Modern Warfare 3 Jeeps: Trading Real Adventure for Fake War

The new video game-inspired Wrangler is an affront to everything the car used to represent

Jeep Wranglers used to be the sexiest cars on the road—at least, in my humble opinion. Long before SUVs came along with their showy moon roofs and cushy seat heaters, the original boxy, rugged Jeeps were the ultimate all-purpose, manly sort of vehicle that telegraphed two things about its driver: I’m no stranger to adventure and I can haul anything from a both the stack of firewood I just chopped to that leather chair from Crate and Barrel you’ve been eying. Hot.

But now comes news that Jeep Wrangler is releasing a limited edition Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Jeep Wrangler.

What the hell, Jeep?

As a non-gamer, here’s what I know about Modern Warfare 3: It’s one of those uber-realistic virtual war games. It involves things like blood splatters on the screen and shooting people in the head. While one might think that the last decade of actual warfare and bloodshed and devastation might deter the popularity of such pastimes, no, it’s actually the third in a series of games that make up the most popular video game franchise ever with something like 30 million fans and $3 billion in profits.

So while it’s no surprise that a company like Jeep would want to tap into that demo (the Army tie-in must be hard to resist), it is surprising that they’re doing it in such a lame way. The MW3 Jeep Wrangler starts at $36,495, and features MW3 graphics on the fenders, on the spare tire cover and in the cabin; advertisements promise “The Toughest Car in the World. Any World.” (Snicker.) If this Jeep also telegraphs two things about its driver, it’s more along these lines: I’m not stranger to (virtual) adventure and Video games have poisoned my judgment as a consumer.

Because there’s something larger—and weirder—to discuss than the sexiness (or utter and total lack thereof) of this new Jeep, and that’s a thought conveyed in one review I read: “[E]ven if you aren’t a gamer,” the reviewer enthuses, “it looks pretty neat and gives Jeep an alternative environment (apart from mountains and streams) to place the Wrangler.”

Um, guys? We are aware that this “alternative environment” is a fake war zone, right? While I don’t get the appeal of pretending that one’s vehicle is in the midst of human agony and brutality, one thing we all can agree on is that this car is about the fantasy of combat, right? It’s just a giant rolling reference to a macho video game that people play sitting on their couches (not so macho, guys), and that, Jeep Wrangler,  just seems to be an affront to everything you once stood for, at least to me: a certain masculinity, a rugged individualism, the great outdoors, wood-chopping.

It’s a terrible idea on at least one other front: About the last thing we need on the Schuylkill is any more road warriors.