Despite many delays, the Ford Bronco is still one of the most highly anticipated vehicles this year. With all its serious off-roading gear and durable construction, it’s thought to be the only serious competitor to the Jeep Wrangler. However, the latest Wrangler incarnation just might give the Bronco a run for its money.
Meet the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, the most powerful Wrangler yet. It gets its name from something even the Bronco can’t brag about: the 392-cubic-inch HEMI V8 under its hood. How does this Wrangler compare to the most powerful Ford Bronco model? MotorTrend gives us the details.
Details about the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392
This formidable Jeep Wrangler’s HEMI V8 produces 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This engine usually occupies larger Jeep models, so a few modifications had to be made. Brand-new exhaust folds fit snugly on the engine’s sides and the alternator is now up top.
It also has a new induction system so that the Wrangler Rubicon 392 can ford bodies of water. Multiple air paths were also installed to keep the hood scoop clean of any off-roading debris. This special Wrangler also has a reinforced body framework and higher ground clearance.
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 also benefits from some handling improvements. In a 0-60 mph test, it got a blistering time of 4.5 seconds. It’s more stable in an off-road setting thanks to upgraded Fox shocks and a rear anti-roll bar.
The Selec-Trac active transfer case with low gear mode is standard and shifts between “4 Auto” and “4 Part-Time” modes. Also equipped are the Dana 44 axles, with the biggest brakes of the entire Wrangler lineup. The 17-inch wheels are clad in beefy 33-inch tires.
During MotorTrend’s test drive, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 showed a surprisingly smooth ride quality on civilized roads. Acceleration comes quickly and the transmission shifts smoothly in time to the driver’s inputs. Off-road, the Rubicon 392 never gets stuck in the sand and proved to be an exceptional rock-crawler.
MotorTrend was also particularly impressed with the torque response during low-speed gearing. The 392 seemingly doesn’t have many flaws, though MotorTrend longed for slightly bigger tires. MotorTrend also felt that the performance of the Fox shocks dwindles as you push the Wrangler to its limits.
Will the Ford Bronco ever have a V8?
Currently, the most powerful Ford Bronco engine is a twin-turbo V6 capable of 310 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, Ford has announced that there are no plans for a Bronco V8 in the near future. Motor1 reported that navigating strict emissions requirements was the main reason behind this, despite customer demand.
However, some lucky drivers can still get their hands on a V8 Bronco thanks to Hennessey Performance Engineering. The engine-swapped Ford Bronco VelociRaptor will reportedly make 750 hp, paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission. Production is unfortunately limited to only 24 units, costing $225,000 each.
The cost of a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392
The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 comes with a hefty price tag of $74,995. That’s way more than a regular fully-loaded Rubicon, but MotorTrend argues that it’s actually a pretty good value. As evidenced by the Bronco VelociRaptor, swapping out one engine for another is often a complicated and expensive endeavor.
With the Rubicon 392, the best engine is already installed and comes with a factory warranty too. This Wrangler is also on sale now, whereas some Ford Bronco models have been delayed to 2022. If anyone wants to experience the power of a V8 inside a Wrangler, we wouldn’t pass up the 392 version.