV became iconic due to its boxy design, off-road capabilities, and affordability.
The XJ gained popularity among off-road enthusiasts and casual drivers alike. It had various engine options, including the reliable 4.0L inline-six engine.
Second Generation (KJ)
The second generation Jeep Cherokee, also known as the Jeep Liberty (KJ) in North America, was produced from 2002 to 2007, and some Liberty suffered suspension problems.
This generation featured a more rounded, modern design than the boxy XJ. The KJ was equipped with a 3.7L V6 engine and offered improved on-road driving dynamics.
However, some off-road capabilities were sacrificed for better on-road performance, leading to a high Liberty Jeep reliability 2002 model.
Third Generation (KK)
The third generation Cherokee, also known as the Liberty (KK) in North America, was produced from 2008 to 2012.
This generation continued the rounded design language of its predecessor but incorporated new features such as the Selec-Trac II four-wheel drive system. The 3.7L V6 engine remained, providing adequate power for both on- and off-road driving.
Fourth Generation (KL)
The fourth-generation Jeep Cherokee (KL) debuted 2013 as a 2014 model. With a controversial front-end design and a shift to unibody construction, this generation aimed for improved fuel efficiency and on-road comfort.
However, it is widely considered one of the worst Jeep Cherokee years due to numerous issues, recalls, and complaints – especially for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 model years.
The KL generation introduced various new engine options, such as a 2.4L inline-four and a 3.2L V6, alongside an improved 4×4 system.
Fifth Generation (currently in production)
The 5th gen of the Jeep Cherokee comes with a rebooted design for the 2019 model year, addressing concerns over the divisive front-end styling.
The fifth generation comes with a new 2.0L turbocharged inline-four engine alongside the previously fitted machines.
Despite every previous problem, many drivers considered the 2018 and 2020 models much better as they experienced fewer issues and concerns, with widespread tales of owner satisfaction.
However, the Cherokee still needs to work on competing with close competitors in the SUV market regarding overall reliability.