Driven: 2023 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 20th Anniversary Is Peak Jeep

Test Drive / 4 Comments

This is the most outrageous Wrangler ever built.

Jeep has built plenty of incredible Wrangler models over the years, but the 2023 20th Anniversary Edition is peak Wrangler. This special edition celebrates 20 years of the Wrangler Rubicon, available as a hybrid 4xe model or a V8-powered 392. CarBuzz was recently thrown the keys to the latter, which holds the title as the most expensive production Wrangler ever built starting at $90,895 (not including a destination charge of $1,795). With options, this Jeep can exceed six figures.

We get it: $100,000 sounds like an insane amount of money to pay for an SUV with manual seat adjustment and no luxury accoutrements like massaging or hands-free driving. However, if you are a diehard off-road enthusiast, the 2023 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 20th Anniversary might go down as the most capable and collectible Jeep ever built. Here's why.

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20th Anniversary Touches

The 20th Anniversary Package adds $8,400 to the price of the already expensive Wrangler Rubicon 392, but you get a decent amount of equipment in return. Jeep applied plenty of 20th Anniversary graphics to the exterior as well as a unique seven slot grille that other Wrangler models will not get until the 2024 model year. That grille is complemented by a triple hoop grille guard and steel bumper, which includes a mounting point for a winch.

As standard, the Rubicon 392 rides on 35-inch tires with the Xtreme Recon Package, but the 20th Anniversary gets an additional half-inch lift for improved ground clearance. Buyers who truly want the ultimate off-roader can opt for the Level II upfit by American Expedition Vehicles (AEV). This package ups the tires to 37-inches (for the first time ever on Wrangler) with 17-inch Savegre II wheels, a 2.5-inch DualSport RT Suspension System with Bilstein 5100 shocks, a Warn VR EVO 10-S winch, unique bumpers and skid plates, and more. With the Level II upfit, the Wrangler boasts its most impressive off-road specs ever: 14.2 inches of ground clearance, 37.1 inches of water fording, a 50-degree approach angle, 33-degree breakover angle, and 43-degree departure angle.

Just be warned, this package costs $20,135 (not including a $995 upfit logistics charge), so it will take the Wrangler well above $100,000.

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A Celebratory Interior

On a regular Rubicon 392, the only interior option is black leather with a bronze stitch. It's honestly a bit boring compared to the rest of the vehicle. On the 20th Anniversary Edition, Jeep went mad by fitting bright red/black seats with Rubicon 392 stitching blow the headrests. The interior is further differentiated with a red leather dashboard and matching red seatbelts. As a final touch, there's a 20th Anniversary shifter medallion on the top of the gear level. This bold red cabin may not be to everyone's taste, but it's the interior the Rubicon 392 always deserved.

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Other Handy Touches

If you opt for the 392 version of the 20th Anniversary Edition, you'll get a unique feature that is not available on any other Jeep model: a built-in air compressor. It's integrated into the tailgate with an easy-to-use adjustment dial and a start/stop button. Simply plug in the included hose attachment, and the compressor can refill the tires after the air has been let out for off-roading in the sand. It can also inflate a basketball or football in just a few seconds.

The 20th Anniversary Wrangler also gets an 83-piece toolkit, which will no doubt become a collector's item on Ebay, and a special plaque on the rear swing gate. It's an additional $2,200 option, but at this price we'd absolutely add the Sky One-Touch power top, which can open or close automatically with one button.

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An Endangered Species Under The Hood

This is almost certainly one of the last Wrangler models to ship with a Hemi V8 engine. Jeep has confirmed that the Rubicon 392 trim will stick around for the 2024 model year at a minimum, but we don't know how much longer this engine has before it's forced into retirement. The Wrangler is fine with a V6 or turbo-four, but the 6.4-liter V8 offers an enjoyment factor that we've seldom experienced. With 470 horsepower and the same amount of torque, the V8 jolts the Wrangler into motion with the ferocity of a scared animal. There's even a loud exhaust button to amplify the animal's growl.

The plug-in hybrid 4xe might be just as capable off-road, but it doesn't deliver the same hilarious aural delight. Just be warned that you will only get around 13 mpg - even with a light foot.

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Verdict: Get It While You Can

The 20th Anniversary Package is a one-year-only option, so get it while you still can. Jeep already announced the 2024 Wrangler, so it won't be long before order books close on the 2023 model year, and that 2024 model won't have the tire inflator or the 37-inch tires. There is no limit on how many Jeep will build, but AEV will only offer 150 of the Level II upfit on a first-come, first-serve basis. We didn't get to drive the Wrangler with the 37-inch tires, but based on our test car with the 35-inch tires and no running boards, we imagine you will need a stepladder to get in and out.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the Rubicon 392 20th Anniversary Edition (especially the AEV upfit) will be a collector's item, especially as Jeep pushes towards electrification. A six-figure investment today might look like a bargain in a few years.

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