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A blue 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is shown from the side while off-road.

Wrangler Rubicon vs Rubicon 392––What’s the Difference?

For many years, the Jeep Wrangler has been the definitive off-road vehicle. Because of its long-standing lineage in both military and civilian use, it’s acquired a reputation for toughness and resolve. Visiting any local Jeep dealer, you’ll quickly realize that not only is the Jeep Wrangler an accessible vehicle, but one that’s versatile and can meet the needs of just about any sort of adventurous activity. This is due to the fact that the 2023 Jeep Wrangler comes in a variety of different trims, with some being more suited for the daily commute in the city than the rigors of off-roading and vice versa. However, we’re going to focus on its two most rugged options: the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392. There are quite a few differences between the two, so let us begin.

Two Doors or Four? It’s Up to You…

While the first noticeable difference between the two trims is the added “392,” which refers to the engine configuration, there’s much more that separates these two vehicles from one another. Rather than start with what’s underneath the hood, we thought it was more appropriate to start with the exterior of the two models. One of the most exciting aspects of the Jeep Wrangler is that with just a few minor adjustments, it can be transformed into a dune buggy. Removable tops and doors have always been an exciting selling point for some drivers, and both models have unique configurations in this regard.

However, the 2023 Wrangler Rubicon can be had as either a four-door or two-door model. Many drivers prefer the two-door configuration, as it’s reminiscent of the old Jeeps that were part of the Allied war effort in World War II and popularized on the M*A*S*H* television series. The two-door model also has a tighter turning radius and better breakover angle, which comes in handy on the trail. However, the 2023 Wrangler Rubicon 392 comes strictly in a four-door setup, which is needed to help tame its immense power. Still, the four-door gives you more cargo space and room for a fifth passenger, so this might not be a limitation if you want a roomier vehicle.

A blue 2024 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is shown from the front while off-road.

Performance and Power

As we previously stated, the “392” in the name refers to what’s underneath the hood. Now that we’ve taken a look at the configurations of both vehicles, it’s time to see what each one offers in the performance department. Drivers who choose the standard 2023 Wrangler Rubicon will find a robust 3.6L V6 engine. This setup is highly adaptable to either off-road or city driving, offering 285 hp and the capability to generate 260 lb-ft of torque. Drivers will be able to exert maximum control over their commute with the benefit of a six-speed manual transmission. This is enticing for many, as automatics are becoming more and more commonplace in this day and age, particularly with SUVs and trucks.

The 2023 Wrangler Rubicon also has two other engines available. The first is a turbocharged 2.0L I-4 that produces 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. This engine is a bit more fuel efficient in addition to having more low-end torque, making it a good fit for off-roading. However, if you want to maximize torque and efficiency, there is the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6. With 442 lb-ft of torque on tap, nothing will slow you down. Both of the optional engines come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which is also available for the 3.6L V6.

As for the Rubicon 392, it’s time to explore the main attribute that’s connected with the name of the model in question. The “392” refers to the 392 cubic inch displacement of the engine. That’s right, this model is powered by a 6.4L HEMI V8. It should be noted that the Rubicon 392 is the only variation of the Wrangler to have eight cylinders available, and the fact that it’s a HEMI to boot is more than enough to generate excitement. 470 is the magic number when describing its exploits, as it corresponds to the amount of horsepower and torque that can be generated. Like its sibling, the Rubicon 392 pairs its engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Drivers who have a predilection for performance will certainly feel right at home behind the wheel of this beast.

Fuel Economy

Drivers who choose a vehicle based on performance usually understand that conservative fuel consumption isn’t a part of the equation. However, with the unpredictable nature of fuel costs, it’s necessary to take a look at this attribute of both variations of the Wrangler. Testing conducted by the EPA showed that the two-door version of the 2023 Wrangler gets up to 23 MPG combined with its 2.0L turbocharged engine or 21 MPG combined with its 3.6L V6 engine. The 3.0L EcoDiesel, which is only available in four-door models, is rated for up to 25 MPG combined. The 2023 Wrangler 392, on the other hand, with its design geared towards performance, gets just 14 MPG combined.

Interior Features

Looking past the powertrain, we think it’s very important to examine the interior of both vehicles, as this is where you spend most of your time. The Wrangler’s interior design keeps everything close and compact, meaning easy accessibility to the infotainment screen, gear shifter, and steering wheel. The Rubicon and Rubicon 392 both feature exquisite amenities, including a high-end Alpine stereo system with a 552-watt amplifier and nine speakers, as well as leather upholstery to promote maximum comfort during your travels. One advantage that the Rubicon has over the Rubicon 392 is storage space, which stands at 72.4 cu.ft. in four-door models, as opposed to 67.4 cu.ft. in the Rubicon 392.

A red 2023 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is shown from the side after leaving a Jeep dealer.

Suspension and Off-Road Readiness

There’s certainly no denying that the Wrangler is well-regarded among off-roading enthusiasts as one of the best vehicles to take on the path less traveled. Any Wrangler can handle the rigors of the trail and the desert sands with minimal difficulty, but both the Rubicon and Rubicon 392 have extra equipment for just such an occasion. Starting off, both vehicles are equipped with five skid plates to safeguard the underbelly.

More importantly, both vehicles come with Jeep’s top-of-the-line Rock-Trac 4×4 system. This is an upgrade over the base Wrangler’s Command-Trac system, adding a lower crawl ratio and front and rear locking differentials. The Rubicon and Rubicon 392 also have a front sway bar disconnect for added articulation. Either model is certainly capable of taming any landscape, but there’s no doubt that the Rubicon 392 has a slightly more competitive edge than its sibling when it comes to performing at higher speeds.

A Final Verdict

With several trims available for the 2023 Jeep Wrangler, you might be wondering what our individual pick is. Well, it’s hard to say. The individual attributes that drivers prefer are always subjective. Both the Rubicon and Rubicon 392 are exceptional vehicles that offer performance and capability that go far beyond normal expectations, and either can be a good fit, depending on what you are looking for.

If you’re looking for a vehicle you can drive to and from work every day and use to escape on the weekends, then the Rubicon will be more than ideal for your immediate needs. It will also be best suited for off-roading beginners, as its less powerful engine will eliminate the temptation to screech across the desert sands. However, if you have a strong desire for adventure and performance and want to conquer every terrain imaginable, the Rubicon 392 may be the one for you. It will grant you access to genuine HEMI power and a sophisticated design that will allow you to live your off-road lifestyle to the fullest.