Have you ever been at a bar with your girl, and she effortlessly gets her pretty ass on those very high bar stools, but for you, it’s an outdoor rock climbing activity to get your short self up there? Worse still, It looks like a team-building exercise when she tries to help you.
You’ve probably not, but I have. A couple of times. And some bar owners have a twisted sense of humour, they purchase the stools that don’t have the bottom support bars. This means there is nothing for you to step on for support as you climb. You look like you are doing fat-blasting jumping exercises as you jump to get onto the stool.
And no, I am not a midget. I am just not very tall. My whole family is just not very tall. With me being the tallest if the women are to take off their heels and we all stand on a levelled ground. I am actually the average height for a munyankole in his “twenty-somethings.”
The frustrating thing about my height is that I am always almost tall enough to do something. I am not short. I am almost short. Consequently, I am almost tall enough to date tall girls. I am almost tall enough to reach the highest shelf in my kitchen. I am almost tall enough to be tall enough.
This explains my intense attraction to very short girls. They give me that Will Smith with Jada Pinkett feel, and I love it. Girls my height or slightly taller make me feel normal. And, it’s hard to pretend you’d defend her in a fight if your girl is slightly taller than you. It sucks. There is always just something lacking.
I was overcome with this familiar feeling about 2 weeks ago when I drove a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee. That feeling that something is lacking. That it’s almost perfect but there is a hint that something major is missing.
This is the first entirely capable off-roader that I’ve driven. And for the test drive, the offroad route deep in my village in Ntungamo was child’s play. We didn’t at any point summon the superiority of its 4 wheel drive system. It was a smooth ride, despite the murram, and the car felt like it was bored as we drove along.
The 4.0 Litre “Power-Tech” Inline Six-Cylinder engine had so much more to give, but I was not asking for it. It was not in the centre of its turf where it would have to deploy all that clever engineering that Jeep has legendarily developed.
The performance was as anticipated. The 4-speed automatic transmission climbed up and down the gears in an unruffled manner. There was hardly any hint that the vehicle was changing gear because the current gear couldn’t manage the terrain. It was all excitingly polished.
More reviews: REVIEWS BY IAN PAUL: 2003 Toyota Vitz
As I drove through the farm, driving through tall grass and doing slight rock climbing, the Jeep remained extremely calm and collected. Being a heavy machine, it remained assuredly firm on the ground despite a few twists and bends that often tilted the car at angles that were supposed to be a little scary. The suspensions held up well and even in the most torturous positions, or bumps, the ride comfort remained unaffected. It is an exceptionally comfortable car.
All this was very impressive as compared to my mother’s Rav4 that although it conquers the same course with ease, there are a few moments where you feel like it’s actually putting in work. The Jeep was crossed legged on a hammock sipping a Margarita throughout the course.
How easy it tackled this course made me realize where that feeling that something was lacking was coming from; I was driving one of the greatest off-roaders from the 90s, I expected it to pack unbelievable power but here it was behaving really civilized. The feeling was coming from the fact that I was not tasking it in an environment that required it to perform and show off that offroad supremacy.
It also felt like you need to really push it to get an excited rush while behind it’s very massive steering wheel. I am not patient, I found this rather annoying.
The downside would be; being a massive 4X4, the acceleration was not as prompt as the last car I’d been driving – a 1998 Toyota Altezza. To compare even further, it is not as prompt as many of the cars I’ve driven and reviewed on these pages. To its defence, one could say, it’s a heavy off-roader with a lot of weight to move around as it accelerates.
Driving it 20 years since it was manufactured, the interior is obviously an antique. It has aged and not aged well. Despite the leather seats and very many other things (massive cup holders) that were supposed to be clever and timeless, it feels really old and outdated. The buttons and nobs are truly timeworn, and you cannot escape the obvious feeling that you are driving around in a museum.
All factors considered, It is a very capable car that performs very impressively even now in 2018. And for anyone looking for an affordable off-roader that will luxuriously do school and supermarket runs, but also be able to handle the “bad” road to your village, this is very recommendable value for your money.
Author: Ian Paul Byamugisha
Ian Paul Byamugisha is a writer/author/novelist and car journalist. As a writer for Newslibre, he writes car reviews, cars news, tech news and anything that one might find interesting to read. Currently working on a spy novel collection titled “Arthur Vintage.”