I just wanted to explain myself in regards to the JK, or more specifically, the JK Unlimited. I am in no way a hater (from other posts, some might think I am). In fact, the more I see the JK, the more it is growing on me. I have a problem though with the 4door, as well as some of the features and changes made to it (power windows/door locks, 2 wheel drive, smoother ride, etc.).
I would be willing to bet that if 10 years ago you asked Jeep enthusiasts what they thought about Wrangler making a 4door with power options and 2 wheel drive, most would have laughed in your face. With that in mind, let me ask you now, what do you think about Wrangler having seating for 7 and 4 wheel independent suspension with 4 wheel drive as an EXTRA option as well as a nonremovable top but now it is electric (convertable)? Sound crazy? Maybe. I know there is a market for family/soccer-mom SUV's. Most people can't even drive to the end of their own street without seeing several of them. In the 17 years I have been driving, I have owned 13 vehicles, 2 of which were actually cars. The rest, SUV's. I like them and what they have to offer, just like everyone else who buys them. My wife is a soccer-mom, but she drives an Explorer. She is looking at the Commander right now to trade with, but she is not interested in the JK Unlimited. She, like me, does not want to support Jeep going in that direction. By that, I mean this...there is obviously a market for the family/soccer-mom SUV. Heck, I am in that marketing group myself. But the fact that Jeep does make 4 other models that fill those requirements, I don't think that the JK should also. Commments have been made about solid front axle, convertable, and so on, so yes, the JK offers different features that Jeep's other models don't, but so what. With the excpetion of the convertable part, what percentage of the buying population of the JK Unlimited do think is actually going to put all of it's off-road or different features to use? To me, it seems like the H2 problem. Although I am sure the H2 is capable off road (not like a Jeep though
), not too many people, from what I have seen, are taking their $60K+ rig to the trails. To expensive and not really intended for that kind of use and treatment. Not like its predicessor that was designed more with off-road use in mind. It's more of the "X-factor" of "look what I drive", "I'm cool". It, like other SUV's, do however, have the room, egress, power immenaties, and what not, to make them the perfect family/soccer-mom SUV.
So rather than reading what I write and instantly thinking "hater", no, I am not a hater. I am and will be a die hard Jeeper until I die. I am just affraid that Wrangler might be heading in the wrong direction. My fear is that there will be small changes from model to model, and people will say "that is just progress and evolution", until one day it just isn't a Wrangler anymore. Then people will sit back and say "wow, how did this happen?". I do not want to see Jeep making so much money in this new marketing group (new to the Wrangler), that instead of making improvements and advancements toward off-road capability, they are engineering it more towards comfort and sensibility to the everyday DD around town as most all other vehicles already are. I had an uncle who passed away 12 years ago that worked for GM in the engineering department. I remember he once said that auto manufacturers work 5 years out, meaning, that right now, Jeep engineering is working on the 2012 Wrangler model. Wouldn't it be interesting to see what kind of changes they have made to it?
So in closing, I do not hate the JK nor do I oppose progress. I just don't want to see Wrangler get so far away from its' roots that it isn't a Wrangler anymore. Up until this year, most of the changes Jeep has made, from the CJ to the TJ, has been directed towards off-raoding, rugged capability, and their enthuiasts groups, not towards giong to the PTA meeting or the company picnic. I can't help but worry about the great exceptance of the JK Unlimited, and in what direction that will lead Jeep engineering towards. I guess only time will tell. Until then, I suppose we will have to agree to disagree and when we see eachother...