Auto123 reviews the 2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392.
The reign of the big cars is coming to an end as the auto industry turns increasingly to 4-cylinder powertrains and electrified solutions. But until the EV transition is complete, established automakers will continue to sell gasoline-powered vehicles, to meet demand but also to finance that transition.
In fact, some brands are using this interim period to offer special editions of vehicles already in service, a strategy that the FCA-Stellantis group has mastered perfectly, notably with its Dodge Challenger/Charger tandem. In other words, the strategists know how to push things to the limit, within a millimetre or two!
For 2022, the Jeep Wrangler also benefits from the manufacturer's expanded catalog of powerful engines. Its new Rubicon 392 variant is the ultimate symbol of the passion that reigns within the multiple divisions of the former FCA (Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles) empire. The folks who work at Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram but also Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Maserati are passionate and it shows.
Getting a big 6.4L HEMI V8 under the hood of the 4x4 is quite a feat, as space is at a premium there, but they managed. Admittedly, this new variant wasn't really necessary, the regular versions of the Wrangler being more than enough to handle the most demanding surfaces.
This most powerful Wrangler in history - with 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque - is also a direct and pre-emptive riposte to the much-anticipated Ford Bronco Raptor, Dearborn's new muscle car that pushes the limits of the already competent “regular” Bronco via a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 good for more than 400 hp.
The Rubicon 392 is a beast, you guessed it, a 4x4 that could not only cross the worst obstacles on the globe, but also end up sleeping in a garage, waiting to be resold at a high price in a few years.
Before our driving impressions, five important facts about this V8-powered variant of the most iconic Jeep:
Base price: $101,445. For a model that starts at less than $40,000 (before prep fees), it's pretty hard to understand how a mechanical change alone justifies this astronomical sum.
There’s more. The tester I drove had over $12,000 worth of options added: Towing Package ($495), Xtreme Recon Package with 35-inch tires ($4,995), Floor mats ($225), Gorilla glass for the windshield ($250), Folding canvas top ($4,295), Integrated off-road camera ($595), and let's not forget about the $2,000 federal levy for the Wrangler's rather high fuel consumption.
Fortunately, engineers added some more serious components to the Rubicon 392, including a permanently engaged four-wheel drive system, the Off-Road Plus option that adds Sand and Rock modes to get out of trouble on occasion. Also note the presence of wheels specially designed for aggressive driving and a higher-than-usual suspension. In short, there's more hardware on this special Wrangler, but is it enough?
For the sound
Equipped with a more-vocal exhaust system, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 knows how to make itself heard. You have little chance of going unnoticed in such a machine, because the four-pipe system, especially when a certain button on the dashboard is pressed, emanates a most muscular symphony. In fact, this button is especially useful when the “humming” of the engine becomes annoying or when you don't want to wake up the whole neighborhood when coming home in the evening... or early morning!
An even more serious Wrangler for off-roading
Equipped with the Xtreme Recon package - a package available on other variants of the vehicle, by the way - the Wrangler 392 is much more aggressive in its approach with beadlock wheels, 35-inch tires, a rear axle with a 4:56 axle ratio, a Dana M210 front axle, a reinforced arm to support the larger spare tire at the back, high-performance brakes and plastic fender extensions.
Let's just say it doesn't need much to be truly ready to tackle the worst terrain on the planet. A winch would probably be welcome, but hey...