Wrangler Rubicon 392 Ownership: V8 Excitement Dampened at the Fuel Pump
At long last, the Jeep Wrangler has a V8. Brutality is the name of the game for Stellantis’ American brands, with the group’s lauded HEMI V8s sneaking into unexpected nameplates. Jeep became the latest recipient with the all-new Wrangler Rubicon 392. The off-roader now offers the same 6.5-liter HEMI V8 made famous by the Dodge Challenger and Charger Scat Pack variants. Jeep enthusiasts are itching to get their hands on the V8 Wrangler and find out what it’s like to own. Fortunately, some new reports shed light on what you can expect.
Long-term testing the V8 Wrangler
The Wrangler Rubicon 392 has been around long enough now for some true long-term testing. MotorTrend received its long-term tester last year and compiled more than 3,000 miles of driving experience. Its conclusions about daily driving experience with the V8 Wrangler reveal some important truths about owning a muscle-bound off-roader.
Worth the wait for a hearty V8
Naturally, MotorTrend’s staff were big fans of the new V8, hailing the 392’s “pure power and speed.”
It’s no surprise. The 6.4-liter V8 is a throwback to an older, more primitive style of performance. Rather than electric motors or turbochargers, the 392 uses brute force and displacement. Floor it and you’ll feel 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet torque swell to propel the V8 Wrangler past 60 mpg in just over 4 seconds. It’s by far the most powerful and fastest production Jeep Wrangler. It’s an SUV that’s more fun to own than it is practical.
Cramped cargo capacity
While the Wrangler Rubicon 392 does come with four doors, that doesn’t mean it’s especially practical for cargo.
MotorTrend reports that cargo space is somewhat limited. The story reports a pretty tight space behind the back seats that barely carries enough luggage for a family weekend trip. The Wrangler fares better with its rear seats folded down – but that reduces passenger space. It’s something to keep in mind for more practical ownership needs.
Fuel efficiency farce
One thing makes the V8 Wrangler ownership rather expensive: It earns laughably bad fuel economy. The 6.4-liter V8 is a thirsty beast, averaging about 13 mpg city and 17 mpg highway. MotorTrend’s long-term tester did even worse, averaging less than 13 mpg with its Xtreme Recon package. By contrast, other Wrangler engines can easily break 20 mpg on the highway.
It’s part of the deal with old-school V8s. In order to enjoy them, you have to accept that fuel economy is not a priority. Embrace the reality of painful gas station visits and you’ll be liberated to fully enjoy the primal performance.
What’s special about the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392?
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 may not be perfect – but it earns the right to be called a special SUV. Jeep fans have been clamoring for a stock V8 Wrangler for decades. They’ve pined for power and excitement to match the Wrangler’s outstanding off-road capability. Now, in the twilight of the V8 age, Jeep has answered the call. The V8 Wrangler arrives just in time to satisfy primordial desires before we press on into an electrified SUV future.