Jeep Defends Wrangler Against Poor Consumer Reports Score
On Tuesday, Consumer Reports published a study on the 20 worst-scoring cars available right now. The list is full of economy cars with middling reputations, like the Smart ForTwo, Chevrolet Spark and outgoing cars like the current Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger. Two Jeeps were on the list as well, and while we could understand the low ranking of the soon-to-be-replaced Jeep Patriot, we’re left scratching our heads at the low score of the iconic Jeep Wrangler. For many Americans, the Wrangler is as much a part of our motoring culture as the Chevrolet Corvette or Ford Mustang. It is a vehicle that can do many things, and is one of the few vehicles out there that is both a 4x4 and a convertible. But that did not stop Consumer Reports from giving the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara an abysmal score of “20 out of 100.” That’s a poor grade, no matter where you go to school. RELATED: 7 Things You Should Know About the 2015 Jeep Renegade
But we have a feeling the problem might be the test, considering how the Wrangler is loved and adored. When asked about this poor score, Ann Smith with Jeep’s media relations, provided an official statement on behalf of the venerable off-road brand (bold emphasized by editor):
“We recognize that many car buyers consult Consumer Reports’ reviews when researching auto purchases, but perhaps the magazine doesn’t give enough weight to the opinions of shoppers and owners.”
The statement continues:
“Our dealers tell us the biggest problem they have selling Wranglers is getting enough supply to meet demand. Jeep Wrangler recorded its best ever global and U.S. sales years in 2013 and has started 2014 strong by setting U.S. sales record for January and February. Consumer Reports’ subscribers even rate the Wrangler higher in owner satisfaction that most other mid-size SUVs. If we designed all our Jeep 4x4s to excel at their road tests, then the SUVs wouldn’t retain the class-leading Jeep capability which is a core part of the brand’s identity and marketplace success.”
PHOTOS: See more images of the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Altitude
According to Jeep, the brand sold 201,565 Wranglers globally in 2013, and sold more than 155,000 Wranglers in the US last year. Those numbers really undercut the significance of the report from CR, which actually does disclaim that some of the vehicles on its list are actually popular vehicles. Thus it acknowledges that the list it compiled is not perfect. Should vehicles like the Toyota FJ Cruiser and Jeep Wrangler be held to the same tests as a Chevy Malibu? We don’t think so. As the statement form Jeep illustrates, vehicles built with off-road capability in mind do not have terrific on-road manners for the exact reason that its mechanicals are designed for the trail.
PHOTOS: See more images of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
We think that a vanilla crossover like a Toyota Highlander should be held to the same standard as a Toyota Camry in many respects. But a true 4x4 stands apart, and being lumped in with the likes of the Scion iQ is a disservice to the contributions to the motoring world of a vehicle that Enzo Ferrari famously called "America's only true sports car."