Who knew this much power could be so much fun?
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is not for the weak of passion. Or will. Or arms. And it’s not for new drivers who are not as experienced as this Jeep demands. And it does demand … your attention, as in both hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, focus on what’s ahead. But that’s the price of the ultimate fun Jeep experience that the 392 delivers.
$73,000 is also the price that this SUV demands. Build on Jeep’s top of the line Wrangler Rubicon, the 392 is a particular beast. It’s not *just* another iteration of the Wrangler, favored by off roaders and adventurers who need the capability to crawl over rocks and hills, through creeks and gullies, and get to that perfect vista or beyond the trail head. And while it’s the top of the line, it’s not simply uber-posh to drive up the price.
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The 392 version brings some of the parent company’s best technology to the Wrangler Rubicon, delivering even more of what Rubicon owners want. With a V8 engine, the first in modern times to have an engine this large, you won’t just get to the top of the mountain, but you’ll be the first one there.
Jeep + HEMI = WOW
You may know the 392 designation from the Dodge cars and SUVs powered by the V8 6.4 liter (or, in Imperial measurement, 392 cubic inches) engine. These are among the most powerful engines the company builds, and typically they generate just under 500 horsepower, nearly double the Wrangler’s horsepower. They are ideal for performance driving in the Dodge Charger, drag racing the Dodge Challenger or towing both an RV and a large family in the Dodge Durango 3 row SUV.
This is what it sounds like:
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And now, the 392 isn’t limited just to Dodge. Dodge and Jeep’s parent, Stellantis, doesn’t like to silo its passion or innovations, so it’s no surprise that the 392 made its way into the Jeep Wrangler (a few years ago, the company’s Hellcat engine was introduced into the Jeep Grand Cherokee in the Trailhawk edition). And wow, what a combo.
Related: The Jeep Wrangler 4xe Is an Incredible New Off-Roading Experience for Jeep Lovers and Converts Alike
Before You Put the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 On Your Pinterest Dream Board… Read This
The standard Wrangler is demanding to drive and the 392 is even more so. Take into consideration that the Wrangler is:
- Designed to come apart: You can remove the doors, windows, side panels, roof, hood and fenders and even the windshield will fold down for true air-in-your-hair driving. This means it doesn’t have as much insulation or the “seamless” seams that other vehicles have and it can be loud, especially on the highway
- It has wide tires with thick tread patterns designed for off roading; they can be loud, too
- The cloth roof top option by its nature doesn’t add much insulation between your ears and sounds from outside the car, including the engine and exhaust
- The standard Rubicon has 9.7” of ground clearance so it has a high center of gravity meaning it takes some height and possibly a bit of muscle (or running boards) to get in and out
- The high ground clearance means drivers need to be careful driving fast around corners or when towing a trailer; despite all the stability control and 4WD smarts in this car, gravity can take you down
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 makes these items an even greater consideration. The larger V8 engine is louder, and it has an Exhaust Mode button that you can tap for and even more distinct “exhaust note.” It has even more ground clearance, at 10.8.” With the added speed, you may be tempted to hit the curves in the road faster than is advisable. And with many of its panels removed it’ll be even lighter weight, so, faster. But, it’ll keep your hands on the wheel.
Get Ready to Giggle. A Lot
I took my husband out for a ride in the Wrangler Rubicon 392 and of course, had to find a flat, straight roadway where I could floor the accelerator. As we got up to speed (in a mere second or two) I glanced over to catch a grin on his face. Even over the engine and road sound I could hear him giggle. Even more so as the transmission downshifted with the pops and gurgles of rev-matching, just as a performance engine should.
I felt the same way when I was driving alone. It’s a thrill to find a place where you can accelerate and take off like a rocket, then feel the pops and crackles of downshifting. With my hands solidly on the wheel and my attention focused unwaveringly on the road. And only for a few moments; once you’re up to speed you start to feel the true muscle of the Wrangler Rubicon 392 and it’s intimidating. I didn’t want to hit a pothole or road debris and lose control (or get a ticket, which it seems may be a risk in this car, too). But if there’s one thing the Rubicon 392 will do for sure, that is put a smile on your face.
