The above list of "Cons" reads like words we'd craft after driving something designed 28 years ago behind the Iron Curtain. You can almost envision whatever vehicle we're talking about in grainy, sepia-toned footage with the occasional photo of Lenin and a ballistic missile parade thrown in for good measure. And yet, the vehicle in question is the 2016 Jeep Wrangler, a true American icon akin to no other. What else can evoke images of Ike driving through the liberated towns of Normandy, and fun-loving youth enjoying the never-ending freedoms of nature? Heck, the word "Freedom" is even plastered on a special-edition package and roof designs.
Yes, it's this iconic imagery and general character that makes the Wrangler so appealing despite its many drawbacks. Besides its styling, it can go places virtually no other factory-built SUV on the road would dare. Its old-school mechanical underpinnings also make it oddly fun to drive on the road simply because nothing steers or behaves in quite the same way (and hasn't in quite a long time). It's also the only convertible SUV presently on sale (let alone a four-door one) and it's definitely the only thing out there that'll let you take off the doors and lower the windshield for those moments when getting smacked in the face by a moth at 45 mph seems like a great idea.
A purple Jeep? Sure, why not. It's available as part of this year's new Backcountry Edition.
Jeep also enjoys a lack of competition. The Nissan Xterra and Toyota FJ Cruiser are no longer on sale, so the number of livable, off-road-ready SUV alternatives that aren't extremely expensive has dwindled to the Toyota 4Runner (still far pricier than the Wrangler) and those within the Jeep brand: the Renegade and Cherokee Trailhawks and the Grand Cherokee. The truth is, all of these boast better crash test scores, more secure handling and braking, quieter and more comfortable interiors, more up-to-date technology features and driving experiences light-years beyond a Soviet taxi's. But only the Wrangler is going to evoke Ike.