An honest review of adventure-worthy cars by a non-car enthusiast and a tiny dinosaur.

Although the vast majority of my favourite adventures don’t involve cars at all, their remote locations make driving a prior necessity. It’s not that I don’t like driving (I actually quite like it), it just doesn’t really go well with the pursuit of nature in my opinion. However, since we have established that driving is necessary for getting to adventure locations, many of which involve rough, winding roads and extreme weather, it seems appropriate to share some of my favourite vehicles from my driving history.

I was very clear in the title that I am not a car enthusiast. I don’t care about engines. I know how to do routine checks and change oil and that’s the extent of my interest. With that in mind, the following cars will be rated according to four categories:
1. Quirk (is it so awesome that it turns heads?)
2. Cost (is it expensive to run?)
3. Versatility (will it take me anywhere or only on paved roads?)
4. D’mitry Stamp of Approval (is there space for a little T-rex?)

 

  1. Mazda Eunos 500

This was my first car and I thought it was cool because none of my friends had a sunroof, but I did. A mentor recommended Mazda to me after having a very reliable one for around 10 years. Have to say, she was right about its reliability. That is, until a week after I sold it and the transmission blew up. But having said that, it was a very old car. This is also the car I owned when I found D’mitry.

Quirk: 1/5
It had a sunroof. That’s about it. Also it had no cup holders, which ruined everything.

Cost: 2.5/5
Meh.

Versatility: 2/5
It was pretty much a city car.

D’mitry Stamp of Approval: 1/5
Nowhere for a tiny T-rex to sit.

2. Jeep Grand Cherokee
This thing felt like a beast. It could go anywhere and double as a place to sleep when you got there. This was my first car after moving to Canada and I took D’mitry everywhere in it. That is, until it started breaking down. We had a great run, and then the combined cost of repairs and fuel determined that the Jeep had to go.

Quirk: 1/5
Many people own this exact model.

Cost: 0/5
4×4 V8 SUV is never going to be fuel efficient. And it certainly wasn’t.

Versatility: 5/5
This car could practically climb walls and fight bears.

D’mitry Stamp of Approval: 4/5
Many adventures were had in this car, and it had a little dish near the handbrake that was the perfect size for D’mitry.

3. Subaru Legacy
My current car. It’s smooth, comfortable and sounds impressive, plus it goes everywhere I want to. It’s perfect for snow driving and we all know how I feel about all things mountain, plus skiing is life. It’s also manual, which is my preference, although it is silver and that is probably my least favourite car colour.

Quirk: 2.5/5
I’m told it’s an impressive model. I guess I believe it.

Cost: 3/5
The reason this doesn’t score higher is because it takes premium. Having said that, it is still cheaper to run than the Jeep.

Versatility: 4.5/5
It isn’t as tough as the Jeep, but I’m not really into 4×4 and it takes me everywhere I want to go.

D’mitry Stamp of Approval: 4/5
No practical seat for D’mitry, but it’s already taken us on a handful of ski days so it’s promising for adventures.

4. Dad’s Land Rover Freelander
The car Land Rover fans buy when they can’t afford a Range Rover. It has awesome speakers (not even added after purchase) and lots of terrain settings, most of which I didn’t understand and never used. I took this car on a few ski trips and camping trips and enjoyed its comfort and versatility.

Quirk: 2.5/5
Meh.

Cost: 2/5
Meh. It was a diesel so it’s not all bad.

Versatility: 5/5
Lots of settings and pretty tough. I don’t know how it goes for 4×4, but I also don’t care.

D’mitry Stamp of Approval: 4/5
Good place to sit for a little dinosaur and plush leather seats.

5. ……….Wait for it. 

Definitely the greatest car ever built. 

Suzuki Jimny. *cheers*
Hands down the greatest. It’s tough. It’s adorable. It’s incredibly versatile. It looks like an old style Jeep shrunk down to a small woman (i.e. me) size. Featuring no carpet so your wet clothes won’t make a mess after kayaking, roof racks for carrying all the gear that won’t fit inside after you cram all your friends in there, no power steering so you really feel the road and a clutch that squeaks in rainy weather. It has full 4×4 capability and handles brilliantly in the snow and on windy, rough roads. Plus, they’re pretty rare. It honestly broke my heart when I had to sell this little box of awesome. But I was moving to the other side of world and couldn’t take it with me. I left a little piece of my heart in that car.

Quirk: Through the roof.
Not only would people stop and stare, but I would from time to time too, and I owned the car. It’s just so cute and tough at the same time.

Cost: 5/5
Super fuel efficient and cheap to fix… that is when it actually needs fixing. It was definitely the most reliable car I’ve ever owned.

Versatility: 5/5
It went everywhere and beyond because of its 4×4 and lightweight frame.

D’mitry Stamp of Approval: 5/5
A comfortable hidey hole for D’mitry. Fun, bouncy drives throughout the state. Ability to drive up mountains, along beaches, over rocks and wherever you want, albeit slowly. Best car ever.

I understand this is not an unbiased review. I don’t care. Many people dislike Jimnys because they are slow or because they don’t have power steering or air bags (prior to 2000). Still don’t care. My old roommate hated that car because he was super tall and it is tiny. Again, don’t care.

Please keep in mind that this review is everything it claimed to be: honest, about cars and written by someone who doesn’t care about cars with her little tiny dinosaur.

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