For a long time, which is to say many decades, there has been an ongoing complaint among Jeep fans regarding the Wrangler: the lack of any kind of V8 engine. Well, fortunately, the powers that be behind the scenes have been listening (or perhaps they’re just worried about the Ford Bronco – I’ll let you decide on that one), and at long last, the pleas of Jeep fans everywhere are about to be answered. And it’s better than a lot of people could’ve hoped for.
The newly announced 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 will feature a very impressive V8 engine that will make it the most powerful Wrangler ever made. Best of all, this won’t impact the legendary off-road performance of this vehicle at all, so you can have tremendous power to get you through the workweek and still have fun on the weekend. Whether you’re a long-time Jeep fan happy to see a V8 finally coming around again, or you’ve been tentatively interested in a Wrangler but hoping to see one with more power, this is the moment to act.
So let’s take a closer look at the 392 and see what it has to offer.
An Incredible Engine
No reason to bury the lede here, the main attraction of the all-new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is its engine, and it’s really impressive. They didn’t just slap any old V8 into this thing and call it a day, hoping people would get into the novelty of it, oh no. The 392 features a 6.4L HEMI V8 engine that delivers up to 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s got real power and performance, which lets it go from 0 to 60 in just 4.5 seconds and run a quarter-mile in 13 seconds.
While those might not be mind-blowing numbers for a muscle car, those are quite impressive for a Jeep Wrangler. It’s a naturally aspirated V8, and there have been some exterior updates and changes to account for this (more on that further down). But the look is still 100% Jeep Wrangler, with all of the style and substance that you’d expect in not just a Wrangler, but a Rubicon. Overall, it’s really something and exactly the kind of powerful engine that Jeep fans have been asking the developers at Jeep to deliver for a long time.
Of course, when you think “Jeep Wrangler,” you think “off-road,” and fortunately, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 doesn’t give up any of that impressive trail-domination for the sake of its V8 engine. This thing can still handle anything you throw at it and keep up with pretty much any other off-road machine on the market while delivering much more power than you’d expect. For starters, it features an Electronic Sway Bar Disconnect that allows for very impressive articulation of its front tires, allowing you to remain fairly comfortable and very much in control on even the roughest and most uneven terrain.
Speaking of comfort, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 has FOX aluminum-bodied 2-inch diameter shocks for incredible performance and dampening to ensure you’re comfortable even while going over rocks. Of course, this also helps with handling on such uneven ground and rocks, so any kind of off-road obstacle is little challenge. It has 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels with 33-inch mud-terrain tires that not only look amazing but also allow it to easily climb over just about anything and let you more safely deflate the tires if needed.
New Exterior Features
These impressive off-road wheels and tires also have an available “beauty ring” to add an extra aesthetic touch to them. In addition to these excellent wheels, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 also features a Hydro-Guide Induction System on the front hood. This air induction system is designed to help enhance the performance of the bold V8 engine by allowing cooler, less dense air inside to keep the engine temperature lower. It also helps separate any water, often splashed up while fording a stream, from the intake system to keep things running beautifully.
For the first time ever on a Jeep Wrangler, a push-button Dual-Mode Exhaust system is available that you can activate on command. This opens or closes a pair of electronic valves to control the output of exhaust noise from the V8 engine. So the 392 even sounds different from other Jeep Wranglers, not only due to its powerful engine but due to a unique exhaust system all its own.
After several years without them as an option, half doors are available for the Jeep Wrangler 392. These have typically been quite popular with a lot of off-road enthusiasts as they allow you to keep doors on the vehicle while also granting you an incredible view of the area around your Jeep. Removable doors are great, but sometimes you want a bit of protection from the elements, even when you want to feel at one with nature.
All of the impressive new touches and features on the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 aren’t limited to the engine and exterior, however, as the inside of this all-new model is also truly stunning. Premium seat bolsters with embroidered black leather-trimmed seats and custom bronze stitching are just some of the details that really set the interior of the 392 apart from other Wranglers, even other Rubicons. These seat bolsters help keep you comfortable and secure on the trail so that you don’t get jostled around too much by rough paths.
The steering wheel not only features mounted controls, which you’d expect but also has paddle shifters. This is the first time steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters have been available on a Jeep Wrangler, and they’re sure to be a popular addition. The 392 features a 7-inch full-color instrument cluster that you can customize to display the information you prefer to keep track of when behind the wheel. While a stunning 8-inch Infotainment display makes it easy to follow directions, and the Jeep Off-Road Pages let you keep track of what’s going on with every part of your Wrangler on the trail. You get all of this while the incredible Alpine Premium sound system envelopes you in stunning audio quality that creates an experience you simply won’t find anywhere else.
All in all, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is exactly what Jeep fans have been asking for from Jeep for a long time. The HEMI V8 engine is sure to be a big hit and will breathe some new life into a vehicle that has built a reputation on legendary off-road performance. This, combined with other models like the plug-in electric Wrangler 4xe, really showcases some bold, new directions for this American icon.
I have to wonder, though, will it be enough? Jeep has a lot of competition coming for them, particularly with models like the Ford Bronco setting their sights squarely on the Jeep Wrangler and everything it has to offer. Personally, I think the powerful HEMI V8 engine could be enough to keep the competition at bay – particularly when you consider the fact that the Bronco pointedly lacks a V8 option of its own.
Have we entered an off-road performance SUV arms race? Only time will tell. But no matter how things shake out, when manufacturers offer more options and new features, drivers are sure to be the winners.