The XJ Cherokee was introduced in 1984 as the first uni-body Jeep. It was to be replaced by the larger Jeep Grand Cherokee in 1993, but the continuing popularity of the original Cherokee caused the company to rethink this decision.
Designs of the XJ Cherokee date back to 1978 when a team of AMC and Renault engineers drew several sketches; a few clay models were based on the existing SJ Cherokee. Early sketches of the XJ Cherokee had a European influence, where most of the styling cues were done by AMC engineers (the ongoing debate suggests that Renault sketch artists were involved right after the 1979 partnership with AMC). A former Renault engineer would come on board and design what is known to XJ Cherokee enthusiasts as the Quadra-Link suspension.
An upscale trim line on the Cherokee from 1984 through 1990 was the Jeep Wagoneer. It was sold as a separate model, and had vinyl wood-grain trim on the outside.
1984-1996 2.5 L AMC I4, 121 hp-125 hp
1984-1986 2.8 L GM 60° LR2 V6
1985-1987 2.1 L Renault turbo-diesel I4 (initially sold in US and until 1993 in Europe)
1987-1990 4.0 L AMC I6, 177 hp
1991-1996 4.0 L AMC "High Output" I6, 190 hp
1994-1996 2.5 L VM Motori turbo-diesel I4 (sold in Europe)
The Cherokee was slightly redesigned in 1997. Both 4 and 6-cylinder engines were offered up to the last year, when only the six was available. The Cherokee was eventually replaced in 2002 by the Jeep Liberty (KJ), though that vehicle is called the Cherokee in most foreign markets.
1997-2000 2.5 L AMC I4, 125 hp
1997-2001 2.5 L VM Motori turbo-diesel I4 (sold in Europe only)
1997-1999 4.0 L Power Tech I6, 190 hp
2000-2001 4.0 L Power Tech I6, 190 hp
AX4 - 4 speed manual - manufactured by Aisin - used 84-86 with 2.5L I4 and 2.8L V6 engines T4 & T5 - 4 & 5 speed manual - manufactured by Borg Warner - used 84-86 with 2.5L I4 and 2.8L V6 engines BA10/5 - 5 speed manual - manufactured by Peugot - used only up to 89 AX5 - 5 speed manual - manufactured by Aisin - used with 2.8L V6 and 87+ with 2.5L I4 AX15 - 5 speed manual - manufactured by Aisin - used with 4.0L I6 engines NV3550 - 5 speed manual - manufactured by New Venture - used in 00-01 in SE models with 4.0L I6 engines
TorqueFlight 904 - 3 speed automatic - used 84-86 with 2.8L V6 and 2.5L I4 engines 30RH - 3 speed automatic - used with 2.5L I4 engine 94-00 AW4 - 4 speed automatic, electronically controlled - manufactured by Aisin - used from 87-01 (87-91 models include a Power/Comfort button that adjusts the shift points).