Jeep Cherokee (2001-2008)

Few motoring brands are more iconic than Jeep, which has offered go-anywhere 4x4s for decades. However, while the Jeep's off-road abilities are beyond question, its on-road prowess isn't always so good; that's the case here, as the Cherokee is poor dynamically, unrefined and costly to run. However, it's reasonably spacious and tough, if prone to reliability niggles. If you need a workhorse or towing vehicle, it could be jus the ticket - otherwise, tread carefully.

Key Dates

10/01: The second-generation Jeep Cherokee arrives, with 2.4 or 3.7-litre petrol engines, plus a 2.5-litre turbodiesel unit.

9/02: A 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine is now available.

3/04: A Cherokee commercial debuts, named the Pioneer and based on the 2.5CRD.

1/05: The Cherokee is facelifted, with an upgraded 2.8-litre engine now the sole turbodiesel option, including for the Pioneer. The grille, dashboard and seats are also revised.

3/05: A special edition Renegade arrives, with 2.8CRD power only.

1/06: The special edition Predator appears.

8/08: An all-new third-generation Cherokee debuts.

Jeep Cherokee (2001-2008) Checklist

  • Fuel and road tax costs are high, even for the diesels; make sure you can afford to run one of these cars.
  • Don't pay extra for an integrated sat-nav; it's not a great system and you're better off with a TomTom.
  • Automatic gearboxes can be weak; watch for jumping out of gear.
  • Alarms can be erratic; front door sensors are often the culprit.
  • The front propshaft gaiter can split; check it's intact.

We Like

  • Interior space
  • Off-road capabilities

We Don't Like

  • High running costs
  • Cabin materials
  • Lack of refinement
  • Bouncy ride


Jeep Wrangler (1997-2007)

Looked at in purely objective terms, few people in their right minds would buy a Jeep Wrangler - not unless they're closely related to the Marquis de Sade anyway. However, if you're looking for a go-anywhere workhorse that will be used more off the road than on it, the Wrangler could be just the ticket. Just be very careful that the previous owner hasn't worn the thing out.

Key Dates

3/97: Wrangler TJ supersedes the previous YJ edition, with a choice of 2.5 (4-cylinder) or 4.0-litre (6-cylinder) engines.

7/00: Instruments and seats are redesigned.

2/01: 60th Anniversary special edition debuts.

6/02: The Grizzly limited edition arrives.

7/03: The Sport TR2 special edition appears.

2/04: The Extreme Sport limited edtion joins the range.

7/05: The Renegade special edition reaches showrooms.

12/05: Jamboree and Summer limited editions arrive.

Jeep Wrangler (1997-2007) Checklist

  • Damage from off-roading is the most common problem; watch for floorpans that have been bashed about, seriously uneven panel gaps and wrecked paint.
  • Also watch out for suspension that's been damaged or is worn out; pay close attention to the axle swivel joints.
  • Check for oil leaks from the engine and transmission; they're costly to sort.
  • If used for off roading, there's a good chance the clutch will have taken some serious abuse; check it's not slipping.
  • Make sure the brakes are okay; feel for juddering (warped discs) and check for fade, signifying they've worn out.

We Like

  • Go anywhere ability
  • Tough

We Don't Like

  • Unrefined
  • No diesels
  • Rubbish handling