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Taller, more rugged Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon coming to a trail near you

Why it matters to you

A brand-new Wrangler is right around the corner, but the current model is going out with a bang.

With Jeep poised to introduce the next-generation Wrangler before the end of the year, the company is sending off the current model with new version named Recon that’s designed to make short work of rugged terrain.

The Recon is based on the Wrangler Rubicon, a variant that stands out as one of the most capable off-roaders on the market. Jeep has added a beefier front axle with strengthened tubes and heavy-duty end forgings, more durable differential covers on both ends, a half-inch suspension lift, and rock rails shortened to fit up to 35-inch tires.

Visually, the Recon receives 17-inch aluminum wheels wrapped by 32-inch BF Goodrich tires, a power dome hood with two vents, a black grille with gray inserts, and a winch-ready, steel front bumper. It’s available in seven factory colors including black, silver, and red.

The cabin is surprisingly nice for a car whose main mission is to get muddy. The passengers are treated to black leather upholstery with red contrast stitching, an eight-speaker sound system, automatic climate control, and satellite radio, as well as red accents on the door panels and the seat belts. A soft top comes standard; buyers who want the extra security and comfort of a plastic hard top need to pay extra.

There are no mechanical modifications to report. The Recon carries on with a stock, Rubicon-sourced 3.6-liter V6 engine tuned to deliver 285 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Transmission options are limited to a five-speed automatic and a six-speed manual. Off-road goodies include a Rock-Trac transfer case with a low gear, and 4.10 axles on both ends.

The 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon will arrive in showrooms before the end of the month. Pricing starts at $39,145 for the standard two-door model, and $42,945 for the four-door Unlimited. A Jeep spokesman told Digital Trends that the Recon is a regular-production model that replaces the Rubicon Hard Rock Edition.

The next Wrangler won’t arrive until late this year, so more special variants could debut in the coming months to celebrate the end of the JK-series’ 11-year-long production run.

Updated 2/7/2017 by Ronan Glon: Added information about the Recon’s positioning in the Jeep lineup.