Posted on November 29, 2018
Jeep Love and The Road Trip of Your Dreams | Toronto and Mississauga
There’s nothing quite like a very long road trip to deepen your relationship with your vehicle. While you may spend quality time with her buzzing around Toronto, Mississauga and Oakville, that still isn’t a legitimate road trip in my books. When I first told my family that our new Jeep Cherokee was taking us all the way to Mexico, I could see some eyes widening. “That’s…far,” said my stepdad, choking down his obvious urge to beg me not to do that to my mother’s nerves. But anyone who knows me, knows not to bother telling me Don’t. Jeep people like adventure. Solution? Road test our Jeep all the way to southern Mexico.
Believe it or not, I follow my own advice, and so Lupe (her official name is Lupe LaLoba) went in to see the trusty folks at the Ontario Chrysler service department for an on-schedule oil change and overall check-up. Yes, even though she was brand new when we bought her and low on kilometres, we were about to put her through her paces. From Southern Ontario over to visit some pals in California, then over the border at Douglas, Arizona and right on down to Oaxaca. In addition to a roadside flare kit (voice of my dad in my ears), we also packed a brand-new jerry can for emergency fuel, extra windshield washer, headlight-friendly towels (those trusty blue ones), extra water just for Lupe and yes, a quaint paper map in case we lost our signal in the deep desert canyons. Jerry can: still unused. Paper map: never cracked it. The Cherokee comes with a spare tire, jack and appropriate tools for a roadside tire change. We also had a great Roadside Assistance package with our warranty. Not exactly Thelma and Louise, I know. Pretty sure they didn’t travel over that cliff with Rubbermaid totes full of curry powder and art supplies in the back. Storage-wise: two 40something women made a two week-trip with snacks, pet and wardrobe neatly stowed.
The Cherokee did well on some of the less sleek interstate highways, and when we hit Iowa, it was time for some off-the-itinerary adventure. Not because it’s a great state with multiple tracks for off-roading, but because we spotted a sign that mentioned the historic covered bridges of Madison County. Yes, the ones mentioned in the romance novel and movie of the same name. Dirt roads, some of them quite hilly and curvy, took us to see THE bridge. The one where Meryl poses for Clint and chick flick aficionados do not need me to go on. Beautiful back country driving. We made good use of the Selec Terrain option on the sand-put curves and gravel inclines. The same functionality came in handy on Scenic Biway 128 in Utah on a rainy afternoon when some of that crazy-beautiful blood-red earth turned to superthick mud. We did not want to get stuck with our patient Cocker Spaniel in the back seat. Smooth, responsive braking was equally reassuring in Colorado, where we got our first taste of mountain driving.
Comfort-wise, the Cherokee North is dreamy, with nice seats and good shocks. You can find out why good shocks and ground clearance are essential just by googling “tips for driving in Mexico.” The Mexican potholes are legend, but it’s the topes (speedbumps) that can really mess with your holiday if you hit one going too fast. You only hit one before you learn to not do so again, but our Jeep took it pretty well. That’s where I vote SUV over sedan for any kind of road trip, personally. Too low to the ground when you meet a taller-than-you-ever-dreamed-possible speedbump and you can say adios to your suspension.
The dog didn’t have any complaints about leg room in the back seat, but he was asleep for much of the trip, truth be told. (He really did love the Grand Canyon, though, if his constantly wagging tail was any indication as we wandered along the South Rim, a dream come true.) The SIRIUS package that came with the Jeep was pure heaven on those long open stretches with not much to look at. The stereo that comes standard has nice tone and speakers boosted enough to keep the whole family rocking mile after mile. (Or kilometre after kilometre, as we say in Canada and Mexico.) Speaking of kilometres, the 2018 Jeep Cherokee was good on gas. My first car was a Grand Cherokee, and she was a little thirstier, but that was also before technology allowed SUVs to go from guzzler to sipper status. My estimated fuel costs for the trip came in close, with the ups and downs in cost state-to-state and the recent deregulation of fuel prices in Mexico. I wasn’t dreading the trip back home after tallying my receipts, which felt good.
I did have Wrangler envy on the canyon and desert roads, where it felt like every other vehicle was a Rubicon or a Sahara. In canyon country, in mountain-high Colorado, the Wrangler offers a year-round versatility that likely comes in handy. Plus, the Wrangler has an attitude to go with her capability. If I was planning to stick around Ontario for winters, I’d think about a Wrangler, too. (Anyone who feels like buying me one, I’m turning 50 soon…) But the 2018 Cherokee goes hard and she loves to ride for long stretches, and she passed her road test long-haul to Mexico very nicely indeed. I think we’ll bring her back again next year. Unless I find this in my driveway with a ribbon on it. Till then, I’ll be practicing my automotive Spanish so I can bring Lupe to the Jeep service centre in Oaxaca to make sure she enjoys her ride home just as much as she did her trip south. Taking care of your vehicle is important, can’t stress it enough.
Where can I buy a Jeep Cherokee or Jeep Wrangler in Mississauga?
Where is Ontario Chrysler located?
Ontario Chrysler is located at 5280 Dixie Road in Mississauga, Ontario.