This isn’t a project like other “projects” on this site. That means… it probably won’t get scrapped and end up in the garbage… it might actually evolve into something useful; a sharp contrast to recent 4AG powered cars. Meh.
When we bought this thing, it was entirely for the daily grind. It will continue to be so dedicated. We leave in a semi-rural setting, which certainly doesn’t render cars useless, but situations certainly appear where anything less than 4WD is not practical. Snow piles up, ground clearance is helpful. Furthermore, certain comforts of an SUV are quite appealing: it easily fits my lanky frame, there is lots of room for carrying stuff (like strollers) and a nice high driving position is often more comfortable when surrounded by other trucks and SUV’s. The ZJ specifically was Car & Driver SUV of the year for many years in a row from its debut in 1993, and received many high remarks from other reviewers as well. Statistically, it’s small size and big motor help it perform better than a lot of the competition (even modern competition) and features like heated seats, leather and climate control make it very comfortable everywhere. For us it was an easy choice.
And then… approaching six months of ownership… we have really come to like this vehicle. I think that is largely because we stumbled upon an excellent example. The paint is fantastic, it’s clean inside and out, and it has run absolutely trouble free everywhere it’s gone. Furthermore when I think about what I’d like to replace it with… something boredom always leads to… I am left dumb-founded. It’s perfect for us. Well… I guess a 3.0L Diesel and long travel IRS would make it better… there are lots of things that could make it better, but I am hard pressed to find a better stockish platform.
Being from 1995, it’s a little newer and laden with electronics than I would prefer, but you really can’t look any older, and find something that really compares in other categories. Besides… as product of JEEP, it’s notoriously simply engineered and affordable to maintain. So… if I don’t get carried away and too high on hopes… it’s quite likely that this is a vehicle that we’ll keep for maybe… 3 years? Ha… that would tie my record, so lets not get too carried away. I hope I don’t tag a deer or do something stupid in the woods.
Nothing extreme or even interesting really. For entertainments sake, I want it to be a true go anywhere truck… well.. as go anywhere as any other stock mid size SUV. For normal use, it already is go anywhere, but I had so much fun on my one wheeling experience that I at least want to be able to take it on the easy trails. Seems like a great way for me to maintain my car life, and get out with my family. However… I don’t really want to sacrifice much in terms of normal drivability. Jacked up ride heights perform poorly and are often dangerous on the highway. Massive tires kill fuel economy, and a trashed, mud filled rig isn’t really easy for a wife to enjoy. We have a few places within Canada and the US we would like to visit, and I’d like the ZJ to be the vehicle that can take us there reliably, safely and comfortably. That’s it.
Ideally I add a few small off-road bits, a few small comfort features, drive it everyday and never be done.
Specifications of the Machine