Trucks & SUVs

Consumer Reports Is Sending All Jeeps to Summer School

The Jeep brand we know and love today was basically built on the rude and rugged groundwork set up in the 1940s with the WWII Willys truck. They certainly have changed a great deal from then to the CJ and from the CJ to the Wranglers and Wagoneers and beyond. For all the ways the brand has changed, and new models have come and gone, for the most part, Jeep hasn’t really changed all that much. They may have Bluetooth and leather, but they are still loud, rough, inefficient on fuel, and crude. 

If you look through the Jeep lineup on Consumer Reports, you might think they were some Soviet State brand with the harsh rating and consistently failing grades. So, what’s going on? Why does Consumer Reports keep giving Jeep an F?

Let’s start with the lowest-ranked; Jeep Wrangler

Yep. The 2020 Wrangler is the lowest-ranked out of all the current models. In fact, it is the lowest-rated SUV on CR period. This is, without a doubt, the most iconic and one of the most popular models for the brand and, from 2016 until now, has an overall rating of 26. That is not only an F; that is a super F. That’s that, “I didn’t study at all, showed up late and left early” kind of F. 

2021 Jeep Wrangler Sahara
2021 Jeep Wrangler Sahara | FCA USA

Consumer Reports flunked the Wrangler due to tons of road-noise, rough ride, predicted low reliability, terrible fuel economy, and so on. What’s funny is, although the Wrangler received the worst score of any current SUV, Consumer Reports predicts a really high owner satisfaction. The brand is strong. Jeep people love a Jeep, even if it sucks. 

The better students haven’t come up much: Jeep Gladiator 

The new kid in town is cool and popular but not doing much better with its scores. Although the Jeep Gladiator also flunked and will be joining the wrangler in summer school, it did do better.

RELATED: Jeep Got the 2020 Gladiator Wrong

Consumer Reports gave the Gladiator a 46 overall rating. It failed in many of the same ways as the Wrangler, which should come as no surprise, but it pulled ahead in handling performance. The braking and steering are tighter and more precise, with the Jeep pickup gaining a few extra points with CR.

The other Jeeps that regular people buy

The non-Wrangler-based SUVs from Jeep, like the Compass, get higher ratings across the board, earning it a 51. What makes these more pedestrian Jeeps interesting is that they are, for the most part, better and more equipped SUVs, yet CR predicts abysmal consumer satisfaction. What CR is saying is that the Wrangler and Gladiator can be objectively worse, and people will like them more. Checks out.

The summer school roster grows 

Like I said earlier, every current Jeep model has failed CR’s testing except for one. The Cherokee, Compass, Renegade, Wrangler, and Gladiator all fail for the same reasons. Some level of loudness, rough ride, middling equipment, poor fuel economy, and general lack of refinement plagues the lineup.

The only model that will get to enjoy their summer is the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which scored a 70. CR found that the Grand Cherokee is way more comfortable and well-equipped than the rest of the line. The Grand Cherokee only really struggles with fuel economy and predicted reliability. 

Jeep is a funny company that doesn’t really make sense. Wranglers are one of the best off-roaders ever made but are basically terrible at everything else, but no one cares. All Jeeps have to do is be Jeeps, and enough people will enjoy driving them to make their faults not matter.