As four-wheel drives have taken a turn for the luxurious, the Jeep Wrangler stands tall as a capable, old fashioned off-roader. The regular Rubicon will already go anywhere, but some hardcore enthusiasts want more than just regular – they want to know no road, rock or rut will be able to stop them. The new Wrangler Rubicon Recon aims to cater for these people.
Most of the major changes come under the skin of the Recon, where Jeep has spent its time taking a tough underbody and making it properly bombproof. The front axle has been upgraded with strengthened tubes and heavy-duty end forgings, while the differentials at both ends have been covered with cast heavy-duty covers. Gone are the standard rock rails and in their place is a shorter set, designed to leave room for the gigantic off-road tires.
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Although it's fitted with the same part-time four-wheel drive as the regular Rubicon, the Recon runs with a 4.10 ratio on both axles, while Tru-Lok locking differentials are standard as well. Fitted with the six-speed manual gearbox, the car has a crawl ratio of 73.1:1 for easy rock-crawling.
As is standard for its special editions, Jeep has given the Recon Edition some unique exterior touches and a fresh interior trim. The car sits on a half-inch lift kit, and the new 17-inch aluminum wheels are wrapped in 32-inch BF Goodrich rubber. Gone is the standard front bumper, and in its place is a winch-ready unit with removable end caps. There are also exposed red tow hooks, just in case the off-road upgrades can't keep you from getting stuck. While these touches will be obvious to those who frequent the Jeep Easter Safari, they're unlikely to make the Recon an instantly recognizable hit among the masses.
Inside, the Recon is fitted with leather seats, an eight-speaker audio system, black leather seats and contrast stitching. Red accents on the doors, seatbelts and door pockets, are also standard, but keen off-roaders will be more interested in the new electronic gauge cluster which can be customized to give information about coolant temperatures, speed or individual tire pressures – all of which are useful when you're crawling over rocks, deep in the wilderness. Less useful is the dashboard plaque, which gives a brief rundown of the upgrades fitted to the car.
Pricing for the Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition starts at US$39,145 for the two-door, and US$42,945 for the four-door version. It will be on sale later in February.
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