All Wrangler Rubicon, To the Core
The Rubicon is Jeep Wrangler’s pinnacle model, with all the features and details that enhance the adventure lifestyle. In addition to the enhanced 4 wheel drive system and heavy duty suspension that accommodates rock crawling for extreme adventures, it also has the aforementioned ability to be disassembled, it has a retractable cloth top, the option of an electric top for an additional $2,000 (and totally worth it), heated seats, ample cargo room and premium features like the new UConnect 5 touch screen media system.
The 392 makes standard some of Rubicon’s options, like heated leather seats, Alpine premium audio, though our test model had the one-touch power soft top for an additional $2,000 and I totally thought it was worth while. I tested the manual soft top a few years ago and found that while it wasn’t hard to operate it took time and attention and I couldn’t do it from the driver’s seat. The 392 has a lot of other great standard features like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, smart key with keyless entry, and 8.4” media screen, navigation (with some cool graphics like rippling water to depict a stream), and a tail gate mounted spare tire.
More 392 Details Complete the Package
Exterior details are just as important. There are brass and enamel 392 badges on the hood, hood scoops (because that super sized engine needs breathing room), Rubicon and TrailRated badging, and Jeep “Easter Eggs,” or graphic Jeep icons on the front and rear windows, the wheels, the gear shifter and more.
The Rubicon has optional running boards that buyers can add on, though Jeeps says that these are not an option on the 392, however I’d recommend buyers find an aftermarket option. This Jeep is tall. I’m 5’8” and I often needed to grab the grip bar to hoist myself into the front seat (though I totally love the view from the front seat of this SUV!). Shorter drivers, those with kids or dogs or older parents who may go for a ride will appreciate having a step to assist getting into the Jeep.
And, there’s the Jeep Wave. You might think this is what happens when you drive a Jeep… other Jeep drivers wave at you to signal you’re part of the club. And while yes, that’s true, it also means that Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 owners (all Wrangler owners, really) get a 3 year maintenance package as part of the purchase. A pretty nice perk for being in the Jeep club.
Towing Capacity: Yes You Can Tow With the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392… But Be Cautious
The tow capacity of the 392 is the same as the Rubicon, 3,200 lbs. There is a $350 trailer tow package option that adds the receiver hitch that you’ll need to tow. The extra power of the engine can make towing feel effortless (no, we didn’t try it but we can just imagine) but with the additional height of this Jeep, we think it’s wise to be extra careful when towing.
What We Loved
- The 392 V8 470 HP engine; it’s powerful, it’s fun and its badass
- The exhaust mode button; the engine is loud and gurgly on its own; but pop it into Exhaust Mode and it’s even more pronounced
- The ride height
- All the removable parts, which you can remove with the included tool kit
- Comfortable heated leather seats, which drivers will really appreciate in cold climates
- The Alpine sound system, which sounded GREAT despite this being a fairly loud SUV
- Lots of USB and power ports including a household plug
- The swing out tail gate and rear window that opens, offering a couple of ways to access the large cargo area
- A comfortable rear seat with lots of space
- The one-touch retractable soft top
What You Need to Know
- This Jeep is demanding of your attention and muscle; it’s built for power and adventure, so know what you’re getting into before buying one
- Fuel economy estimated at 13 MPG city, 17 MPG highway and I’d say that the estimated 14 combined MPG is about what we got
- It’s rugged and adventure focused; yes, the seats are comfortable but long drives may leave you feeling a bit road weary
- Base price for the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is $73,500 and includes almost everything mentioned here; add-ons include the electric retractable top ($2,000), floor mats ($165), off road camera ($595 and a great idea if you’re planning on off roading), and the destination and delivery charge ($1,495); the full sticker price is $78,740
Yes, This Jeep Is Special
With the bronze 392 badge, at first glance you know something is special. Start it up and it roars to life. Take it on the highway and you’re sailing along on top of the world. Take it off road and you’ll actually get to the top of the world. But that’s the magic of Jeep Wrangler, and now, with the powerful, giggle-inducing power of the HEMI V8 392 engine, even more magic. Just be careful how you wield this magic…because as those with magic advise, use it for good or it can come back to haunt you.
Disclosure: Jeep provided the Wrangler Rubicon 392 for this test drive; all opinions are my own.