Jeep has a Mysterious Appeal to the Risk-Averse

Dear Car Talk:

Have I lost my mind? I'm in love with the Jeep Wrangler. It makes no sense -- poor mileage, lousy ratings in the consumer magazines -- and yet it's the car I keep looking at. I've always been so practical getting the most reliable cars. And now I find myself in love with a Jeep. Please help me. -- Kathleen

I think you've just testified to why Jeep is still in business, Kathleen.

You're right. By all objective measures -- unless you're a mountain goat -- the Jeep Wrangler ranks near the bottom. It's practically barbaric. And yet, they can't seem to make Jeeps fast enough.

Jeep owners love that the styling and off-road capability of their cars scream "adventure." And I think your subconscious is telling you that you need more adventure in your life, Kathleen. As you say, you've always played it safe. You've always bought the most practical and sensible cars.

Something inside of you is rebelling. Something inside of you wants to have an unplanned encounter on a dark, lonely road with a mysterious tow truck driver. And your chances of that increase exponentially in a Jeep.

I think you need to buy the Jeep, Kathleen. Maybe it'll be a revelation to you, and you'll wonder why you didn't embrace your riskier side sooner? Maybe you'll be inspired by your Jeep to do more adventurous things, meet new people and explore new places?

Or maybe you'll drive it for a couple of years, get tired of cracking your teeth every time you go over a pothole and go back to a Prius?

But there's only one way to find out. And to be honest, in the big picture of life, this is a relatively low-risk experiment. In the worst-case scenario, if you drive it for a year or two and decide you've had enough, you can always sell it. Like I said, there are lots of people who want these things.

You'll lose a little bit of money, but that's all you'll lose. And that's not so bad. It's not like you're abandoning your family, cashing out your IRA and moving to Peru with your pool boy.

And if you buy a Jeep, you'll learn something about yourself. You'll find out if people who drive Jeeps really are having more fun. Or, if the grass is just less reliable on the other side of the fence. Enjoy, Kathleen.

Todays Car-o-Scope

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