Ford has solely simply waded again into the 4×4 SUV pond with the introduction of the revived Bronco, but 2021 has already turn into a yr of aggressive escalation. Even earlier than Bronco formally went into manufacturing, Jeep answered again with the V8-powered Rubicon 392 and the plug-in hybrid 4xe. After which, simply as Bronco’s new Sasquatch package deal was about assert its dominance, Jeep introduced its personal 35-inch tire package deal, parrying Ford’s try at one-upmanship.
That package deal leads to the 2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Xtreme Recon. Jeep really made it accessible on the Rubicon and Rubicon 392 for the very finish of 2021 mannequin yr manufacturing, however examples have been skinny on the bottom. Lo and behold, Jeep introduced some alongside to a media occasion throughout which it was introduced that the package deal may even be provided on the Wrangler Willys for 2022.
Along with 35-inch BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrain Tires (LT315/70R17C) on bead-lock prepared 17-inch wheels, the Xtreme Recon package deal provides a brand new 4.56:1 axle ratio and a manufacturing facility 1.5-inch raise with new shocks tuned for the job. The overall raise is definitely extra like 2.0 inches over the usual Rubicon for the reason that tires themselves contribute a bit to the Wrangler’s experience peak. Jeep additionally matches the Xtreme Recons with strengthened tailgate swing-arms to assist forestall fatigue from the heavier spare.
The additional floor clearance interprets to what are, a minimum of for the second, best-in-class figures for strategy angle (47.4 levels), breakover angle (26.7 levels), departure angle (40.4 levels), floor clearance (12.9 inches) and water fording (33.6 inches). And so they had the decency to ask us to an off-road park to indicate it off.
Jeep’s occasion got here forward of Detroit 4Fest, which took over Holly Oaks ORV Park in southeast Michigan Sept. 25-26 – the identical week that noticed Motor Bella’s second preview day canceled because of flooding. The monsoonal September continued to reshape the park at the same time as we ventured into it; to say issues had been a bit sloppy could be an understatement.
The grime at Holly Oaks is the kind of high-quality, dusty cast-off that turns instantly into sloppy potter’s clay when you a lot as spit in it. After the 5-plus inches of rain, the property appears to be like like one big bowl of half-melted chocolate ice cream. KO2s on the corners or not, mud is difficult for road vans, and Jeep mapped out a sequence of checks designed to present us a really feel for the additional raise and massive tires with out concern that we’d spend half the time testing the tow hooks.
The already-battered hills took a mighty pounding from our workforce of Rubicons and Rubicon 392s. We selected the previous, and had been grateful for it, because the lighter nostril trivialized some mushy slopes that gave manner beneath the heavier V8-powered vans. A Rubicon 4xe that got here alongside as a help automobile additionally fell sufferer to its additional mass, bogging down in a fender-height puddle beneath which lurked the kind of muck that may enthusiastically dislodge a fight boot.
The Xtreme Recon’s added floor clearance trivializes plenty of floor obstacles, however the added peak comes at a price. The massive tires can’t swing so far as the smaller, skinnier choices on different Rubicons, and the added resistance from the broader rubber interprets to additional heft within the wheel, particularly when going full-lock in tight areas. Jeep doesn’t name out the Xtreme Recon’s turning diameter particularly within the Wrangler’s tech specs, however we’d wager good cash it’s a bit of bit bigger. That is exacerbated in 4WD, the place drivetrain binding makes tight maneuvering tough, particularly in a long-wheelbase Limitless. In consequence, Jeep’s segment-besting figures do want the tiniest asterisk.
And spectacular because the Xtreme Recons could also be, they require you to buy a four-door. Ford sellers will gladly promote you a Sasquatch-package two-door Bronco (supplied you’re cool with spending $20,000 over sticker for a automotive that already has a number of thousand of any person else’s miles on it) and whereas the Rubicon Limitless Xtreme Recon could have the sting on paper, we’d most likely commerce its loft for the Bronco’s smaller footprint. Jeep might resolve this simply by providing Xtreme Recon on its two-doors, and if sufficient clients ask, we’re assured it can occur.
No matter which automobile you add it to (Rubi, Rubi 392 or Willys), it’s a $3,995 choice. A Willys with solely Xtreme Recon begins at $40,930 (together with $1,495 for vacation spot). That places 35-inch tires in attain of a few of Jeep’s extra frugal clients, definitely, however not like Ford’s Sasquatch package deal, Xtreme Recon doesn’t embrace locking differentials. They’re normal on the Rubicons, after all, however not accessible on the Willys, at the same time as an choice. For the devoted off-roader, that makes a two-door Sasquatch a significantly better purchase at its sticker worth of $37,380. Pfft. Good luck with that.
Our time with the Xtreme Recon was quick and we had been unable to pattern it on the road, the place we anticipate its shortcomings can be much more pronounced, however for many who need off-road superiority (or a minimum of the look of it) with out sacrificing a guaranty, it’s not a horrible deal.