This Thing is Terrible - 2012 Jeep Wrangler Long-Term Road Test

2012 Jeep Wrangler Long Term Road Test

2012 Jeep Wrangler: This Thing is Terrible

September 22, 2011


The Jeep Wrangler is quite possibly the worst form of automotive transportation you can buy. Let's run down the list of reasons, shall we? Take a deep breath ... and go. It can be broken into by undoing a zipper. The wind noise is excessive. You don't raise the roof as much as painstakingly reconstruct it. Our Wrangler has no power windows, locks or doors. You can remove the doors, which don't provide crash protection any way. The trunk is so small you can't even fit the roof's back window in it. The back seat legroom stinks. It has the aerodynamic profile of the Parthenon (good one Jay). Not only is there no dead pedal, there's no where left of the clutch to put your foot at all -- just wall. Steering is vague, handling a touch scary, the ride choppy. I'm probably missing stuff.

And yet, it's been a tough task to pry the Wrangler's key out of my hand.

Sure, I was writing the introduction for the Wrangler, but I kept coming back to it once my assignment was complete. Despite its absurd number of faults, I just love this thing. There is just such an old-school connection with it that is so hard to find these days. I don't even mind driving it in traffic despite its manual transmission and lack of creature comforts.

The Wrangler is making me realize more than ever that my favorite cars are those that are unapologetically honest. It knows what it is, it's upfront with its faults, and if you don't like it, well, buy something else. It may technically be the worst form of automotive transportation when compared to everything else, but it was intended to be that way. It's not like the Jeep Compass, which is bad because it's badly executed. The Wrangler can't be everything to everyone, and that's fine. BMWs of old used to be like this, but aren't any more. Pretty sure that's the reason my fondness for that brand has rapidly waned. Appealing to everyone may get you sales in the short-term, but you'll never grasp onto those lifelong fans by establishing an emotional connection.  

With the Wrangler, all you have is an emotion connection because you're certainly not thinking with your head. You can stuff the Wrangler full of a whole host of items to make it more civilized (we didn't), but most of the above faults still remain. And really, those faults are part of the charm. As Magrath said with a fond smile on his face, "It's a really fun piece of crap."

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 808 miles

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