Jeep has all kinds of things going on now with the launch of the new Grand Cherokee and new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, while fending off new competition from Ford in the form of the new Bronco family.
But it has never ignored the basics, proving that again with the Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon model first unveiled at this year’s Chicago Auto Show this past summer. This Wrangler is the direct descendent of World War II-era Jeep that was so versatile the U.S. Army used it more than 40 years.
The Xtreme Recon blends Jeeps historic military lineage with the Wrangler’s affinity for off-road-adventure, which we were able to test during an all-too-short drive over some very muddy trails at an off-road course outside Detroit where it has rained a lot during the past few weeks.
The word “recon” in the vehicle’s name gives away the Wrangler’s history of moving soldiers over bad roads or even roadless terrain while scouting out enemy positions. The silhouette is traditional and carries forward that unmistakable look.
But the vehicle I drove was fortified with heavy duty rollbars and a soft top plus rugged, 35-inch tires for moving across all kinds of rugged terrain. Plus, the Xtreme Recon package which includes an additional 1.5-inch of ground clearance over other off-road oriented versions of the Wrangler such as the Rubicon. The Xtreme Recon also comes with reinforced tailgate swing-arms to help prevent fatigue from the heavier spare.
Jeep Wranglers are enormously popular as used vehicles and if you don’t believe me got out and try and find one. However, this one’s a little different on the inside that its military ancestors, which never, ever left any room for creature comforts of any kind.
The Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon comes with a surprisingly comfortable seat that helps keep you supported when tossed around out on the trail. It is also equipped with other modern features such as cup holders and a center stack screen, which also been used to collect information use full for the driver out in rugged. There also are places to stow away gear from first-aid kits, to shovels and sleeping bags. The interior design also includes round housings for gauges and vents with brightwork to set off key elements. The interior also can be washed out with a garden hose.
It’s powered by a version of 3.6-liter 6-cylinder with a variable valvetrain and a stop-start feature, which was paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission and a four-wheel drive system with high and low settings that can be adapted to the terrain. The Xtreme Recon also comes with Dana-made, short-ratio front axle and an anti-spin differential critical to off-road travel. The new equipment boosts Wrangler’s key off-roading dimensions, including the approach angle, breakover angle, departure angle as 12.9 inches of ground clearances and 33.6 inches of water fording.
Safety and Technology
The Wrangler comes with multiple air bags, as well as Stellantis’ highly regarded UConnect system with Bluetooth as well as links to navigation and entertainment systems. It also comes with satellite radio. Features such as an Alpine Sound system and a front facing camera to steer around obstacles on off-road trails are optional. The Xtreme Recon also is equipped with tow hooks and steel skid plates, which enhances its rugged, off-road capability.
The 2022 Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon, which can be ordered direct from the factory, is built for driving off-road. To that end, I thought it did exceptionally well under some difficult circumstances during my, all-too-short test drive.
There is something very satisfying about climbing behind the wheel of a vehicle tuned to climb, a steep, muddy, virtually impassable uphill trail almost no other vehicles would dare to challenge. Feeling the big tires churn up the mud on a wet, slick trail is most impressive. This is a vehicle that is made to go anywhere, and it certainly seem to manage the elements with surprising ease.
Jeep is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and the Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon Package brings features such as 35-inch tires straight from the factory rather than a catalogue, according to Jim Morrison, vice president, Jeep Brand North America and we’ll let Morrison have the last word.
“We have been listening to and watching our customers make this one of the most popular modifications to their Wranglers, and now we will deliver this exciting new package, along with an industry-first 100:1 crawl ratio, off the showroom floor at our Jeep dealerships,” he said.
2022 Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon — Frequently Asked Questions
How much will a Jeep Wrangler cost for 2022?
KBB expects the 4-door version of the 2022 Jeep Wrangler to have a starting price of about $33,000, but most models are closer to $40,000. The top Wrangler plug-in hybrid, the four-door 4xe High Altitude, will start at about $55,000, while the V-8-powered Rubicon 392 will be priced closer to $75,000.
What is the Willys package on a Jeep Wrangler?
The Willys package is a trim level available on the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited featuring key off-roading components with military-inspired styling. The visual modifications include a gloss black grille and bumper appliques, a “Willys” hood decal, deep tint windows and black dash and cloth seats.
Is the Jeep Wrangler a removable roof vehicle?
The 2022 Jeep Wrangler was the only vehicle with a removable roof and doors — until the Ford Bronco arrived. It’s not the most spacious or accommodating SUV available, but the Wrangler delivers the perfect mix of vintage and modern Jeep characters.