MOAB, Utah – The long-awaited 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, sporting a 6.4-liter V8, makes its bold appearance at the 2021 Easter Jeep Safari. Moab is an off-roader playground and is home to countless hiking trails between the famous red rock and orange sand dunes. Jeep enthusiasts travel to Moab year-round for off-road fun – especially during the Easter Jeep Safari (aka EJS). Jeep invited us to test his new high-performance animal on the trails to experience its ability on rocky terrain, hard dirt, loose sand and slippery rock, as well as a stretch of open road.
The Wrangler Rubicon 392 marks the return of factory V8 performance in a traditional Jeep vehicle. Offered only in the four-door Rubicon model and with an eight-speed automatic, the new 392 offers 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. It obviously has a lot of dizziness, doing 0 to 60 mph in un-Wrangler-like 4.5 seconds. That’s 40% faster than a V6-powered Wrangler. The dual-mode exhaust with four tailpipes growls deeply and growls Braas loud under full throttle. The ability to overtake is unsurprisingly exceptional on the road, flying through dunes in the sand, throwing cocktails. We couldn’t wipe smiles from our faces but watch the speed as it’s easy to get all of these horses over speed limits. Watch out for your paperback too: the 392 delivers an EPA-rated city at 13 MPG, a highway at 17 MPG, and a combination of 14 MPG.
The obligatory eight-speed automatic shifts smoothly, effortlessly and very quickly, with well-spaced mid-range gears that harmonize well with the V8’s low-end capability. It’s good that it comes with responsive paddle shifters for a more engaging and fun ride (the first for a Wrangler), but it would be better if they were mounted on the steering column and therefore for easy off-camber shifting or in place tight curves would be fixed. In addition, unrelated push buttons adorn the lowest switching point, which can easily be accidentally pressed in technical situations outside the patch.
The 392 has a different all-wheel drive system than other Wranglers, the Selec-Trac full-time system with an active transfer case and a gear ratio of 2.72. Instead of working in 2WD most of the time and keeping the rider ready with 4WD high, neutral and 4WD low as needed, Selec-Trac works in a 4WD automatic mode that constantly sends power to the front and rear wheels. Otherwise, and especially off-road, the system behaves as expected. The 392 also features a revised lock-up control for the transmission’s torque converter and the same 48: 1 creep ratio as other Rubicons with automatic equipment.
However, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 offers more than just a powertrain. The chassis features upgraded components such as upgraded frame rails, front upper wishbones, and cast iron steering knuckles. Improved front brakes are borrowed from the gladiator Mojave. The rear wheels are identical to those of the new Wrangler 4xe. This powerful combo will quickly stop this high powered beast in a variety of terrains and provide precise controls for quick braking.
Wide-gauge, rugged Dana 44 front and rear axles include thicker axle tubes and Tru-Lok electronic limited slip differentials. As with regular Rubicons, an electronic front pendulum bar separator maximizes travel, perfect for crawling boulders in Moab. Specially tuned high-performance Fox aluminum mono tubes absorb sandy oops and trail obstacles in an orderly manner and ensure little driver fatigue after hours of off-road tests. This setup enables defined behavior and increased driving comfort.
In more humid environments than southeastern Utah, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 can traverse water up to 32.5 inches deep. Its 10.3-inch ground clearance is half an inch lower than the regular Rubicon, but still slightly higher than other Wranglers. However, its approach (44.5 degrees) and take-off angle (37.5 degrees) are larger than the regular Rubicon with the same breakthrough of 22.6 degrees. In addition, the hood scoop of the 392 (which was taken from the Jeep Gladiator Mojave) isn’t just for looks, it’s fully functional. When constrained by mud, dirt, or snow, a second addition of air in the hood feeds the engine, allowing this trail titan to reach top speeds even when the airway is blocked (although it can take longer to get there).
There are also advanced off-road capabilities, including terrain-specific driving modes. This includes an off-road plus mode that can be selected by the driver, with which the driver can block the rear axle at high speeds in all-wheel drive. This allows it to scrape through Moab’s sand dunes with ease. The settings also offer sand and rock modes. As with such systems in various other off-roaders, these adjust the throttle, transmission shift points, and traction control for superior off-road performance.
The view is adequate from all sides (with the exception of the oversized rear passenger headrests). The seats offer a wide range of adjustment options, including a variety of height adjustments, so that even short-torso drivers can easily see over the hood. The black leather seats feature sturdy cushions that keep the occupants in place in situations outside of the fall. At the push of a button, the Sky One-Touch Power Top, an option for $ 2,000, can be pushed back for an airy off-road experience – perfect for enjoying the scenery or when a larger indoor airflow is desired.
The look of the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is defined and bold. The hood is another donation from the Gladiator Mojave, and there are 17-inch beadlock cable wheels. The standard tires are BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrains, measuring LT285 / 70R17, but our 392 had the optional Falken Wildpeaks of the same size that handled a variety of terrain with ease. And in case those fat tires and body modifications are enough, the 392 model’s signature is the bronze accents, from the front and rear tow hooks and exterior badges to the springs and beadlock cable wheels. Bronze is better.
This is hands down the most expensive Wrangler the company has sold to date. At the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $ 74,995 (including $ 1,495 for destination), this is a premium price that matches its features and capabilities. However, given the brand’s huge popularity, they shouldn’t have a problem selling each and every one of them. Yesterday’s V8 featured a 304 cubic inch powerplant that produced 125 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque. Obviously, this is an improvement. If the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is as well received by the masses as it is here in Moab, the Jeep will have another winner in hand.