Carolina squat, big wheels and skinny tires, Bro Dozer pickup trucks, and Affliction branded clothing are all hallmarks of the basic bro life. I noticed a disturbing trend the other day as I drove around, these same characteristics seem to have worked their way into the Jeep life.
The changes have been coming for awhile.
I have written before about the slow death of the Jeep wave. The influx of new Jeep owners who have bought into the rugged look and customization options of the Wrangler without buying into the Jeep is a lifestyle about the camaraderie that it was founded on. I don’t blame Jeep for this pivot, it’s good business. I also don’t have to like it.
It all started with the JK Unlimited platform. (I refuse to call it a JKU) The increase in practicality made the Wrangler more appealing to families, wives were suddenly OK with husbands buying a Jeep. Then once they saw how fun they were and how practical the four-door Wrangler could be they joined in the fun. This explosion in sales and new owners has been a boon for the aftermarket and certainly has driven Jeep to add new features that would have been unthinkable in the past.
Power windows, heated seats, power-retractable roof, big fancy touch screens, and more are not available in the latest JL Wrangler lineup. Many of the features are ones that I enjoy using and appreciate that they are available.
The flip side of that influx of new owners and requests for amenities is the advent of increased nanny electronics, decisions made for a smoother ride, quieter operation, and better fuel mileage have taken some of the ruggedness out of the Jeep. The current fiasco with manual transmissions not able to handle the power output of a V6 and a possible fix of detuning the power delivery so the clutch won’t overheat! Unthinkable.
Mall crawlers and Bro drivers are the future.
Mall crawlers, styled Jeeps with big rims, thin sidewall tires, and fancy color matched everything have been around for a few years. With the social media more influencers are becoming famous everyday, and this trend is built on over the top style, destruction, and bad decisions.
Some of the most watched videos are YouTube personalities buying brand-new vehicles and destroying them with ridiculous stunts or simply lighting them on fire. Current Jeep trends are no different. I suspect some of the first 392 Rubicons will be treated similarly and people will watch the videos in the millions driving these influencers to do more outrageous stunts.
This shift in Jeep owner is how we ended up finally getting a V8 Wrangler but one that no enthusiast actually wanted. With a 6.4 liter Hemi, full time AWD, and still rocking Dana 44 axles we were hoping for a completely different animal. If you are going to give us a 13 MPG Jeep let’s do it with bigger axles so you can let us use full power from the get go. Give us part-time 4WD for sweet skids and let us buy it in a Sport so everyone can afford one.
The 392 Rubicon will do what it is supposed to do off-road. I am curious how many owners will actually run them off-road and how many will turn them into street machines with gaudy wheels and color matched LED’s. My guess is there will be a few on the used market when Dan and Carol can’t deal with the low MPG the flying brick delivers.
OK Boomer take a nap.
Since I am way too young to be in the actual boomer category I will chalk it up to my Gen X angst. Raised on hair metal and grunge, hipster before hipsters existed, and the bridge from analog to digital I am caught between progress and wanting things to stay simple.
The brim of your hat is to block the sun, your shirt shouldn’t fit like a leotard, and fat sidewall tires are way better looking than low profile mud terrains. Convince me I’m wrong in the comments below.