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2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport Utility

4dr Sport 4WD

Starting at | Starting at 17 MPG City - 22 MPG Highway

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  • $21,915 original MSRP
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2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport Utility

Printable Version

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport Utility

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2001 Jeep Cherokee

Source: New Car Test Drive

Old timer still has plenty to offer.

by T.J. Cobb

Base Price (MSRP) $19,370
As Tested (MSRP) $25,570

Here we go again. After that remark we made last year, the one about Jeep selling Cherokees until we are old and gray, it now appears that the Cherokee's life span will continue for awhile longer. Due to "overwhelming customer demand," the Jeep people now tell us, "Cherokee production is extended past the original November 2000 close." We've heard this before. The Grand Cherokee was supposed to replace the Cherokee, but due to the demand for this solid, inexpensive SUV, they kept making them. Now, they're coming out with another, smaller SUV that is supposed to replace the Cherokee. But people keep buying them.

So there is going to be a 2001 model, but after that, who knows? Jeep is eager to introduce newer, more modern, more aerodynamic products, such as the upcoming Liberty. You might want to wait and see what develops. Or you might want to buy a classic while you still can.

The four-cylinder Cherokee is already gone, which partially explains this year's significantly higher base price. All 2001 Cherokees will be powered by a 4.0-liter, overhead-valve inline-6. This is the same engine that was re-designed last year for 50-state LEV (low-emissions vehicle) certification.

Cherokee is a case study in how long a solid design can remain viable. Introduced in 1984, Cherokee helped launch America into its amazing romance with sport-utility vehicles. Cherokees sprouted in suburban driveways like mushrooms. And its popularity continues. Jeep sold more than 140,000 Cherokees last year. And why not? Cherokee is still tough as nails, reasonably inexpensive and, in four-wheel-drive guise, thoroughly capable when the pavement ends.

More than that, its flat-planed, square-edged styling resonates with all the richness of Jeep history.

Model Lineup

The Cherokee model lineup has been simplified for 2001. Yet, even without the four-cylinder and a couple of trim levels, Cherokee still offers buyers some choices. Two-door and four-door bodies are available, either with rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Two-doors come in only one trim level, called Sport, and list for $19,370 with two-wheel drive and $20,880 with four-wheel drive. Four-doors are offered in Sport or more up-market Limited trim. A four-door, four-wheel-drive Limited starts at $23,385.

Sport models are fairly basic, with power steering, power brakes, full carpeting, four-speaker AM/FM/cassette stereo, a clock and tachometer, variable intermittent wipers and a five-speed manual transmission. Limiteds technically add only a luggage rack, power mirrors, upgraded seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear wiper, four-speed automatic transmission and an upgrade from 15-inch steel to 16-inch aluminum wheels.

But a $945 "quick-order package" adds the automatic transmission, plus air conditioning; tilt-wheel; time-delayed headlights; remote keyless entry; power locks, windows and mirrors; luggage rack and other niceties to the Cherokee Sport. An almost identical package is required on Limited, but due to manufacturer-to-dealer discounts it is currently listed as a no-cost option as well as a mandatory one.

Automatic transmission and air conditioning can also be ordered as stand-alone options, for $945 and $850, respectively. Leather upholstery is available for $1,190, a seriously off-road "Up-Country" suspension for $725-$845 (depending on model), and a Trailer Tow Group $245 or $365, again depending on the model. The bottom line is that you can order just about anything you want on your Cherokee, but you'll probably have to order it a la carte.

Walkaround

With its classic Jeep styling, the Cherokee is a familiar face, and you'll have no trouble recognizing it despite the bright work added to the front end last year. This is still very much the same Cherokee that hundreds of thousands of buyers have come to know and respect in the U.S.: Square, tough and durable.

The Cherokee was the first unit-body sport-utility vehicle, as distinct from the traditional body-on-frame approach. The advantages are much higher rigidity and much lower weight, which contribute to the Cherokee's hot-rod performance and good handling.

Although the Cherokee is available in a rear-drive version, it wouldn't really be a Jeep without four-wheel drive. Cherokee offers two levels of 4WD: part-time Command-Trac and full-time Selec-Trac. Both include a 2.72:1 low range, but Selec-Trac has a center planetary differential with a 48/52 torque split for free running on dry pavement.

