The Jeep Cherokee is one of the longest-running nameplates in the SUV game. It’s been around since the mid-1970s and has persisted ever since. Not many vehicles have that level of longevity to their name, with non-stop generations and production models coming out subsequently for decades. The upside and downside to that, however, is that for all the different models and various trims that people have sought out when looking for a Jeep Cherokee for sale, it means that some of those models, trims, and special editions end up lost in the shuffle.
So what exactly am I talking about? Well, throughout the years, there have been some interesting special editions and rare trims attached to the Jeep Cherokee nameplate that have become super rare over time. In fact, some of these models are now collector items because they’ve become so hard to find. The really interesting part is that not all of them are antique models, as some of them are actually more recent than you might be expecting. So check out our brief list of the Top 5 Super Rare Jeep Cherokee Models That Are Hard To Find.
#5: 2019 Jeep Cherokee Overland
The Overland trim is a common one among the Jeep brand of vehicles, but ironically it hasn’t been used as a standard trim offering for the compact Jeep Cherokee. Instead, you can only find the Overland model for the compact Jeep Cherokee for the 2019 model year. This makes it quite a rare find if you can manage to get your hands on one, despite it being a relatively recent model. What’s also interesting is that it wasn’t marketed as a special edition, despite it being a rare trim to find on the market.
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee Overland did receive various reviews during the marketing and promotion phase of that model year outing, but sadly it’s a tough trim to come by if you’re looking for a Jeep Cherokee for sale. So what does the Overland feature? Well, the KL generation outing features 19-inch two-tone aluminum wheels, a 4×4 Active Drive I system, and an available leather interior.
The Overland also comes standard with a 3.2-liter V6, a nine-speed automatic, a digital information display for the driver, a seven-inch infotainment suite, and all of the necessary features to… well, overland. The theme of this particular model was that it wasn’t supposed to be a hardcore off-road machine like the Trailhawk, but it wasn’t as domesticated as the Latitude. It was a trim specifically designed for light off-road adventures and casual travels away from the tarmac. Unfortunately, finding an Overland is no easy task since it was only available for the compact Cherokee for the 2019 model year.
#4: 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Elite
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Elite is basically if you take the Cherokee Trailhawk and then slap some extra oomph on it. The 2019 Trailhawk Elite was––once again––sadly only offered in limited quantities. That means that if you missed out on it, you missed out on it for good. Finding one may end up requiring an elite trail tracker to hunt down and acquire, but the question is…is it worth it? Well, that all depends on what you want out of an enthusiast Cherokee off-road trim.
The Trailhawk Elite basically came standard with all of the Trailhawk’s features, such as the unique exterior styling and the 3.6-liter V6. The Cherokee Trailhawk Elite also came standard with 17-inch wheels paired with near-30-inch tires and a ground clearance of 8.7 inches. So what made the Trailhawk Elite so special?
Well, the standard Trailhawk came with the Jeep Active Drive II, whereas the Trailhawk Elite came with the Active Drive Lock 4×4 system with Selec-Terrain Management. The Elite also featured the option to make use of automatic high beams and optional rain-sensing wipers and featured standard implementation of driver memory settings. The Trailhawk Elite is an elusive model to get your hands on, though, and even finding information on it is no easy task. Of course, if you can manage to get your hands on one, you can take advantage of its many convenience features and enthusiast off-road capabilities.
#3: 2001 Jeep Cherokee 60th Anniversary Edition
Talking about rarity, the 2001 Jeep Cherokee 60th Anniversary Edition is about as rare as you can get. It was only produced for one year (obviously) and in very limited quantities. How limited? Well, reportedly, only a few thousand units were produced. This Jeep Cherokee model was only available in two colors, Silver and Black. This was also the last model year for the XJ generation of Jeep Cherokee models, so they decided to go out with a bang.
Featuring ultra star-cast aluminum wheels, available fog lamps and deep tinted glass, and specially embroidered floor mats with a two-tone interior, the Cherokee 60th Anniversary Edition was nothing to scoff at for a 2001 model year outing. The SUV also came standard with cloth seats and an available CD/cassette player, but some dealers offered leather seating with 60th Anniversary Edition badging. Like other models from that year, it featured a unibody frame with a tall stance and that iconic square-jawed Jeep design from the era.
Like other models from that generation, the 60th Anniversary Edition Jeep Cherokee came with a 4.0-liter inline Power Tech six-cylinder that delivered up to 190 hp at 225 lb-ft of torque. The 60th Anniversary made for a very capable and very stylish offering of the Cherokee, but due to limited quantities and its age, you won’t be finding one for sale anytime soon. Maybe if you scavenge around, you might be able to get your hands on one…maybe.
#2: 1997 Jeep Cherokee Country
Before the Trailhawk was a thing in the modern era of Jeep Cherokee models, there was a little-known trim called the Country that fulfilled that role way back in the day. Between 1993 and 1997, the Jeep Cherokee Country was not only the go-to luxury option for the Jeep Cherokee but also the top-of-the-line off-road option, too. The 1997 model year was also the final model year outing for the Cherokee Country, where it was replaced with the more familiar Limited trim.
The Country, however, even for its final run in 1997, was no slouch. This particular Cherokee came packed with an inline 6-cylinder that delivered 190 hp at 220 lb-ft of torque, same as the 60th Anniversary Edition. So power wasn’t an issue for the off-road SUV during that time. The Country was also available with the Selec-Trac Full-Time 4×4 system, which came equipped with four different drive modes, including the 2WD, 4-Part Time, 4-Full Time, and 4-Low.
The Country also came with a specially tuned Up Country Suspension Group package for improved off-road handling, along with skid plates to protect the undercarriage, Trac-Lok for a locking rear differential, and an upscale interior featuring leather seats. Basically, if you wanted the best that the late 1990s Jeep Cherokee had to offer, you were going to go for the Jeep Cherokee for sale that had “Country” next to the trim listing. Of course, finding one with its now iconic two-tone color scheme, pseudo-mahogany wood interior trimming, and AccuSound cabin speakers is going to be quite the challenge. But if you really wanted a nice collector’s item, the Jeep Cherokee Country is definitely one way to go.
#1: 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Edition
It probably won’t win any beauty contests, but you can’t deny that the 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Edition is iconic in more ways than one. This obviously isn’t a vehicle you find for sale easily at just any dealer’s lot, but you can likely bet your bottom dollar it’s a garage queen on some lucky collector’s property. The 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Edition is pretty much the epitome of a rare Jeep Cherokee that’s hard to find, and not in a one-off-model-year-trim sort of way, but more as a historic-piece-of-Americana sort of way.
The gold-and-bronze panel livery is probably the most standout feature of this classic Cherokee, featuring a massive eagle design on the hood that wraps around the vehicle with body-striped lines. The livery is paired with the very conspicuously large “Golden Eagle” badge on the side of the SUV. Chrome bumpers with massive grille guard bars and 15-inch golden wheels wrapped in beefy 27-inch tires help round out the very gaudy exterior. The Golden Eagle Edition Cherokee was also matched up with a big 360-cubic inch V8 that pumped out 175 horses.
This was a vehicle that was really a design of its time. The denim interior kind of says it all, along with all of its bold and contrasting styling cues. But this super rare beast of a Cherokee is the one to gun for if you want a Cherokee that very, very, very few people have. Is it an SUV that you will appreciate for its looks or performance? I can’t be the judge of that, but I can most certainly say that it’s a rare, one-of-a-kind Cherokee that’s definitely going to be hard to find for even the most eager of collectors.