At long, long last, Ford has begun production on the new 2021 Bronco, and the long-awaited first drive impressions of the new SUV will arrive very soon. So, not surprisingly, Jeep — as it did before the Bronco launch — decided to swoop in and announce some major Wrangler updates. The brand is giving the Wrangler a new Xtreme Recon package, which will negate any on-paper "best-in-class" claims from the Bronco.
The Wrangler's Xtreme Recon package will offer a 1.5-inch factory lift and 35-inch tires from the factory; the Bronco had been doing that with the Sasquatch package while the Wrangler had not. Adding that package improves the Wrangler's approach (47.4º), breakover (26.7º) and departure (40.4º) angles.
Xtreme Recon also bumps the Wrangler up to 12.9 inches of ground clearance and water fording capability of 33.6 inches. Ford had been claiming best-in-class for the Bronco with 11.6 inches and 33.5 inches, respectively. You never know when that extra 0.1 inches of water fording capability will come in handy.
Customers can order a Wrangler with the Xtreme Recon package today, with deliveries due to start in August (which will still be before many buyers have their Bronco). No word on pricing, and it's not on the online configurator yet.
Jeep is also giving the Wrangler Rubicon a new 4.88.1 axle ratio option. Paired with the six-speed manual transmission, the Rubicon would have an industry-first 100:1 crawl ratio. Jeep says buyers will be able to order that later in 2021.
We can't tell you how the Bronco shakes out against the Wrangler yet (we will soon, we promise). But Jeep debuting the plug-in hybrid 4xe Wrangler (no hybrid for the Bronco), the Wrangler Rubicon 392 with a V8 (no V8 on the Bronco) and now an Xtreme Recon package (neatly matching or exceeds capabilities of the Bronco) suggests that Jeep is taking the new threat very seriously.