2021 Jeep Wrangler 392 review: High-speed off-road high jinks

Victoria D. Doty

It will climb up just about nearly anything. Emme Corridor/Roadshow It is really a pretty strange sensation: Here I am behind the wheel of a 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon SUV, and I’ve just chirped the tires and rocketed to sixty mph in less than 5 seconds. It is really unnatural. […]

It will climb up just about nearly anything.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

It is really a pretty strange sensation: Here I am behind the wheel of a 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon SUV, and I’ve just chirped the tires and rocketed to sixty mph in less than 5 seconds. It is really unnatural. And I adore it.


  • Ability, electricity, electricity
  • Drives up and around nearly anything
  • Guaranteed to spark joy

Do not Like

  • Awful handling
  • Poor gasoline financial state
  • Rather high-priced

It is really been forty several years due to the fact the 1981 Jeep CJ had a 5.-liter V8 underneath the hood, developing a mere a hundred twenty five horsepower. Instances surely have modified — the 2021 Wrangler Rubicon 392 uses a 6.four-liter Hemi V8 with a stonking 470 hp and 470 pound-feet of torque. It tends to make for heart-pounding, head-tossing, seat belt-locking and maniacal chuckle-inducing pleasurable. But there are even now a number of challenges with this usually thrilling package deal.

When I start out the 392, it defaults to the wake-the-neighbors loud location, so correct absent I know it means business enterprise. All around town, the V8 burbles and grumbles, the eight-pace computerized transmission quietly doing the job in the qualifications. When I get to a extended straight on a back street, I switch to the paddle shifters (in a Jeep!) and floor it. The nose rises up, my head snaps back and the entire-time 4-wheel-drive procedure will get the electricity down to the 33-inch BF Goodrich KO2 tires. Immediately after about four.5 seconds, I am at sixty mph. Goodness.

Slowing down is a a great deal extra harrowing encounter. The 392 has the similar dimensions rotors and calipers as a conventional Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, and boy do I want some thing extra capable of handling this SUV’s electricity — you need to have to stop a great deal quicker than you assume. This is 1 situation the place I might gladly decide for larger wheels if it means fitting more substantial brakes behind them.

I certainly want much better steering, far too. Jeep Wranglers are quite imprecise on their very best times insert in a ton of electricity and the 392 is downright ponderous. This is form of to be expected presented the Wrangler’s architecture — it truly is a 5,000-pound box intended to go just about everywhere. The 392 is significantly brief in a straight line, but a corner-carver it is not.

I actually want more substantial wheels, if only so Jeep can give larger brakes.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

The Wrangler 392 has a 1-inch lift around a Rubicon and a 2-inch lift in comparison to the conventional Jeep Wrangler, so its off-street geometry is a bit much better. Curiously, the 392’s ground clearance is actually a half-inch reduced than it is on the Rubicon — 10.three inches in comparison to 10.8. The 392 has entrance and rear locking differentials, a disconnecting sway bar and a two-pace transfer situation. The 392 has Jeep’s Selec-Trac transfer situation with a 2.72 minimal variety, and at the time the math is performed with the three.73:1 last drive ratio in the Dana 44 axles, you occur out with an extraordinary crawl ratio of 48:1. A conventional Rubicon has a ratio of seventy seven.2:1, but bear in mind, that’s just a representation of how a great deal the torque is multiplied as a result of the axles prior to it hits the ground. Considering that I’ve got 470 lb-ft, the 392 can even now rock crawl with the very best of ’em.

On the other hand, if you might be expecting the Wrangler 392 to go bombing as a result of desert whoops at 50 mph like it truly is a Ford F-a hundred and fifty Raptor, you can overlook it. The Wrangler’s Fox shocks are tuned to deal with bigger pace, but the 392 can only deal with 15 mph to 20 mph in the whoops prior to you max out the suspension’s journey. It is really way far too straightforward to outdrive the shocks’ abilities. An aftermarket extended-journey package with piggyback reservoirs would certainly be my first update if I owned 1.

470 horsepower in a Jeep Wrangler. Crazy.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

As I tactic some steep dunes, I press the Off-Highway As well as button and calibrate it for Sand, which adjusts the throttle, transmission and traction control. I can also lock the rear diff in 4-wheel drive large ought to it grow to be required. The dunes all have whoops at the base, so I can’t have far too a great deal pace. But at the time I am out of them, it truly is hammer down and the 392 very easily scrambles to the prime. Here, I can use the ahead-dealing with digital camera to get a peek at what is on the other aspect of the dune prior to barreling down to the future 1.

And that’s the delight of the 392. The conventional Rubicon often just will not have the electricity to speed up up dunes and other smooth, scratchy hills except if momentum is carried across the reduced aspect of the terrain. With the 392 I can baby the Wrangler until it truly is harmless and even now make it to the prime like a boss. This is the Jeep I want in the dunes.

I come to feel like I can climb each mountain in the 392, and I could very likely ford each stream if I could come across 1 out here in the desert. The 392 has a trick intake procedure that can flush out 15 gallons of h2o per minute. It is really harmless to ford 32.5 inches of h2o, even if the h2o at first arrives up around the hood. And ought to the hood scoop get blocked by mud or snow, there is a secondary path for the air to enter the engine. I’ll need to have to hold out for monsoon season to consider this out.

Ideal driven with the roof off.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Visually there is not a great deal to distinguish the 392 from a conventional Rubicon save for some bronze accents, requisite badging, a thicker steering wheel and some extra aggressively bolstered seats. The similar Uconnect infotainment procedure is observed within, with Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle on an 8.four-inch shade touchscreen. Uconnect is straightforward to use and a Roadshow favored. I adore Jeep’s off-street webpages with details on pitch and roll, electricity distribution, temperatures and GPS coordinates with altitude.

My tester also has with the fancy-trousers Sky One-Contact electricity smooth prime. It could be termed 1-touch, but the button desires to be held the complete time for the prime to retract, and it will take 17 seconds to do so. It is really a pleasant update, but the conventional smooth prime is quite straightforward to function. Effectively, straightforward for a Jeep. Getting the prime down, the home windows out and the doorways off is not just a brief system. Oh, and word to the wise, be absolutely sure to shut the prime if you depart the 392 for any period of time of time in the desert sunlight. The black leather seats can get pretty toasty.

As is to be expected, all this ridiculous electricity will expense you. The 392 is the most high-priced of all Wranglers, starting at the whopping rate of $74,995 such as $1,495 for vacation spot. That’s $31,025 extra than a base Rubicon. My tester with the upgraded convertible prime, trailer tow package deal and ahead-dealing with digital camera arrives to an remarkable $78,545. Yowza.

Not lots of automobiles are this hilariously pleasurable.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

It is really also worth mentioning you can get a crate 392 engine from Mopar and all the required accoutrements for correct about $19,000 if you want to go the Do it yourself route, but that’s not an possibility for most of us and there is not any kind of manufacturing facility guarantee on areas you install by yourself.

Hmm, I suppose I ought to mention gasoline financial state, not that anyone’s shopping for a V8-run nearly anything with effectiveness in intellect. The EPA prices the 392 at thirteen mpg city, 17 mpg highway and 14 mpg merged after a 7 days of testing, I am observing thirteen.three. And you know what? I will not even treatment. The 392 might be flawed, high-priced and thirsty but it offers foolish thrills you won’t come across everywhere else.

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