What is the Difference Between a $30K and an $80K 2023 Jeep Wrangler?
Most people think of Wrangler as an affordable yet capable off-road SUV. However, the 2023 Jeep Wrangler has one of the largest price ranges of any car on the market.
The base Sport 2-door trim starts at a very reasonable $31,000. The Rubicon 392 trim starts at $82,000—the same price as a nicely equipped C8 Corvette. The big question is, what does over $50,000 more buy you?
Sport 2 Door: All the Jeep you need
The Sport 2 Door is the quintessential Jeep. These days, when you picture a Jeep, you’re likely picturing one of these three: a 1940s Willy’s, XJ Cherokee, or a 2 door Wrangler. The Sport comes standard as a 2-door with a 6-speed manual transmission paired with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that has been under the hood of Wrangler since 2012.
This engine makes 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque and, for most applications, is more than enough power. The V6 does the job while getting 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
If you want to opt for the 8-speed automatic, you’ll have to fork over an additional $2,000. Unfortunately, the 6-speed manual’s gear lever feels great, but the clutch is light, numb, and incredibly vague, possibly making the automatic worth the added cost.
The base sport is fairly spartan with cloth seats, hard plastics, and minimal amenities, but does come standard with a 7-inch touchscreen that has Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
Rubicon 392: $50k for a V8
A modern Jeep Wrangler with a V8—what’s not to like? Opting for the 392 is likely a decision led by the desire for V8 power. V8 power is kind of Stellantis’ specialty lately and this Jeep certainly doesn’t disappoint.
The Rubicon 392 has a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 that puts out 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. This allows this 5,000 lb off-road machine to accelerate to 60 mph in 4 seconds, reports Car and Driver—the same time as a Volkswagen Golf R.
Because the 392 adds nearly 200 hp and torque over the standard V6 engine, Jeep did a few things so the vehicle could handle the extra power, albeit barely.
To compensate for the giant engine, Jeep strengthened the frame, added a two-inch lift with Fox shocks, and upgraded the rear brakes. The fat price tag also gets you a hood scoop that can separate and drain 15 gallons of water a minute, something you may need if you choose to take your Wrangler where it belongs—off-road.
In addition to all the special off-road goodies—including the 17-inch beadlock rims and beefier axles—you get leather heated seats, a heated steering wheel, an upgraded 8.4-inch touchscreen with Uconnect, and LED interior lighting.
The 392 only comes in 4-door guise, which costs an additional $4500 even in Sport trim. This obviously adds extra doors but allows for an extra seat giving you the opportunity to carry 4 passengers with a 0 to 60 mph of just 3 seconds in the 2 door.
Ultimately, the Rubicon 392 includes many lovely additions to make the cabin feel more premium and obviously give the vehicle more capability, but do they warrant the $82,000 price tag?
If you love it, buy it
This is a vehicle that wasn’t designed with a V8 in mind and therefore drives like “a rocket propelled basset hound”, according to Car and Driver. So, is the Rubicon 392 worth $50k over a lower trim?
To most? No. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be worth it to you. If you want to enjoy Dodge, Chrysler, and Jeep’s farewell to the V8—have at it. You may end up emptying your savings, but you’ll have a lot of fun doing it.