I’m ashamed to own a Jeep Wrangler 4xe
By Kirk Deeter
As an owner of a Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid, I’m disgusted, disappointed and disheartened. Oh, the vehicle itself is alright, I guess. I like my dealership and the service department there also.
My problem is that the parent company is apparently so disconnected from the outdoors and what outdoorsy people really do, what they appreciate, and what infuriates them, that Jeep continues to run ad campaigns with their vehicles plowing through rivers. Anybody who fishes, or kayaks, or canoes, or just plain appreciates clean rivers, wouldn’t think to do something so harmful to a river.
I had a good friend send me this latest example, a Jeep clearly plowing straight upstream through the middle of a river, and I was aghast to realize I had bought a similar version of that vehicle a year and a half ago. After all the 4xe is supposed to be friendlier to the environment!
And to a certain degree it is. Here’s my (mostly positive) experience with the 4xe: The electric range is really about 23 miles, and almost nothing at all in very cold temperatures, which isn’t much, unless you do 90 percent of your driving in a 10 mile radius (which I do). So I consider my Jeep a glorified golf cart as a grocery getter, for running about town, etc., and that’s all I need. Ninety percent of my driving is now electric, and I feel good about that.
At long range, it reverts to a 4-cylinder gas engine with surprisingly little pep considering it gets (in my case) about 14 miles to the gallon. In hybrid mode, it does its best, optimizing fuel efficiency. And it’s a real Jeep in terms of suspension and 4-wheel capability… in bad weather or on approved roads and trails! I love how it pulls a drift boat (right to the ramp at river’s edge) and I especially like having the option of cranking the motor in remote locations—I’m not ready to trust a full-on EV out in the middle of nowhere.
I came to think of my Jeep 4xe as a “Jeep with a conscience.”
And then I see this. And it makes me wonder if that conscience really exists, or if I’m just a sucker.
Jeep isn’t the only company to run vehicles through rivers, but it does seem to be one of the few repeat offenders that hasn’t learned or listened. Trout Unlimited reached out to Jeep on this issue several years ago, obviously to no avail.
Conversely, I called out Ford for running its new Bronco through rivers a few years back, and within days I got a response vowing to amend the campaign. What’s more, these days Ford Bronco, as a brand, is doing some very cool things with the fishing community and has engaged fishing ambassadors to help their efforts. Anyone who knows fly fishing and Ford knows that there’s genuine personal passion for fly fishing in that company, starting at the top. The fly-fishing community recognizes and appreciates that.
Nissan made the same river plowing mistake a few years back. TU CEO Chris Wood called the company out, Nissan apologized, and wrote a check that got used to fix rivers. Good stuff.
Where Jeep goes next is obviously up to the company. The fly-fishing industry should speak up.
Is my Jeep for sale? Nah… I’ll see what happens going forward. But my brand allegiance is certainly up for grabs, and it’s not going to be won by a company that makes ads with vehicles plowing through rivers.