On the Road review: Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

If you’re the Jeep Division, Stellanti’s most profitable brand in America, and a formidable rival develops a model that will appeal to your customer base for your core product, of course you strike back to stick to what you’ve really worked for. When it comes to Jeep, like the Dodge siblings, you throw a huge boatload of power into the engine compartment and see the customers line up!

Adding horsepower has long been a car industry philosophy because consumers always want more. Larger V-8 engines, check out. Double turbo instead of one, check. Hi, Tesla does not sell very stripped down Model 3 electric cars – buyers go for the bigger, more powerful batteries. Your planet-saving neighbors are not hungry for fancy Nissan Leafs – they want Tesla with Ludicrous mode.

And with Jeep about to be in a sales battle with Ford’s new Bronco, let’s give the masses something to really talk about – a Hemi-powered Wrangler with 470 horsepower and 470 pounds / feet of stone road torque.

Although it has been 40 years since Jeep offered a factory V-8 in the Wrangler (the 1981 CJ was available with a 125-hp 304-V-8 – a retention from the AMC days), the aftermarket has built up lots of ” authorized “Wranglers with neck-strong V-8 engines for several years. Jeep has also built countless V-8 prototypes for its various customer focus group expeditions.

And before you ask, it seems inevitable that Jeep will soon go up in the hot-selling Gladiator – with some kind of V-8 engine. Right now, for a hefty $ 225,000, you can order a Gladiator Maximus (understand that?) From Hennessey Performance Engineering in Texas that uses the compressor-powered Hellcat V-8 to produce an incredible 1,000 horsepower – and it comes with a warranty !

Wrangler 392, currently available only in Rubicon trim from a rugged $ 75,000 ($ 78,545 shown with multiple options) expands a comprehensive engine range from the king of off-road vehicles. Jeep Wranglers can be ordered with a V-6 engine, a turbocharged four, a turbodiesel, a plug-in hybrid driveline and now a race-derived 6.4-liter V-8. There are five different engines to satisfy whatever driving style you want to embrace with your Wrangler. We do not love elections!

Not to make matters worse, but Dodge has found itself quite relevant with its various R / T, SRT, SRT8 and Hellcat models – all selling well, all generating revenue for a brand that has not seen a lot of style changes in his modest line-up. Sharing these paid power plants with the Jeep family is perfectly industrial.

Still, Jeep added a lot more to the Rubicon to make it work better with this monster engine tucked into the engine compartment. The frame is considerably reinforced, the chassis has actually been lifted 2 inches and wider, higher wheels are used (with bead-lock rims). The excellent eight-speed automatic comes directly from the Charger / Challenger (except with modes for the transfer case, which has no conventional 2WD setting), while tougher Dana front and rear axles put that torque down to the ground. You can even burn out and waste those 33-inch BF Goodrich tires if you want.

Visually, everyone who gives you the Jeep wave recognizes the higher ride – as well as the giant dome-shaped hood with the functional bucket at the front and not very subtle 392 emblems on each side. Special towbars in gold, special alloy wheels plus a dual-position quad-exhaust system with driver control are part of the package. The deep rumble at start-up, as well as the complaint at redline, that the pipes emit will not make you fall in love with your neighbors, but other gear leaders will rejoice.

So agile, so fast that the 392 literally jumps from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds – the territory of the pony car. You will not use the paddle gears – a Wrangler first, because the eight-speed is so good.

Filled with amenities and creature features, the most amazing part of the whole Rubicon 392 experience was how well it drove. Sure, it still has some Wrangler handling dynamics, but the 392 was easily the best handling and best drive the Wrangler has ever tried. And then you press the crying pedal and you will be surprised again.

In glorious Firecracker Red, how fitting, our 392 also had the Sky One-Touch Power-Top, a combination of solid hard-top and enormously powerful convertible top. You can modulate the size of the opening while driving, increase airflow as needed.

EPA fuel economy estimates are 13/17 mpg, but do not let that deter your fun. We realized over 18 mpg for the week while enjoying the V-8.

Fun, exciting, cool to look at and a tantalizing power package, the Rubicon 392 adds a fifth dimension to off-road driving with the Jeeps Wrangler.

Tim Plouff

Tim Plouff has examined cars on the sides of The Ellsworth American every week for almost two decades.

Tim Plouff

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