2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392 Highlights
6.4-liter V8 (470 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 470 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm)
Eight-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive
13 city/17 highway/14 combined (EPA, MPG rating)
18.5 city/14.1 highway/16.5 combined. (NRCan class, L/100km)
Base Price: $73,500 (US) / $101,445 (Canada)
Tested: $78,545 (US) / $111,445 (Canada)
Prices include US$1,495 destination charge and Canada US$1,895 (up to US$2,795) shipping, PDI and A/C taxes, which cannot be directly compared due to differences in equipment across borders. Note: This release will not be available in Canada in 2021, but has been added to the 2022 lineup. The Canadian figures are therefore based on the 2022 version.
nobody need The V8 in the Jeep Wrangler. But sometimes brands do things just because they can. That’s the case with this particular Jeep – it has a fucking half-human hood for no other reason than a Jeep.
Well, there is another reason. The company can raise a lot of money.
That’s because adding a 6.4-liter V8 adds a lot of weight. My test car was glued to nearly $80,000.
The Wrangler’s eighty grand. Regardless of which of the V8 and Rubicon Off-Road trims are available—something available with other powertrains—there’s little added to the overall Wrangler experience.
That said, the extra power and exhaust rumble, especially when the dual-mode exhaust system is properly tuned – are appreciated. I’ve driven many Wranglers and the 392 is the first one I’ve ever ridden that really packs a punch. It might be overkill, but who cares? At least until it’s time to refuel – it’s usually the case.
Editor’s Note: While we’re well into 2022, we’ll still be reviewing some 2021 models, especially ones that won’t see major changes in 2022. Partly because these models are important to the market, partly because your model does have some comments on hold while working on other internal projects, and partly because some 2021 is still in the press. In fact, I just recently tested the 2021 Bronco.
Opt for this Wrangler in Rubicon trim and you get a 6.4-liter V8 (470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, Fox shocks, up to 32.5-inch wading, 33-inch tires, 2-inch, eight-speed automatic transmission crawls The ratio is 48:1.
In addition to the V8, you get the standard Wrangler experience, which means wrong highway driving requires frequent steering corrections, lots of road noise and wind. High speed and bouncy ride. Of course, it’s not all bad — the interior of a modern Wrangler is a great place to do business, Uconnect is still one of the best infotainment systems out there, and there’s plenty of off-road goodies, especially in the Rubicon, that you can use if You love offroad adventures.
This author is out of control, all right. I took this Wrangler off-road and it’s as guilt-free as any other, although the extra torque doesn’t seem to be needed on slicker surfaces (even with 4WD engaged and the axles properly locked). You might want the growl, delivery power, or miserable excess of a V8, but you probably don’t need the extra off-road punch.
That’s what I’m admitting in this post – just like the Ford Raptor a few years ago, I’m stuck. Highlights. It’s a similar situation – entering a hole full of water is too slow and has no traction to leave. In my defense, I didn’t just cross in part because the trail was slippery with trees on either side – too much throttle could cause the fishtail to bend the sheets.
I felt a little better about my stupidity when the ranger who pulled me and my buddy told us that the same mud pit had killed a Mojave gladiator the week before. Better because the Mojave was as powerful as the Rubicon, and that puddle brought down two nasty machines, but worse because the Gladiator was apparently badly damaged.
As for this test rig, it brought us home with no noticeable drivability issues on the move. That is, once it is placed in the park, it stops working.
After the incident, I scoured some forums and found that other Wrangler owners report the same problem after going off-road if they get a little too dirty. Maybe rocks or dirt/mud ended up where they shouldn’t be and caused the problem.
I also tried to grab Jeep’s brains about it – after a ton of apologies of course – but was told that while Jeep PR doesn’t hold things against me (shit happens off-road, no sheet metal bends, I Apologies, I’m being transparent, etc.) They’d rather keep the lessons learned in-house. I’ve heard that maybe trans was replaced, although I can’t confirm that.
To be clear, I’m not saying the Jeep failed the off-road test — I failed. Jeep gets the accolades – it got us home. So if you’re eyeing this Rubicon-trimmed Jeep, rest assured that it performs as well as any other Wrangler I’ve tested, and it’s the victim of a bad decision. I would also like to thank the air intake system for keeping the Jeep going even half-under water.
Aside from bad off-road park days, the V8 Wrangler experience, especially in the Rubicon trim, is very similar to that of most other Wranglers—you’re asked to sacrifice some comfort, as well as all-terrain ride/handling aptitude. Here, too, you’re being asked to make more sacrifices — bigger cash outlays, even worse fuel economy. The trade-off is a serious power boost, it’s useful enough on the road, and may or may not help on the road, depending on the situation – sometimes more power is helpful, sometimes it’s unnecessary, Even counterproductive.
Besides the engine, what does 80,000 get you? Of course, all-wheel drive and a rear axle ratio of 3.73. Other standard features include front and rear axle locks, remote start, tow hook, keyless entry and start, blind spot and rear cross-traffic detection, heated front seats, Uconnect, Alpine audio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, audio, USB ports , Bluetooth, 17-inch wheels, body-color three-piece hardtop, fenders and automatic climate control.
Optional features include Firecracker Red paint, trailer bag, cargo bag, all-weather floor mats, off-road cameras and Jeep’s one-touch power top (replacing the body-color hardtop). The price at departure, including the destination fee of $1,495, is $78,545.
Those dismal fuel economy numbers I mentioned? December 17, 2014. yes.
Once I got past the stigma of being stuck (again) and put the Wrangler in the right angle, I walked away with mixed feelings. Putting a V8 in a Wrangler sounds great, and when you mash the throttle, you’ll see why Jeep did it. But for most off-road vehicles, the extra horsepower may not be necessary. I’m not even sure it’s useful on the road—yes, I’ve talked about how this Wrangler packs more punch than most, but the rest of the powertrain on offer isn’t entirely lackluster. They can do most passes and merges without much drama, especially if you’re patient.
When I was younger, I just wanted to say, “Go for it, V8”. Getting older and more experienced, I’d say packing a V8 into a Wrangler is a lot like buying a first-class ticket — much more expensive, and certainly more fun, but not strictly necessary.
What’s new in 2021
Availability of V8 power and enhanced off-road capability.
who should buy it
Those who absolutely need V8 power in a Wrangler — and can afford to pay for it. And fuel.
[Images © 2022 Tim Healey/TTAC]
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