Life is a compromise.

Everyday we make decisions which take us in one direction, while excluding another. Salad or fries? T-shirt or tie? Hoof it or drive? No matter what we do, compromise is inevitable.

The dictionary further maligns compromise, by characterizing it this way:

-bring into disrepute or danger by indiscreet, foolish, or reckless behavior.
-cause to become vulnerable or function less effectively.”
So far, compromise sounds like something to avoid? But wait.

The Five Percent

If you own a 4WD vehicle, compromise is taken to a whole new level. It’s entire raison d’être is a paradoxical metaphor. We seem to relish the 5% possibility. This is the five percent of the time most of us spend OFF the road. This requires bigger tires. And lift kits. Oops, mud tires. Now armour. Big lights. On Roof racks. Need lockers. And winches. On bumpers.

All of these things add weight, but they do not enhance ON ROAD drive-ability whatsoever.

Look around at the next light. EVERY SINGLE VEHICLE near you is likely seeing better fuel economy, better handling, and better braking. What was it the dictionary said about “foolish..?”


If we are being honest, all of our upgrades turn our vehicles, already compromised for a certain level of offroad-worthiness, into absolute dogs on the road. Is this suddenly a no-brainer? Why even get a 4WD, let alone turn it into something that “functions less effectively”.

Well, compromise by its very nature is a trade-off: giving up something, to gain something else. And when you ask a 4×4 owner, that gain, if only five percent of the time, is worth it, ninety-five times out of a hundred.

We can go places that every other car in that intersection wouldn’t even dream of. Whether it is with three feet of snow sheeting our hood, or a heart-stopping vertical climb on slickrock, these are traverses we could choose , with no shortcuts. No concessions would be necessary to get to that remote campsite, or through that water crossing, or up that snowy mountain pass.

Meanwhile, they’re all driving sedans and minivans, and musn’t venture too far off the blacktop. Oh well. Sometimes life is a compromise.

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  1. Aww man my modified-for-capability off roader is definitely quicker, handles about the same or better, and gets about the same or better MPG than it did two decades ago when new and stock.

    Am I failing at this compromise thing? Dangit! 🙁

    • Why would you DO such things? This is pure insanity.

      I can’t even with you right now.

      (Please share your secret sauce with me.)

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