Jeep’s Hemi-powered Wrangler Rubicon 392 is a shaggy commando of power and presence
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The 470-horsepower Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is a shaggy commando of tire-frying, trail-crawling confidence. It roams the wilds and street as the lone wolf or the bull buffalo keeping watch over the herd. Its rumbling 6.4-liter V-8 engine is the call of the wild.
Jeepers have been shoehorning V-8s into Wranglers for years. But this Hemi honcho will get drivers out of trouble faster than they can get into it. The 392-cubic-inch pushrod V-8 can accelerate to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, Jeep says, and pass the quarter-mile in 13 seconds. That’s a thundering accomplishment for it 5,103-pound curb weight.
With the eight-speed automatic transmission, the 6.4-liter has fuel-economy ratings of 13 mpg city, 17 highway and 14 mpg combined on the required premium fuel. The 21.6-gallon fuel tank should allow around 300 miles of driving.
The Rubicon 392 is plenty potent, but it’s not the torque monster of the Wrangler lineup. Instead, that honor goes to the new 4xe hybrid Wranglers with a combined engine and motor peak torque of 470 foot-pounds at 3,000 rpm.
There are a dizzying 14 trim levels of Jeep Wrangler in two- and four-door body styles with five choices for a powertrain.
Engine choices include a 270-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The 285-hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 has mild-hybrid e-Torque technology. And the 260-hp 3.0-liter EcoDiesel churns up peak torque of 442 lb.-ft. from 1,400-2,800 rpm.
Cutting new trails are the 4xe hybrid Wranglers (and Grand Cherokee 4xe).
The Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4xe and the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe Launch Editions have starting prices of $49,490 and $53,190, including the freight charge. Pricing does not include the available $7,500 federal tax credit or other eligible state and local credits.
The Wrangler 4xe powertrain is a 375-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a combined torque rating of 470 lb.-ft. at 3,000 rpm. That’s a lot of launch power, and it’s still capable of an estimated 50 MPGe, Jeep claims, with an electric driving range of 25 miles.
The production version of the Wrangler Rubicon 392 Launch Edition went on sale this spring. Pricing starts at $74,995, including the $1,495 freight charge from Toledo, Ohio. But finding one can be disheartening. Pricing for those typically starts at around $90,000.
My Firecracker Red tester had a sticker of $78,545 with such extras as the tow package ($350) and trail-rail system ($195). The biggest add-on was the $2,000 Sky One-Touch Power-Top. The clear-coat paint is $245.
The Rubicon 392 is the most capable Wrangler ever, Jeep says. It is off-road ready with the Selec-Trac two-speed transfer case, full-time four-wheel drive, and 10.3 inches of ground clearance. Its heavy-duty wide track Dana 44 axles have Tru-Lock electronic locking differentials and electronic front sway-bar disconnect.
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- The functional hood scoop connects to a tri-level Hydro-Guide air intake. The system feeds the V-8 with cooler outside air, and a one-way drain in the air-box separates up to 15 gallons of water a minute. The Rubicon 392 can ford water up to 32.5 inches deep — even if a bow wake washes over the hood.
- Active dual-mode exhaust engages automatically to open valves in the exhaust system. Under higher engine loads, the open exhaust reduces back pressure. The driver can also activate the system manually.
- Chassis changes include heavy-duty brakes, a 2-inch factory lift, upgraded frame rails, and specially calibrated suspension geometry with FOX high-performance shocks.
- Low-speed descents use engine braking, a revised torque converter lockup control, and a 48:1 crawl ratio. The system allows the driver to manage vehicle speed without using the brake pedal.
- Four-wheel-disc braking has 12.9-inch vented front rotors with two twin-piston floating calipers. Rear brakes have 14-inch vented rotors with two single-piston floating calipers.
Inside the Rubicon 392, the interior includes leather-trimmed upholstery with bronze Rubicon 392 stitching. The leather-wrapped, performance steering wheel includes paddle shifters, a first for the Jeep Wrangler.
The Uconnect system projects on a standard 8.4-inch screen. The system includes Jeep Off-road Pages that allow owners to monitor such elements as pitch, roll, altitude, GPS coordinates, and drivetrain power distribution.
Other features include:
- Body-color hardtop and fender flares;
- HD electrical switch bank;
- Steel bumper package;
- Cold weather package;
- LED lighting package;
- Remote proximity entry
- Safety Group and Advanced Safety Group
Dual Door Group $4,395
Dual Top Group $1,300
Integrated Off-road Camera $595
Tire upgrades $195: 285/70R17C BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrain Outline White Letter or 285/70R17C Falken Wildpeak M/T tires
A big Hemi V-8 might not be necessary in an off-roading Wrangler. But the more relevant question from Jeep and Mopar disciples might be why not? The V-6 can feel underpowered on the daily commute. The EcoDiesel engine can level mountains off-road, but it can be snoozy for quick power around town.
The Hemi bloodline runs deep among the Stellantis brand’s loyal owners. And placing this engine in a Wrangler teases the question of when will the Gladiator pickup get one.
For every hybrid Jeep 4xe sold, there will be one more gallon of gas for the Rubicon 392.
Pricing is the great separator. How many $90K Jeeps can be sold? Be prepared if you take a test drive. The Rubicon 392 is a charmer, and the devil on your right shoulder will want you to bring it home. The handwringing angel on your left will remind of your social responsibility and how much more rational it would be to own a Wrangler 4xe.
If you listen to that angel, you will spend the rest of your driving days remembering what you could have been.
Just wait, Jeep will make more and you won’t have to pay a hefty price premium.
Body style: 5-seat, 4-door sport-utility vehicle with full-time 4WD, ladder frame and steel and aluminum body
Engine: 470-hp, 392-cubic-inch, 16-valve 6.4-liter pushrod V-8; 470 lb.-ft. torque at 4,300 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic; full-time 4WD with 4WD Auto, 4WD High, Neutral and 4WD Low
Axles: Dana 44 front and rear with 3.73 ratios with Tru-Lock electronic locking
Fuel economy: 13/17/14 mpg city/hwy/combined; premium fuel required
Max tow capacity: 3,500 lbs.
BY THE NUMBERS
Suspension: Solid axle, coil springs, stabilizer bar front and rear; electronic sway-bar disconnect system; high-pressure gas-charged FOX monotube shock absorbers with hydraulic rebound stop front; rear high-pressure gas-charged FOX aluminum monotube shock
Brakes: 4-wheel ventilated discs; 12.9-inch rotors front with twin-piston floating calipers; 13.6-inch rotors rear with single-piston floating calipers
Water fording: 32.5 inches
Fuel tank: 21.5 gallons
Length/wheelbase: 188.4*/118.4 in. *including spare tire
Curb weight: 5,103 lbs.
Turning circle: 39.4 ft.
Tires and wheels: 17-inch BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrain tires (LT285/70R17C, on/off-road); bead-lock capable, high-gloss painted cast-aluminum wheels
Base price: $74,994, including $1,495 freight charge; price as tested $78,545
Options on test vehicle: Firecracker Red clear coat paint $245; Preferred package 27X, $350, includes trailer-tow package and class II hitch with 7- and 4-pin wiring harness; Cargo group with trail-rail system, $195, includes cargo area floor mat; Mopar all-weather floor mats $165; Sky one-touch power top $2,000; integrated off-road camera $595
Where assembled: Toledo, Ohio
Warranty: 3-years/36,000-miles basic bumper to bumper; 5-years/60,000-miles powertrainRead more