It’s pretty obvious to those that know me that I’m a Jeep enthusiast. For those that don’t know me, here’s just a quick explanation. The basis of all my auto knowledge comes from the old CJs by brothers had and would wrench on every other night. My very first car was a sweet little TJ with some 31” BFG’s thrown on. I convinced my sisters to buy a black TJ and my friend to buy a YJ. I currently own an old CJ2A flattie and dream of someday owning a Rubi JK with the Pentastar powerplant.
I’d say that I fit solidly into the ‘enthusiast’ catagory. As a Jeep enthusiast, going onto the Jeep homepage and seeing the above image (the first Jeep lineup pic specifically), my heart just sinks.Sure the Wrangler looks good (damn good, actually) but just look at the cars surrounding it. … What the hell, Jeep?
Everyone knows what happened when Chrysler designers took the CJ and threw square lights on it. If you don’t know, in short, every Jeep lover shat a giant brick. Since prying Jeep from AMC’s cold, dead hands in ‘86, Chrysler has had its hands tied with their design freedom when it comes to the Wrangler. There is a basic equation that they must follow or they will get their heads chopped off by their faithful. Jeep understands this and for this reason, they have been good to their customers, constantly giving them what they way in the Wrangler. The intensity of the Jeep community is the reason the Wrangler has been and will be Jeep’s hot seller for years to come.
The second-best seller in the lineup is the Grand Cherokee. Admittedly, I quite like the Grand. Sure, it doesn’t have the greatest history, but their new redesign (and honestly, their ad campaigns for it) totally sold me. This is the only other car in the line-up that I will give the nod to.
These two cars aside, the rest of the cars are just hands down hideous. The Cherokee looks like a Japanese-styled car gone terribly wrong and the Patriot looks like that one really ugly, runt puppy you get in every litter that also happens to have down syndrome. That car went full retard and everyone knows you never go full retard.
Now, the Compass redesign greatly improved the look of the car. Unfortunately that’s not saying much considering the original Compass was literally a tampon on wheels (only the bold click on a hyperlinked set of words like that). In the top photo, the car does look like it could be a potential blood-catcher, but with the altitude package (the second photo where Jeep is trying really, really hard to make their cars look cool) I’d give it a pass on the not-being-a-total-garden-muncher test (time to tone down the vulgarity, me thinks). That being said, it’s nothing spectacular.
Basically, anytime the Jeep designers are given a little freedom with their design efforts, they almost always fail magnificently. I have to admit the new Renegade isn’t absolutely awful, yet, at the same time it is. It looks like Jeep’s version of the Scion XB or the Honda Element. Two cars which are super uncool.
I’ve come to the conclusion, and I hope Jeep eventually does too, that there needs to be a purging in the Jeep design department. Perhaps some more mature designers is what we need.