Jeep recently loaned us a 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition 4×4 for a weeklong evaluation in and around Austin Texas. Our Recon came in Gobi (like a desert sand) that nicely concealed the dust and dirt of the back roads and trails around Lake Travis.
During the week we found – had we been Christmas tree hunting – our Rubicon Recon would have easily taken us into the outback where the tall pine trees grow to cut one or just across town to the local lot to buy one. Sporting the hard-top option, easily able to carry the tree home from where ever it came from.
At weeks end, we see the Rubicon Recon Edition as a very complete production Jeep package choice for the urban Jeep aficionado who wants to look really ‘off-road’ good around town knowing they can also tackle the outback confidently or the off-road purist whose priority is rugged outback adventuring – but also needs their Jeep to be a good daily driver as well.
Wrangler Rubicon Basic
The 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4×4 (MSRP $33,645) – seating four comfortably – comes more than well equipped as an outback adventurer loaded with Jeep DNA that can also serve as the daily driver.
The heart and soul of every Jeep Wrangler – and Rubicon in particular – is the rugged power plant, drive train and running gear integrated with the sturdiest body-on-frame off-road platform in its segment.
The 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is powered by the durable 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine that produces 285 horsepower with 260 lb.-ft. of torque and delivers it via a six-speed manual (standard) or five speed automatic transmission to the road. For the off-road, it is equipped with the Rock-Trac part-time shift-on-the-fly transfer case with 2WD High, 4WD High and 4WD Low. Axles are Next Generation Dana 44 front and rear with Tru-Lock electronic locking.
The suspension set-up is live axle, link coil with stabilizer bar and Electronic Sway-Bar Disconnect up front. Rear is also live axle and fixed stabilizer bar with monotube high-pressure gas-charged shock absorbers front and rear.
For off-road navigation, the Rubicon has 10-inch ground clearance with steel skid plates under the transfer case and fuel tank for protection. Approach, Breakover and Departure angles are 42.2, 25.8 and 32.3 degrees respectively.
Other features of note, both on and off-road, include Electronic Roll Mitigation, Traction Control, Stability Control and Hill Start Assist. Additional features are Tire Pressure Monitoring, Deep Tint Sunscreen Windows, Automatic LED reflector headlamps and LED fog lamps, full floor center console with front and rear cupholders and locking storage, Interior Sport Bar with full padding, 12-volt and 114-volt power points, fold and tumble removable rear seat for additional cargo capacity and a wash-out interior with removable carpets and drain plugs
Rubicon Recon Package
Building from the basic Wrangler Rubicon, the Recon Edition gives the discriminating buyer an even more rugged – you might say ‘purpose-built’ – Rubicon that serves well as both an urban daily driver and a capable weekend outback adventurer.
Recon features several elements enhancing its rugged capability including a front axle upgrade with features strengthened tubes and heavy-duty end forgings, heavy-duty cast front and rear differential covers and rugged off-road rock rails that are shortened to accommodate up to 35-inch tires for the serious purist – if they want.
Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition is not only capable, but looks really good – some might say ‘buff’ – starting with its Gobi color, half-inch lift, new 17-inch Low Gloss Granite Crystal-painted aluminum wheels mounted with LT 255/75 R17 32-inch BF Goodrich KM off-road tires, Black Accent fender flares and a dual-vented Power Dome hood with a black-silhouette “Rubicon” decal on both sides.
Further enhancing the rugged look are its Low Gloss Black grille with Low Gloss Granite Crystal inserts and headlamp rings, Low Gloss Black steel off-road bumpers (front bumper with ‘RUBICON’ molded insert) and Jeep badge with a red base. The front bumper features a winch-capable design and removable end caps that help the Recon climb obstacles without issues and reduce damage on the trail. Red tow hooks in front and back also provide the Rubicon Recon with added protection.
On the inside Rubicon Recon comes standard with an eight-speaker audio system, black leather heated seats with a ‘Rubicon’ embroidered logo and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with red accent stitching. Its black vinyl-wrapped front door armrest and console lid with black stitching, red accent netting on front and rear door pockets and the center console plus red accent-colored seatbelts give it a distinctive look. Grab handles left and right features Midnight Star Black accents that are also found on the vent rings, steering wheel spokes and door pulls.
Its uniquely styled gauge cluster features a premium Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) with added read-outs, such as oil pressure, transmission and coolant temperatures, digital speed and individual tire pressure.
Other design touches include all-weather slush mats with a red accent ‘Jeep’ logo and red accented axle locker and sway-bar disconnect switches while a center top-of-dash plaque displays information regarding the front and rear axles, front sway bar, transfer case and tires.
In addition to the Gobi (desert sand) exterior on our test Recon, there are six other color choices: Black, Bright White, Billet Silver, Firecracker Red, Rhino and Granite Crystal.
Rubicon Recon Options
Our test Rubicon Recon came equipped with the optional five-speed automatic transmission with Hill Descent Control making it a better drive around town and off-road for everyone except maybe the most serious purists. They also changed out the 3.73 Front / Rear Axle Ratio, that comes with the automatic, to the even more aggressive 4.10 axle for enhanced off-road traction. The added cost $2,095.
The standard Recon comes with the Jeep Premium Black Sunrider Soft Top. Our Recon was upgraded to the Freedom Top 3-Piece Modular Hardtop in Black with removable roof panels and rear window wiper/washer/defroster – $595.
For around-town use, this hard top delivers a much quieter cabin while the removable roof panels give the option to driver and passenger to enjoy the outside ‘on the inside’ both in town and on the trail.
An optional upgrade 430N Radio ($1,195) came with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and included steering wheel controls, AM/FM, CD/DVD/MP3, audio input jack, 40GB hard drive, USB port, Garmin Navigation and SiriusXM and XM Travel Link.
To make sure your choice of ‘tunes’ are presented with both gusto and clarity, our Recon was further upgraded with the Alpine Premium 552-watt amp 9-speaker with All-Weather Subwoofer audio system ($945) – a great add for both in town and outback enjoyment.
In the driveway – ready to go noticeably around town or ruggedly up into the outback, our test 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon priced at $45,070.
And, for those who want a four-door – Rubicon Recon is also available in the Limited trim starting at MSRP $42,945