Trucks & SUVs

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 V8 Borrows a Lot From the Jeep Gladiator

Among Jeep Wrangler models, there’s no doubt the Rubicon sits at the top. It’s at the top of the lineup in options, the top of its class in capability, and the top of nearly any hill. But now, engineers have taken this model to the next level with the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler lineup

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As Jeep celebrates its 80th year, it offers some surprises for the 2021 Wrangler lineup. Of course, there’s the Rubicon 392 (we’ll get to that soon), but the 2021 Jeep Wrangler also comes in 14 trim packages in a mix of two- and four-door models. Most trims are some variation or combination of Sport, Willys, Islander, Sahara, Freedom, 80th Anniversary, or Rubicon.

The base-model Sport two-door is the least expensive, starting at $28,475. It has a 285-hp 3.6-liter V6 engine getting a combined city/highway rating of 20 mpg. The limited-time 80th Anniversary Edition starts at $36,415 for the two-door option or $39,915 if you prefer four doors. The 80th Anniversary Wrangler packs a 270-hp 2.0-liter inline-four that gets a combined 22 mpg. 

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon options

You have two options with the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. But terms like “base model” and “standard-issue” have little relevance when discussing Rubicons. However, we must make the distinction somehow with the addition of the Rubicon 392. The base-model Rubicon is available in a two-door version starting at $39,120 or a four-door with a starting MSRP of $42,620. Both models come with a 285-hp 3.6-liter V6, rated at 19 mpg and 20 mpg combined.

Remember, quality doesn’t come cheap, and neither does top-of-class performance. The Rubicon 392, available only in the four-door model, starts at a whopping $73,745. Jeep doesn’t list any projected fuel economy numbers but recommends using premium unleaded gasoline to fill the 21-gallon tank. The 392 packs a 470-hp 6.4-liter V8 that, according to MotorTrend, puts a smile on your face as soon as you start it. And driving it is even better.

What else is new for the Rubicon 392?

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Though Jeep engineers borrowed the Rubicon 392’s engine and transmission from the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, they also borrowed some Jeep Gladiator pieces. It’s important to note that Wranglers have been powered by one of three engine types for several decades, namely the inline-four, inline-six, or V6.

The engineers involved in shoe-horning the massive 6.4-liter V8 into the Wrangler’s slim engine compartment had to get creative. Besides redesigning cross-members and adapting oil filter mounts, one of their biggest challenges was allowing airflow around and to the engine. The Jeep Gladiator‘s grille flows more air than a standard Wrangler grille, but the engineers also took note of the Gladiator Mojave hood. They removed the non-functioning bezel to open the hood’s intake and created a pathway that separates up to 15 gallons of water from the air in the event of pounding rain or splashing through some high water.

But you may ask, what if flying mud, spider webs, or an errant squirrel blocks the hood scoop? Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 engineers planned for such scenarios and added secondary air intakes to keep all 470 hp at your disposal.