I’ve been pretty much motorcycle only for the last 6 years, except for a cheap used car that sits around for grocery runs and the occasional cargo run. (hey, it passes emissions, and gets from A to B) In the last year or two, I’ve felt myself degrading physically. I guess some would call it aging, but I’ll stick with degrading 😉 I’ve decided it’s time to partially migrate to the world of “that old man”, and purchase a midsize SUV. I picked up a GMC Jimmy 4×4, which I’ve always been a fan of since they came out. It’s still an older model, as the one I picked up is a 1998 model year. However, it’s in good condition and only has 147,000 miles on it.
I have to say, this is the first time I’ve driven a Jimmy, but I’m impressed by the sure-footed feel of the suspension and steering. The lean is very minimal, which seemed like a problem with SUVs in the 90’s. So far I only have 2 gripes about it. One is the pedal placement, where the gas pedal is much closer to the floorboard than the gas pedal which makes it impossible to ever use my left leg on the gas. Remember my prosthesis 😉 The closeness to the floorboard also means that the seat needs to be way up, for me. Most people can flex their foot to use the gas, I have to flex my leg. I’ve gotten good at double-footing the pedals, almost naturally.
The second thing is the ventilation system not having a selection for recirculation or fresh air. The engineering I can understand: If you have an SUV that has a rear window, if it’s popped open just a bit there will be a collection of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the exhaust within the truck and the mandatory fresh air will evacuate the compartment. BUT still… it was 31 degrees Fahrenheit this morning.
One reason I went with a midsize SUV is because of the towing/hauling capabilities. I’m a single guy with motorcycles that go to the shop. The downside of motorcycles is the shops expect them to be “recreational” vehicles and they can stay for a day or so. Now, with the addition of a motorcycle carrier on the hitch, I can haul one of my bikes to the shop and make it home without aligning the goddamned stars to get a ride back home.
Second reason is camping and nature. It’s hard for me to pack a tent, sleeping bag, and whatever else onto a sportbike or a cruiser. If I do that on a cruiser, that negates any secondary passenger. So now, I can pop tent/luggage/sleeping bag(s)/anything else right into the back compartment, and anyone coming along can sit in the back seat and front passenger. Added pleasure is the elevation of the Jimmy, and the 4×4 Hi/Lo capability, which means anywhere is campable. (it’s 4.3L 6-cylinder, so it’s basically a heavy Jeep Wrangler with about the same fuel economy).
Third reason is the looks and the name. As arrogant as it may be, having GMC on your truck instead of a Chevy or Ford emblem just feels better. I mean, sure.. it’s essentially a Chevy Blazer, but the GM mindset through my life with Chevy has made me sick everytime I’ve seen the logo. At least there’s a little semblance of uniqueness. After all, I have to look at the steering wheel logo whenever I drive, and the last thing I want is to stare at a Chevy logo constantly…
And the forth reason is so I can carry cargo. If I go get something at Ikea/Target/Victoria’s Secret (just kidding), I can safely load it into the back, and not worry.
All in all, I’m happy with my purchase. It’s a ’98, so there are things I’m fixing (new idler arm, hub assembly for the passenger side front wheel, heater core non-functional). Since I’m in a position that I can pamper the vehicle for a while and build it back to perfection, I feel happy.
Now all i need to do is get a winch, a jack, and a shovel and I can go offroading again! I’ve missed my Jeep Wrangler.
After taking care of new tires and steering components, I finally got a chance to take this guy offroad. While at first I was a little “toe in the water”, it had the feel of a king. I felt like where the tire went was holding tight, and the only issues I had was the damned washboard dirt road shaking the hell out of it. I haven’t had the fun of rock climbing or anything else with it, as it’s only an 8.5 inch clearance between the differential & the ground. Once I get a 2-3″ lift and drop some 17 inch tires on, that’ll be different.