2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 excels as a big-boy toy


My dad had a trinket that now sits in my show case amongst a group of diecast automobiles. The small wooden plaque says, “The distinction between males and boys is the value of their toys.” For Dad, these toys had been Pontiac muscle cars and drag cars.

I haven’t been as fanatical about big-boy toys as he was, however the automobile I drove this week could be the final big-boy toy. It was the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, which quantities to an grownup Tonka truck, and it got here decked out with fairly a couple of toys of its personal.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is outfitted prefer it was concocted in a bull session between a few car-crazy preteens:

“Dude, what if we took a Wrangler and jacked it up and caught some massive, knobby tires on it.”

“Yeah, with beadlock wheels.”

“Completely, what if we shoved a V-8 in it?”

“Yeah, however not that wussy 370-hp 5.7-liter V-8. Let’s go massive, bruh, with the 6.4-liter model and its killer 470 hp!”

“And all of the off-road goodies, like a disconnecting sway bar, and entrance and rear lockers, and an excellent gradual crawl ratio.”

“Dude, that may be the final word Mad Max off-roader.”

“We’ll trip everlasting, shiny and chrome!”

Extra like muddy and badass, however you get the purpose.

The Wrangler Rubicon 392 lives as much as all that bluster and extra.

Simply the act of climbing into the Rubicon 392 exhibits it’s constructed for critical obligation. Within the curiosity of improved off-roading, the 392 lacks operating boards, and with 10.3 inches of floor clearance getting in requires a excessive leg kick and a powerful core.

Subsequent, a press of the beginning button triggers your internal automobile geek. It fires up with an unmistakable American thrum and burble that alerts its intention to go quick and sort out any terrain, maybe on the identical time.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

Out on the highway, it’s tempting to play with the throttle to bounce the exhaust notice off close by buildings and really feel the Jeep rear up on its haunches and lift the entrance finish like a ship within the water. A push of the dual-mode exhaust button opens extra baffles to rumble a bass soundtrack and alert your neighbors to each match of joyous acceleration.

The Rubicon 392 comes customary with Jeep’s Selec-Trac four-wheel-drive system, which works full time, has a 2-speed switch case, and is teamed with entrance and rear locking differentials. Though the knobby tires are made extra for off-road than on-road traction, four-wheel drive received’t let the Rubicon 392 spin its 285/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. 

All that traction made the engine lavatory down within the few cases once I brake torqued it for a tough launch. It requires the proper throttle enter to realize Jeep’s quoted 4.5-second 0-60 mph time, and by extension, the quoted 13.0-second quarter-mile time.

I bear in mind when my dad’s gutted drag automobile ran 13s, so it’s loopy to assume a Wrangler is that fast. Nevertheless, as soon as I really feel the pull because the Rubicon 392 climbs up via the gears, it’s extra plausible. Nonetheless, it shouldn’t be potential for a automobile that sits this excessive to be this quick.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

Jeep does what it might probably to stop bogging with a torque reserve technique that manages gas circulation and controls spark advance and retard to stability output for max energy and launch conditions. With out it, the bogging might be worse. The transmission additionally options AMAx shifting that manages engine torque and coordinates shift timing so the engine can throw as a lot energy into the transmission as it might probably deal with when shifting.

The suspension, body, and brakes are additionally beefed as much as deal with the facility. The entrance body rails, entrance higher management arms, and cast-iron knuckles are stiffer; heavy obligation widetrack Dana 44 axles are mounted entrance and rear; the suspension geometry is tweaked to accommodate the heavier engine; and efficiency Fox shocks are used to enhance sturdiness and dealing with on- and off-road. The brakes are barely bigger than these in common Rubicons as effectively.

Twenty years in the past, placing this a lot energy right into a Wrangler would have been irresponsible. The excessive trip top, quick wheelbase, and prodigious energy would have created a tip-happy SUV and a class-action lawsuit. Now, nevertheless, Jeep has the four-door physique fashion that will increase the wheelbase by 21.6 inches, the Fox shocks assist wrangle all that top and weight, and general suspension expertise has come a great distance for the reason that TJ Wrangler.

Regardless of its prepared energy, the Rubicon 392 doesn’t ask to be pushed exhausting into corners, at the very least not on the highway. It nonetheless drives like a Wrangler, and which means imprecise recirculating ball steering, numerous physique lean, and a jiggly trip. Nevertheless, the loopy energy and heavy-duty suspension had me dreaming of high-speed desert runs and depraved off-road jumps. It has the suspension to deal with that kind of beating and the facility to make the beating even worse.

Jeep says the Rubicon 392 is essentially the most succesful Wrangler but. Whereas that’s definitely true by way of energy, the Rubicon 392’s off-road functionality beats the usual Rubicon in some methods and may’t match it in others. It’s method and departure angles of 44.5 and 37 levels finest the usual Rubicon by 0.6 and 0.5 levels, respectively, and its 22.6-degree breakover angle is a match regardless of sitting a half inch decrease.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

The Rubicon 392 may ford 32.5 inches of water, which is particularly spectacular as a result of the hood incorporates a purposeful scoop to assist that monster motor breathe. To realize this, Jeep makes use of what it calls its Hydro-Information air consumption system that has three ranges of ducting and a sequence of drains. The system can separate 15 gallons of water per minute from the engine’s incoming air. It could even work if a bow wake flows over the hood or if the hood scoop is blocked by particles as it might probably use air from an alternate path.

Among the many Rubicon 392’s different off-road toys are an digital disconnecting entrance sway bar, an Off-Highway Plus drive mode that engages the rear locker at velocity like within the Gladiator Mojave, 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels that mount 33-inch tires, and a 48:1 crawl ratio. The latter isn’t as little as the usual Rubicon’s 77.2:1 ratio, however it should group with the engine’s wonderful grunt to enhance low-speed rock crawling.

Jeep costs a big-boy worth for all that energy and functionality. The Wrangler Rubicon begins at $74,995 and my Firecracker Crimson tester got here to $78,545 thanks partially to the $2,000 Sky One-Contact Energy-High. That’s additionally a far cry from the Wrangler TJ, which began at simply over $15,000 in 2001.

Apart from a gravel highway, I didn’t check the Rubicon 392’s off-road prowess. I do know it’s there, although, primarily based on my expertise in different Wranglers. I did, nevertheless, get pleasure from goosing the V-8, although it’s virtually obnoxiously loud. It’s additionally correctly fast and appeals to the 12-year-old automobile fan in me. I can perceive wanting one on the road and the path, however I can’t perceive spending that a lot cash on a big-boy toy.

Jeep offered every week within the 2021 Wrangler Rubicon 392 for this editor to burn fuel and annoy his neighbors.

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