It is surprising that it has not happened to sooner but the Jeep Wrangler is finally available with 35-inch tires. It’s part of the Xtreme Recon package that includes 4.56 axle gearing, and wider, 17×8-inch beadlock-capable wheels, among other things. That package is now available on the Wrangler Rubicon, the V8-powered Rubicon 392, and soon, the Wrangler Willy’s.
The $3,995 price may seem steep but it really isn’t. Starting with a stock Wrangler Rubicon, a lift kit and installation, the re-gearing and the labor to do it, and the wider wheels and bigger tires would easily surpass that amount. But here it comes factory installed and includes a spare tire relation kit, tailgate hinge reinforcement, and a spacer for a jack. This is a deal! In aftermarket world this could run more than ten grand.
In my quick drive in the Rubicon 392 on 35s, it felt very much like the Rubicon 392 on 33s. The substantial difference in final gearing, 3.73 vs 4.56 (4.10 vs. 4.56 on conventional, non-diesel Wranglers) wasn’t very evident because of the increased tire diameter. Handling and acceleration did not seem affected, either. But ride comfort has improved – it’s like riding on balloons. Speed bumps and curbs also became comically small.
The Xtreme Recon 35-Inch Package is available on Wrangler Rubicons now, but only in combination with the 3.6-liter eTorque engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s also available on the Rubicon 392, as pictured. It will soon be available on the Willy’s, too. Of note should be fact that the Willy’s will have a limited-slip rear differential, open front differential, and it won’t have the disconnecting front sway-bar.
Because it is relevant, all current Bronco engine offerings, and all trims are available with the Sasquatch Package with 35-inch tires (and all have locking front and rear differentials). The Jeeps comes with the excellent BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires, whereas the Bronco comes with more mud-terrain focused Goodyear Territory. The Bronco has 4.7 differential gear but it also has a 10-speed automatic transmission to Jeep’s eight-speed, which allows for that taller gearing.
The fight between those two vehicles is just getting started. Bronco’s answer to the Wrangler 392 on 35s is the upcoming Bronco Raptor with more than 400 horsepower and 37-inch tires. This is will be both fun and mad. It’s the pony wars all over again. What a time to be alive. Now if I could just have any kind of off-road trails less than 100 miles from home…