Nothing is surprising about the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it’s a vehicle which practically reviews itself with its own name.
When you read the words “Jeep”, “Wrangler” and “392”, you either want that
in your life… or you don’t.
It’s sort of like how you might know what a peanut butter cup would taste like if you’ve never eaten one before, because you know how peanut butter and chocolate taste on their own.
Jeep Wrangler = peanut butter. 392 HEMI V8 = chocolate. Now kiss.
So instead of a long-winded essay intended to contextualize something I’m positive you already have a pretty good grasp on, let's simply try to answer the exact questions that are on your mind.
How much power does it make?
The equipped 6.4-litre, “392” HEMI V8 produces 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft torque.
As a piece of trivia, this is the least amount of power the 392 makes in any of its current applications — likely an effort to improve fuel economy, but also perhaps to create a more elastic powerband for off-road use. Luckily, this slight dip in power is completely unnoticeable on the street.
Is it fast?
It’s really fast. This giant off-roader will accelerate to 100 km/h in about 4.5 seconds.
For reference, that’s faster than a Honda Civic Type R
or Porsche 718 Boxster S, and about as fast as the new Nissan Z (even in a standing quarter mile).
And when you’ve got the roof open and all the windows down, I’d dare say it’s the most engaging acceleration of any vehicle equipped with the 392.
Is it loud?
It’s the loudest press car I’ve ever tested. By far.
The 392’s dual exhaust banks are channeled into a single rear muffler which has quad, uneven, turn-down exits. It’s unbelievably raspy and angry sounding — like being barked at by a particularly mean dog.
Even with the exhaust in “quiet” mode, I jumped every time I fired up the engine in my condo’s underground parking garage.
And in “performance” mode, the exhaust volume is at a level I can only describe as “obnoxiously loud''.
Will it tow?
About 3,500 lbs according to the brochure.
Of course, if that’s your primary concern, you’ll be just as well off with the 3.0-litre Ecodiesel V6 model, which shares a tow rating.
Do the doors come off?
Yes. But removing them is a bit of a chore. Jeep has a tutorial video
that shows you how to do it.
How long does it take to put the roof up and down?
20 seconds either way (according to my watch).
The power roof itself is a $4,300 option, but in my opinion… kind of worth it. Kind of really
How is it off-road?
Pretty amazing. Not that I climbed up a mountain or anything, but I did spend some time in the sticks tackling some of the worst unpaved roads I could find. The Wrangler turned even the roughest routes into an absolute breeze.
The as-standard Rubicon “392” suspension, combined with the optional Xtreme Recon 35-inch tire package gives you every confidence in the world to make it over and across… anything, really.
Combined with the power and grunt of the 392 V8, you can simply fly over any rough terrain in your path.
The ride quality itself is about as poor as you would expect — the Wrangler shakes you like a paint can inside and the added weight of the 6.4-litre engine over the front axle does not go unnoticed.
But that’s part of the fun, really. The entire experience makes you feel connected to the drive, but in a totally-stress free way. There’s an inherent knowledge you possess while behind the wheel that the Jeep will
get you through any challenge.
For true off-roaders, Tru-Lok front and rear differentials, Dana front and rear wide axles, an electronic disconnecting front sway bar and a 2:72:1 Selec-Trac 4WD system are all included in the price of admission.
Gorilla Glass is an extra $250. A small price to pay to avoid stone chips.
How is it in the city?
It’s great! Honestly, the best vehicle for driving downtown ever.
It’s tall enough to see around busy corners and over top of pedestrians, but short enough to still fit in underground parking garages. Its off-road capabilities simply shrug off Toronto’s insidious potholes, warped pavement and street car tracks.
In a lot of ways, I felt a greater sense of “luxury” driving this unsophisticated, obnoxious muscle-bound, bro-mobile through the city than I have with $150,000 + German executive sedans.
You never have to worry about curbing a wheel, debeading a tire, or flexing a tie-rod. Sincerely, I’ve never had a more stress-free driving experience downtown.
Yes, the city gas mileage is laughably terrible. But since you’re never really going all that far whilst driving downtown, you don’t really notice.
How is the sound system?
It absolutely slaps. The included Alpine audio system is gloriously loud — and that’s exactly what you want when you’ve got the top down, the windows open, wind your hair and voice-of-God exhaust in your wake.
The Uconnect system remains easy to use, intuitive, unobtrusive and responsive. No complaints.
Is it really worth over $100,000?
That’s a tricky question to answer.
I mean, certainly, yes, the sticker price is over $100,000 (our as-tested model came in at just under $117,000) — but is it really worth
On one hand, it’s really difficult to see where all that money goes — especially when you’re sitting in the Rubicon 392’s cabin, which could be mistaken for any old rental Jeep.
The hard plastic analogue switches are somewhat unresponsive and feel… well, let’s be kind and say “inexpensive”. The seats adjust manually — your seating angle is adjusted by a strap. Heck there’s even an old-school antenna bobbing away on the hood, just on the peripheral of your vision.
This is a tougher pill to swallow when you consider the interior quality of something like a Porsche Macan GTS, which is faster (albeit nowhere near as off-road capable as the Rubicon) and cheaper than this particular Jeep.
But I think to get hung up on bourgeois concerns like that of interior quality is to miss the point of the Jeep Rubicon 392 — that point being an experience
, something vehicles like the Macan GTS
are sincerely lacking in.
When you have just a day
in the Rubicon 392 — a little Saturday adventure where you escape the sweaty confines of the city to take a drive down back country roads — top down, sunshine, wind, good tunes, a brilliant exhaust, and all the horsepower you could want — it feels like the Rubicon is priceless. And all of the analogue touches on the interior start to feel quaint, even nostalgic.
Sitting on the front bumper of your Rubicon and eating lunch before setting off for more “driving for the sake of driving” is something that’s genuinely difficult to put a price on.
I can’t express enough how much fun I had in this thing. I easily put it into the category of “cars I never wanted to stop driving”.
The Rubicon 392 makes you feel like you could go anywhere. This feels unforgivably cliche, corny and trite to say, but driving it fills you with a sense of “freedom” — the likes of which I’m not sure I’ve quite experienced in any other vehicle.
So yes, the sticker price is steep. But look at it this way, the Rubicon 392 is a bargain over a Land Rover Defender V8
or Mercedes G-Class
Okay, but is it better than the Ford Bronco Raptor?
The Jeep Rubicon 392 will kick the ever-loving snot out of the Bronco Raptor in a drag race
But admittedly, I haven’t driven a Bronco Raptor, so I suppose it's possible the totality of the experience may actually be better than the Jeep. Certainly, the Bronco Raptor is racking up some impressive praise from other journalists.
But Jeep has been at this whole “Jeep thing” a long, long time. Like, since WWII. That assurance of legacy, combined with the confidence that you can comfortably smoke a Bronco Raptor between the lights should be enough to avoid any kind of buyer’s remorse on the part of the 392.
2022 Jeep Wrangler 392 Rubicon
5-door, convertible top off-road SUV
Front engine, AWD, 8-Speed automatic transmission
6.4L HEMI V8 (470 hp, 470 lb-ft torque)
(91 Octane) 18.5/14/16.5 L/100 km city/highway/combined
$116,890 (as tested)
: Jeep Wrangler