The new 2022 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392 Xtreme Recon is insane. There's really no other way to put it. The Hemi V8 engine tops the list of an array of engines that include a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, a 3.6-liter V6, a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6, and two plug-in hybrid options for four and six-cylinder engines. While the new V8 might not be the totally insane Hellcat engine with its 717 horsepower and 656 lb-ft of torque, it's still more than enough power to impress even the most dedicated Jeep Wrangler owner.
Is it even remotely necessary to have this kind of power in the most rugged version of the Wrangler Unlimited? No, absolutely not. Is it great to have choices? Absolutely. It's an interesting juxtaposition when compared to the hybrid models that just came out last year. The regular Wrangler with the Pentastar V6 isn't exactly miserly to begin with, and the 392 apparently doesn't give a crap about current gas prices. We had the opportunity to drive it to northern Wisconsin for a family ski trip, and we loaded it to the teeth with kids, luggage, ski gear, and food. Here are our impressions.
The 392 in Unlimited format is the most expensive Wrangler you can buy, but even fully loaded it doesn't creep near six figures. The thought of buying a Wrangler for $83k and change is still a bit harrowing, though. The mere notion of a Wrangler that can launch to 60 mph faster than a 5.0-liter V8-powered Ford Mustang GT is downright shock and awe-inducing. I mean, what the hell does anyone need this for? Nevertheless, it exists.
Here are the specifications
- 2022 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392 Xtreme Recon
- Base MSRP: $74,800; Tested Price: $83,400
- Engine: 6.4-liter V8; Transmission: 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters
- 470 horsepower, 470 lb-ft of torque
- Standard Features: Auto on/off automatic headlights, dusk-sensing headlights, LED foglights, engine immobilizer, 17-inch aluminum wheels, 17-Inch X 7.5-Inch Beadlock-Capable Wheels, 3.73 Rear Axle Ratio, LT285/70R17C BSW Off-Road Tires, Uconnect 4C Navigation with 8.4-inch display, Bluetooth, HD Radio, Premium Sound System, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Adaptive Cruise Control Automatic Climate Control, heated leather-trimmed bucket seats, heated steering wheel, remote keyless entry, pushbutton start/stop, backup camera, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Rear Parking Aid, tire pressure monitor, brake assist.
- Options: Xtreme Recon 35-Inch Tire Package ($3,995) 110-MPH Vehicle Max Speed Calibration,17-Inch x 8.0-Inch Bronze Beadlock-Capable Wheel, 35-Inch Tire Rubicon 392 Suspension, 4.56 Rear Axle Ratio, LT315/70R17C 113/110S Tires, Hinge-Gate Reinforcement by Mopar, Jack Spacer by Mopar, Tire Relocation Kit by Mopar, Wheel-Flare Extensions; Sky One-Touch Power Top ($2,000):
How Does It Drive?
There's nothing subtle about the way the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392 drives. It's harsh on the road, frighteningly quick, and it handles like a freezer on wheels. It has the exhaust note of a three hundred grizzly bears simultaneously getting jabbed in the hindquarters with a red-hot poker, and since it only comes in four-wheel drive, the thing launches with no regard for your organ meats. It slams everything into your seat and makes you wonder who at Stellantis called in sick that day that would've probably put a stop to the 392's production.
With 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, the Wrangler Rubicon does the 0-60 sprint in 4.0 seconds and will do the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds at 104 mph. It tops out at 112 mph. When you're traveling at 90 mph in the upsized 35-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires (Xtreme Recon package), something feels really wrong about it all. There's a lot of steering correction, cross-winds all day long, and all the ride comfort of a rocket sled. Don't take turns hard because the 392 is tall, has uplifted suspension, and is not exactly taut. This is a straight line beast.
Although we didn't try it, supposedly you can smoke all four of the 392's tires if the road is just a tad wet. Yup. You'll get a ticket before you even hit the speed limit just out of the sheer obnoxiousness of it all. It even has a sort of launch control with the Torque Reserve feature. This thing is all kinds of trouble. Is it thrilling to drive? Not exactly, but it is positively mindblowing.
Don't look for anything really special inside the 392 aside from model-specific seat stitching that sets it apart. The red locking diff control surround plate looks pretty cool. For $83k, you don't get a ton of special stuff inside, but that's ok. The front seats are comfortable and well-bolstered, and the overall trim quality is pretty good. It maintains that Jeep Wrangler ethos, and it has all the utility you need, bolstered by a really good Uconnect infotainment system that's attractive, responsive, and easy to use.
And yes, you can absolutely go off-roading in this thing with its low-range four-wheel drive, but you can also do totally stupid things like open up the exhaust baffles to make the 392 obnoxiously loud. Cylinder deactivation kinda helps with gas mileage, and it tones down the noise, but don't be fooled. The 392 has a meager EPA estimated 13 mpg city and 17 highway. Our fully loaded 392 was packed to the gills with gear and tykes, and we managed a rather embarrassing 14.3 mpg over a few hundred miles of road tripping.
In terms of cargo capacity, the Unlimited isn't huge. We had the second row up due to kids, so we couldn't capitalize on the 67.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats folded flat. Now, that's not a pack-leading number compared to the Bronco 4-door's 89.27 cubic feet. We had to contend with a mere 27.7 cubic feet, but we were also able to shove four pairs of skis between the doors and the roll bars. That's probably not very safe, but oh well. Necessity is the mother of invention, especially when the retractable soft top can't take on a roof rack. Thanks, Jeep.
The Rubicon 392 is one hell of a Wrangler, but no one on earth needs this thing. It's all about want. If you want to off-road, any other 4WD Jeep Wrangler will do just fine, in four or six-cylinder guise. The 392 doesn't really give you more than a regular Rubicon except for the face-warping power, the deafening exhaust note, and a hood scoop that threatens small animal life. Do we want one? Of course we do.