As mentioned previously, a friend of mine decided to buy a 4-door, 5-speed Sidekick as an off-road toy despite the fact that he couldn’t drive stick and had never driven a car off-road. On Sunday, we hit the local ORV park to see what it could do.
(Disclaimers: I did not drive the vehicle during this test. Also he has done ride-alongs with us and driven 4-wheelers extensively, so not completely inexperienced.)
We arrived at the ORV park a little after 2PM and got a text that the people we were meeting, a friend in his F250, were already out on the river and we should meet them. I parked this Disco in the staging area, hopped in the back of the Sidekick, and away we went.
That is when I realized Brady had no fear and no mechanical sympathy.
I’d be halfway though saying “I wouldn’t go though that” before we were already in whatever rut, puddle, sand trap, or other potential catastrophe.
I also realized that this little Sidekick was a capable little thing!
Despite the driver plunging forward into all manner of off-road nightmare, the Sidekick just kept driving. Sand, mud, deep ruts, brush, and tree lined trails that were barely wider than the car... it just puttered along.
At one point, in jest, F250 guy raidioed that Brady should try one of the steep hills reserved for 4-wheelers and dirt bikes. Brady just went for it.
I’d like to say he made it... but he didn’t. He also didn’t roll it, so there is that. The mud at the base of the hill was too slick for a controlled ascent and he had enough sense to not try and power through with a big run up and too much speed.
Turn around and live to drive another day.
There was also something very liberating about taking out a vehicle that you don’t give a crap about the paint. I’ve taken the Disco on some narrow trails and received plenty of “pinstripes”, but sound of branches marking my car still distresses me. On the Sidekick the paint is already shot, so Brady just crashed through branches, undergrowth, and small trees as needed without so much as a flinch.
... I’m a little envious.
But yeah... super impressed by that little thing, to say the least. Looking forward to taking it out on a real adventure trail and see what’s what.