Is The Jeep Cherokee Frame or Unibody (Briefly Answered)

In the car world, every car either uses one of the two designs of chassis. Unibody design or body-on-frame design. And the Jeep Cherokee is no different from that!

So, is the Jeep Cherokee frame or unibody?

The Jeep Cherokee has a unibody design. Here the whole chassis of the car is one whole unit. As a result, they are less flexible and the SUV runs much smoother on paved roads. The performance and fuel efficiency are also better on unibody design. But there are both pros and cons. 

We have covered all the details about the Jeep using unibody and on-frame design.

Let’s jump down below and learn about Jeep chassis differences. 


  • All the versions of Jeep Cherokee have either a unibody or reinforced unibody design.
  • Compared to the frame design, the unibody is more rigid and offers better durability.

Is The Jeep Cherokee Frame Or Unibody?

Almost all the models of the Cherokee family have had unibody designs. Jeep is the original SUV producer in the market. Jeep became so famous even on the international market, that it became a trademark. All the SUVs on the roads were sort of addressed as Jeeps. 

Jeep Cherokee Frame
Source: Jeep Cherokee Forum

The Jeep Cherokee is an ancient lineup of Jeeps. And since its beginning, it followed a unibody design. That is because there are certain advantages to a unibody design. One of them being its ease to design. 

There is a miss conception of the Jeep Cherokee body on the frame. But the Jeep Cherokee has always been using a unibody design. 

On the other hand frame on the body is a bit hard to design. But this also has a few advantages and disadvantages. However, the body and the frame of the Jeep Cherokee are manufactured as a whole. 

The unibody design is really common among all car manufacturers today. But the frame on the body used to be the go-to design. That is mainly because machines and production lines used to be smaller. Also, R&D helped the progress as well. 

Is The Jeep Cherokee XJ Unibody?

Yes, just like most Jeep Cherokees, the XJ also has a unibody design. However, there’s a great debate among car enthusiasts about the base Cherokee and Xjunibody versions.

The Jeep Cherokee and the Xjunibody are the same cars. There are some minor differences between the two. Such as trim levels like sports, classic, and country. However, the design is the same, it is also unibody.

Also, the Xjunibody is known as the Jeep XJ. So there is no need to confuse these two as well. But since both cars are produced by Jeep, a few of the parts are similar. Such as the fuse box terminal. Always remember to clean your fuse box for proper maintenance. 

Difference Between Jeep Trim Levels

As we have stated before, there are 3 different trim levels of Jeeps. The 3 are sport, classic, and country. And each has its own distinguishing features.


The sports package of Jeeps packs the most performance. If you are all about off-roading, this is the one to go for. 

Since this is the sports package, many comfort things aren’t considered here. Well, in comparison to other trims, this has less comfort, but you do get some. There are heated and ventilated seats and other safety measures as well. 

But as the sports trim, the performance is the main focus here. So, the chassis is a bit more flexible because of better off-roading. The materials used here are a bit more rugged and the seats are bolstered. So you won’t get detached from your seats. 


As the trim name says, the classic trim is the most basic trim of all. But the Jeep doesn’t spare much cost here. The overall trim of the car is good. The materials used in the car are qualities and the performance is quite efficient. 

Since this is the classic trim, the Jeep doesn’t focus on performance or on luxury. 


The top of the trim for the Jeep is country. Both performance and luxury is the goal over here. Starting from the infotainment screen to the seats, everything is high quality. 

Also, the Jeep didn’t skimp on luxury here as well. Comfort is a great factor in this case. Both the front and rear passengers are 

How Can You Detect Unibody Or Body on Frame?

The easiest way to detect the body type is by looks. If your car has a unibody design, there will be pilers connecting the floor and the roof. But if it’s a body on the frame, you’ll see the frame and body are two different parts. 

Unibody Or Body on Frame
Source: CJ Pony Parts

And both of the parts are connected with screws and nuts. The body and the frame can also be attached by welding both of the parts. There are major differences between unibody and frame design. 

You can also notice handling of the unibody cars is better. Since the car chassis is a whole big part, there is less flexing. But on the other hand, the body-on-frame design has to withstand a lot of flexing. Because the frame takes most of the stress. 

