I have owned a BMW 325xi compact car, a Volvo C70 convertible, an Acura RL 3.0 sedan, an Infiniti FX35 crossover, and am currently driving a BMW X5 sport utility vehicle. However, my favorite car of any car I’ve ever driven was a 1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport. I’m not sure if it is nostalgia, or was really a great car, but that car remains ingrained in my memory as my favorite. I was vastly disappointed when they discontinued the body style, as I would probably still be driving them today if they had not.
My dark blue Jeep was my first car. That car had unique style, and was a rock on the road. I never felt unsafe. It never needed work or maintenance. The interior was sturdy and well appointed. I remember when my friends were busy spinning in the parking lot on ice as they learned to drive, I was stable, and blasted through snow without a thought.
After I drove that car for a couple of years, it was time to pass it on to my brother, to be his first car. At the time, I didn’t realize how much I had really loved that vehicle. I didn’t realize that I would never re-capture the sincere satisfaction I had when driving a car with any subsequent car I would own. But nevertheless, my heart broke a bit when my brother was hit in an accident and my car was totaled. My brother was fine, safe, and sound. My Jeep wasn’t so lucky.
The funny part to me was that my brother had the same love for that car. He replaced it with a near exact replica dark blue Jeep Cherokee. He still has that car today, nearly 13 years later.
I’ve sampled the other Jeeps. I’ve test driven a Grand Cherokee, which drives like a sedan. I’ve driven a Jeep Wrangler, which drives like a pickup truck. They are great cars, but just don’t suit me like the Cherokee did.
I suspect I will continue searching for another car that brings me that same sense of freedom for many years. In closing I’d like to share a few tidbits and favorite memories I have of being 16, and driving the best car I’ve ever owned.
One icy morning, I was late for school. My Jeep was covered in snow, and I didn’t have time to clear it off or let it melt. I brushed off as much of the windshield as I could, rolled all the windows down, blasted the heater, put the car in 4 wheel drive and got myself to school. That Jeep was fierce in the snow.
On a cool fall evening, I remember rolling the windows down and letting the fresh air keep me cool while I sang along to the radio. There is something about today’s aerodynamic cars that makes it difficult to drive with the windows down. It seems like the wind whips right in the sides. However, in my Jeep, that flat windshield broke the wind and blasted it out from the car. So all you felt inside was a gentle breeze.
It may not have been sensible, fuel efficient, or modern, but that Jeep Cherokee made me feel free. I hope everyone has the opportunity to own a car that makes them feel that way.