Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jeep Cherokee: 6-Month Review

Ok, so I've been driving my '96 Cherokee Country for 6 months, and I've been having some thoughts about it, overall. There are some small things that are kind of a nagging nuisance for everyday use, and there are some bigger issues that I don't like from a broader stance.

The smaller stuff isn't too bad, but could become more annoying during long-term use. The first thing you'll notice when using a Cherokee like this is that the door isn't long enough to not hit your back on the B-pillar (more noticeable when exiting), and the seat is too high. I've got the manual seats, so it's definitely a mounting height issue. The roof is pretty close to your head, and I frequently hit my head on the top of the door frame when I get out. Plus, my leg always hits the wheel if I leave it in a comfortable driving position, and I don't even have it down far! You shouldn't have to constantly move the steering wheel to get in or out of your car; it's not good for the wiring.

Other small issues would include things like no leg-room in the back seat, u-joints crawling over themselves if you turn too tight, and the fact that I bought this to haul drums and be fun to drive, but the back end is completely full when I put my drums in where I could fit everything just fine in the trunk of my Vic. And I never thought I'd ever say this, especially at this point in my vehicular life, but this Jeep has too much torque to be useful. In almost any wet situation, I'll lose traction off a red light and swing the back end out with minimal pedal. Granted, it is most likely that I have junky, cheap tires, but there's no excuse for that in non-standing water.

Those are the small issues, now on to the bigger ones. This thing rusts hardcore. Holy crap, does this thing rust! I honestly need an entire new floor, new rockers, sections of my roof, and half my exhaust just dropped off on the freeway! This thing is fun to drive on the highway, and I'm sure if I had the chance to go off-road, it'd be a blast, but I doubt it'll hold up to anything I would want to do with it. Somebody even kicked a hole in my floor on the passenger side! It seems like the drivetrain and suspension are durable, but all the bits holding them in place are going to rust in half and drop them all over everywhere. Not a fan.

I just can't get a handle on this thing. I got used to my Vic within the first month or two, but this thing has completely wrecked my parallel parking ability. I was talking to somebody online, and they made a very true statement, "The XJ [(Cherokee)] gets to be a bit of a handful over 60, and the Vic can do 85 without even noticing." I think this would be a ton of fun and seriously maneuverable off-road, but I'm not as happy driving it as a daily driver as I was in my Vic. I feel more comfortable, confident, and about 3-times as happy in my Vic. Granted, the mileage is better in my Jeep, it's more versatile, and it fits in smaller parking spots, but I'm semi-seriously considering selling it and using my Vic again (since no one seems to want to buy it).

You know, I think I like the idea of a little car with tons of power, and that goes with off-roaders too, just add good articulation and easy maneuverability, but as far as the application of that principle goes, I really like full-size, full-frame vehicles with big, brawny V8's with loud pipes. Take my Cherokee and give my an F-250 or a Raptor.

I know I said I was gonna do a build up on my Jeep, but I have no money, and this one is going to be way too much work. I think, if I can get a job for next semester that pays decently, I'm gonna sell the Jeep and fix my Vic. My sister-in-law has a '98 Cherokee, though, and we could do the same build on hers in the future. There are still options.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Here's a quick, little post for you. This video is pretty awesome. I enjoyed it. It made me think of all the reasons I enjoy the open road. I hope you like it.