Is The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk unibody?

The Jeep Cherokee trailhawk does use a unibody design. The trailhawk line of cars by Jeep is a performance-focused car. And for better performance, the Trailhawk uses a unibody design. 

Starting from controlling the durability of the car, the unibody can deliver that. This design can also be easier to produce. So it’s cheaper for the Jeep to provide better performance. 

Is The Jeep Grand Cherokee unibody?

Yes, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has an all-around unibody structure. When it comes to the best of the best Jeeps, that is the Grand Cherokee. It’s not only fast and powerful, but it’s also luxurious and has status. So, when we are talking about a vehicle like this, it definitely uses a unibody. 

And it’s not just now that the Grand Cherokee uses a unibody. It’s since the start of its production. That is why it has been the best of the best in the class. 

What Year Did Jeep Cherokee Go to Unibody?

Jeep is all about performance and durability. And that is why since day one, it uses a unibody design. In 1984, a Jeep rolled out the Cherokee. 

And this was the first unibody SUV on the market. Not only was it different from other Jeeps, but from other producers as well. But the Jeep Cherokee radio has always been a bit crappy. But there are solutions if the radio is not working on your Cherokee

By that time other SUV producers used frames in design. Which lacks much performance and durability. This is why Jeep came one step ahead of others with the Cherokee. Although there are a few Jeep grand Cherokee years to avoid. 

Is Unibody Better than a Body on the Frame?

When it comes to the body design, the unibody is a whole lot better than the body on the frame. That is because the unibody is a completely solid structure. And the frame on the structure attaches the body of the car to a frame. Which reduces structural stability. 

Is Unibody Better than a Body on the Frame
Source: Carfax

But there are both advantages and disadvantages to both unibody and body-on-frame design. Let’s start the body on frame vs unibody. 

Pros and Cons of Unibody SUV

As we said before, there are both pros and cons to the unibody design. We have listed the pros and cons of the unibody SUV below. So, let’s get started on that!


  • It is easier to design
  • Get a vehicle get better gas mileage
  • Common and easier-to-find parts
  • Less likely to happen a rollover
  • Ride quality is much smoother
  • Drives smoothly on paved roads


  • Low towing capacity
  • Off-roading is a bit difficult
  • A bit more expensive to fix
  • Expensive to design

Pros and Cons of Body on Frame SUV

There are pros and cons of body and frame as well. That is why there is a wide range of body-on-frame SUVs on the market. As many ask, is the Jeep Wagoneer body on the frame? And it does use a body-on-frame design. 

The Pros:

  • Off-roading is a bit easier
  • Higher towing capacity
  • Cheap to manufacture
  • Less sound from the road

The Cons:

  • Much heavier than unibody
  • Worse gas mileage
  • No crumple spots
  • Drives roughly on smooth roads
  • Accidents are more severe

Can you Swap a Unibody?

No, you can’t swap a unibody chassis so easily. That is because the body of a car cannot be replaced. Different vehicles use different types of body designs. And each is unique for certain road types. 

Also, the body design is unique to a certain vehicle. That is why you cannot use one body for another.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is a Frame on Body Better than Unibody for Off-roading?

The frame on the body is better for off-roading because it is more flexible. The frame and the body are attached later on. That is why the two different parts can move individually if needed. But too much flexing can also cause damage to the frame. 

When was Unibody Invented?

The unibody was invented in the 1930s. But it wasn’t commercialized back then because it was expensive. As technological progress catches on, unibody becomes more famous. And eventually, all automotive makers started using unibody design. 

Why does Unibody Design Provide Better Fuel Efficiency?

Unibody provides better fuel efficiency because of better acceleration. The body on the frame is two separate parts. The unibody design is also lighter in weight. And the ride quality is much smoother and handles like a sedan. 


So, that was everything you needed to know about the Jeep Cherokee frame or unibody. Nonetheless, both design types have pros and cons. 

So, pick the vehicle of your choice on the basis of what you are looking for. This way you will get the best for yourself. 

Good luck with your Jeep Cherokee!

Robert Lozano

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