Jeep's Best Wrangler Yet? We Review the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392
When Jeep released the news of its highly anticipated Wrangler Rubicon 392, we knew we had to have one. A 392-cubic-inch 6.4L HEMI V8 with 470hp and 470 lb-ft of torque is every Jeep enthusiast’s dream come true. Finally, a Jeep Wrangler with the power to match its exceptional 4x4 capability. However, with a base price of $74,995, is the new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 worth it? Read on to find out.
From the Factory
Let’s first discuss what makes the 392 unique over a standard Rubicon model. It turns out that there’s much more to it than simply dropping a V8 under the hood and calling it good. Jeep addressed many areas (some not so obvious) during its quest to produce the ultimate Wrangler from the factory.
Starting with the obvious, the first thing you’ll notice on Jeep’s all new Wrangler Rubicon 392 is its aggressive hood with a functional air intake scoop. The Hydro Guide intake, as Jeep calls it, features multiple channels that separate water and other debris from air, with an impressive rate of 15 gallons per minute. On top of the hood you will find a special “392” badge with bronze accents. The same bronze accents are carried through to the Rubicon badges on the hood and the tow hooks on the steel front and rear bumpers. A set of 17” beadlock capable wheels can be found at all four corners, which feature a bronze coating on the wheel with a black ring and aggressive styling found only on the 392 model.
Jeep did a great job to ensure that the Wrangler Rubicon 392 would feature a plush interior. All black leather seats are stitched with the same bronze color found on the exterior and feature the “Rubicon 392” logo on the front bucket seats. Jeep also ditched the red dash plate found on the standard Rubicon model and replaced it with a granite gray dash plate. In addition, starting with the 392, Jeep offered an option to purchase OEM half doors as part of their new “Dual Door Group.” The factory half doors look and feel as solid as can be and blend in with the rest of the interior nicely. Along the instrument panel lies the “fun button,” which when pushed, activates the performance exhaust and opens a set of electronically controlled valves, allowing the HEMI V8 to truly roar.
Performance From the Ground Up
The 392 is much more complex than a Wrangler Unlimited frame with a 392-cubic-inch V8 dropped in. Jeep upgraded the frame to make it stronger and stiffer in strategic areas and made the motor mounts stiffer because, well, for obvious reasons. The Dana 44 axles are similar to those found underneath the Gladiator Mojave, which feature larger brakes, thicker axle tubes, and stronger, cast-iron knuckles, making them more fit for the massive amount of power they will see. To prevent them from being over-worked, Jeep equipped the 392 with a Selec-Trac full-time 4 wheel-drive transfer case with a low range crawl ratio of 2.72:1. “4 Auto” mode replaces 2 wheel-drive, and features a torque split of 50/50 until the front axle reaches its maximum output, to which 70 percent of the torque heads to the rear axle. With these changes in mind, the Rubicon 392 is packed with performance from the ground up.
Tall and Mighty
In addition to being faster than it's standard Rubicon counterpart, the 392 is also taller. It comes from the factory with a 2” Mopar lift and features a stiffer front spring-rate with a lighter rear spring-rate. The vehicle handles incredibly well thanks to a set of aluminum-bodied 2.0 Fox monotube shocks and is undoubtedly one of the best driving Wranglers on the road today. Despite its appearance of a narrow stance, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 is certainly tall and mighty, ready for some of the toughest trails you can throw at it.
Bigger Tires Please
It’s no secret that the 392 was conceived out of pure rivalry with the new Ford Bronco. With that being said, the general public can equip the new Bronco with the Sasquatch Package, which includes a set of 35” tires from the factory. Though Jeep recently announced its Xtreme Recon package that now features 35” tires, the original launch edition of the Rubicon 392 did not have that option. With the aforementioned price tag and similar options available on the market, we feel as though Jeep missed the mark here. This is also the first area where we took matters into our own hands, installing a suspension lift and a set of Nitto Tire’s all new 38" Ridge Grapplers over at 3D Offroad in our home town of Colorado Springs. Finally a Jeep with the stance to match its sheer power!
Jeep’s Best Wrangler Yet
We placed an order for the Rubicon 392 towards the end of the year in December of 2021 after the initial press releases came out. While we already owned a four-door JL in the Built2Wander fleet, it always felt like the Triton JL’s 2.0L 4-Cylinder Turbo motor was lacking and we were excited at the opportunity to own a Wrangler with a V8 from the factory. After waiting for more than 6 months, we finally took delivery of our new Jeep. And it was well worth the wait! We were quickly acquainted with the 392, as we took it from the dealership in Ohio all the way to the Rubicon Trail in Northern California in just a matter of a couple weeks. After nearly 4,000 miles and tackling one of the most iconic, challenging trails in the American West, it’s safe to say that the Rubicon 392 is Jeep’s best Wrangler yet.