Interior Features

Cherokee's interior shows its age and comes up a little short in the comfort department. When the Cherokee was introduced, it was hailed as an SUV that combined mid-size handiness with the convenience of four doors. It was hard to perceive its interior as cramped or awkward, because by the standards of the day it wasn't. Times have changed, however. SUVs have become luxurious station wagons. Without a major redesign, the Cherokee hasn't kept up with that trend. Newer entries place a high priority on comfort. Compared to them, the Cherokee measures up as pretty snug, particularly in the rear seat.

It's also uncomfortable for the driver. Adjust as we might, we were never quite able to achieve an ideal driving position. Cherokee's limited front seat travel left us sitting closer than we wanted to be, and reaching up for the wheel rim. There's also no place for the driver to rest his or her left foot, a small convenience that you miss when it isn't there.

Though still rectilinear and blocky, the dashboard has shed the cheap appearance of earlier examples. The primary instruments are a bit small, but the secondary array is a little more comprehensive than average, including an ammeter and oil pressure gauge.

It's possible to load the Cherokee with comfort and convenience features, including a good sound system with cassette and CD players, air conditioning, power driver's seat, an overhead digital info center and two digital clocks. All of this stuff makes the going more pleasant, but we'd trade most of it for better seats. Our Cherokee's sport buckets felt snug, with better-than-average side support, but after a couple of hours snug gives way to confined, and the length of the bottom cushion measures up short.

Driving Impressions

With its tight interior and stiff freeway ride, Cherokee might not be everyone's choice for a long cruise. In fact, we suspect some people would dismiss the Cherokee as choppy on this score, and that would be true. This is not an Explorer, a sport-utility vehicle designed for people who see this breed as trendy station wagons. This is a Jeep, which means an implicit promise of off-road superiority.

Our Cherokee was equipped with the stiffer Up-Country suspension package and Selec-Trac four-wheel drive, making it even firmer than two-wheel drive versions.

Cherokee pogos a bit on uneven pavement -- certain stretches of I-80 in Pennsylvania, for example, the sections that inspire big-rig drivers to cruise in the left lane for slightly smoother going.

But on rutted dirt roads in the Pennsylvania outback, the Cherokee showed its true colors. Its combination of good ground clearance, short wheelbase and a favorable power-to-weight ratio make this boxy little veteran a tiger in the woods. The Selec-Trac four-wheel drive system, which can be used full-time, came in handy during a mini-blizzard that choked part of central Pennsylvania during this particular excursion.

Thanks to its relatively low curb weight, the Cherokee is something of an athlete among its peers. The Cherokee will smoke almost any other compact sport-utility on a slalom course, and it's handier than most when it's time to dodge traffic and potholes. Its on-center steering feel leaves much to be desired, however.

Cherokee's optional four-speed automatic is a smooth operator, and there's enough torque in the venerable inline six-cylinder engine to generate excellent stoplight getaway, automatic or not. As always, we'd prefer a manual transmission.

Power notwithstanding, the Cherokee's inline-6 feels a little primitive compared to most of the V6 engines offered by Jeep's competitors. An inline-6 is supposed to be an ideal design for smooth operation, but Jeep's version generates noticeable vibration through most of its operating range.

Final Word

Jeep Cherokee continues to fall behind its competitors in terms of comfort and convenience. But if you value acceleration performance, the Cherokee still delivers. It's agile, and surprisingly quick.

Lack of caution in the option-shopping process can escalate its price beyond reason. The $25,570 we paid for ours doesn't seem too bad, but that's with manufacturer-to-dealer discounts on the mandatory Limited Value Group. You should be able to drive home in a reasonably well-equipped four-door Cherokee with four-wheel drive for around $23,000. And at that price, even with its limitations, the Jeep Cherokee still stacks up as a good buy.

© New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport Utility

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Anti-theft System Opt
Printable Version

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport Utility

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 7 Years/100,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/100,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

Jeep Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

7-Years/100,000-Miles (whichever comes first). Powertrain Limited Warranty runs from the date vehicle was sold as new.

3-Month/3,000-Mile Maximum Care Warranty. Starts on the date of the CPOV sale, or at the expiration of the remaining 3/36 Basic New Vehicle Warranty.

A deductible may apply. See dealer for details or call 1-800-677-5782
Age/Mileage Eligibility 5 years / 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 125
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport Utility

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