Eric Mayne's Blog

Why Do 4x4s Make Us Lose Our Minds?


In the spring a driving enthusiast's fancy turns to mud. Because there's lots of it around.

But don't go down that road.

You know the one. It's carved with glistening, hub-deep ruts the color of Satan's soul.

However, when you're behind the wheel of a 4x4, it invites the devil on your left shoulder to whisper: "C'mon, you can make it."

We all know what happens next.

Then the angel on your other shoulder shakes her head and wonders aloud, "What were you thinking?"

Here's a better question: Why do 4x4s make us lose our minds?

I once buried a Land Rover LR4 where no tow-truck driver would follow. (Think about that. Tow-truck drivers are the Navy Seals of America's highways. So when they show fear, you're in serious trouble.)

"Any ideas how I might get out of there?" I asked Bubba.

His answer: "Know anybody with a Jeep?"

So I borrowed my neighbor's aging YJ and yanked the pricier Land Rover back to civilization.

But I am no wiser today. It only whetted my appetite for more soggy adventures.

Because 4-wheel drive compels. It deludes. It triggers the kind of bravado that inspires mousey IT types to walk on hot coals during weekend self-awareness retreats.

As spring arrives in North America, don't be surprised to see some suit surveying his muck-bound G-Class, or a soccer mom stranded in her Sequoia.

Among '10-model light trucks, nearly 64% of imported models and just over 48% of domestics were equipped with 4-wheel drive, according to Ward's data.

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