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The Case For Edmunds' Parody-DocuDrama Review

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On: Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 5:26PM | By: Chris Salamone

The Case For Edmunds' Parody-DocuDrama Review

“Finding water is the first priority when trying to survive in the desert, but nature provides everything you need… if you know where to find it,” said Mike Monticello from Edmunds.com as he pulled open a seemingly abandoned Jeep Wrangler’s trunk hatch filled with water and Doritos. When trying to escape the wilderness, sometimes you get lucky and find civilization. Other times, a fellow adventurer saves you from disaster. And other, less frequent, times you find a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara stocked with delicious snacks and a handy set of keys—just waiting for a quick test review.

It just so happens that Road Test Editor Mike Monticello found himself without a functioning vehicle after several days in the Mojave Desert. To make matters worse, he was completely out of food, tired, and could self-rescue only on foot. And then, seemingly without warning, he stumbled upon Option 3.

Now that self-rescue would be practically guaranteed, he had plenty of time for an engaging dialogue on the 2012 Wrangler’s new transmission and Pentastar engine. After a string of compliments, labeling this latest Jeep as one step closer to mainstream, one downside topped off what was otherwise an enthusiastically positive review: the cost of progress. The tester vehicle, a three-piece hardtop Unlimited Sahara, cost a mind-boggling $37,000. And, after a price of nearly $40,000 the reviewer experienced an average of 16.7 mpg over two full weeks of driving.

Aside from the shock and awe of price increases, the 2012 Wrangler looks to be the right combination of off-road prowess and on-road improvements. Every once in a while a new car deserves the kind of time and effort that went into Edmunds’ survival parody review. Aside from the Fast and Furious franchise and TopGear, gone are the days when an entire film or TV show would exist for the sole purpose of fluffing up the latest auto innovations. But this review gives us hope. Hope that straight test videos and reviews don’t have to be black and white, bare except for the glossy hue of strict professionalism. Reviews can also be dirty, exciting, and perhaps a bit exaggerated.

People understand a pseudo-docudrama Wrangler review might not be as objective as a strict specs analysis. However, day-to-day practicality has nothing to do Jeep Wranglers… and that’s why we love them. This review expresses that sentiment, our obsession with entertainment, and perhaps grandeur—both characteristics of the open (and off) road.

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