2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Subaru, SUV, Test Drives

Subaru’s Crosstrek is a respected vehicle placed within the lineup of reliable crossovers that delicately offers up a car-like driving quality but remains technically classified as an SUV. That SUV characteristic is pushed further with the introduction of a new Crosstrek trim that’s more suited for off-roading in the new Crosstrek Wilderness.

The new Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness takes what most like about the small car-like SUV and gives it a better chance to conquer rugged terrain. Touted as the most rugged and trail-capable Crosstrek thus far, the Wilderness trim adds what is needed to tackle off-roading trails with a bit more confidence than other Crosstrek trims.

Building off of an already decent platform, the Crosstrek Wilderness gets a half-inch suspension height increase for a total of 9.3 inches of ground clearance, increased suspension travel from a revised setup, the higher trim powertrain featuring the 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque version of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer (horizontally opposed) engine mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), unique body and interior graphics with contrasting copper color accents, and all-terrain tires to complete the package. Moreover, you get all you can out of the popularized Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system – Subaru revises system for better footing on off-roading trails and the use of the dual-function X-MODE to dial up the preferred terrain setting for either Snow, Dirt, Deep Snow, or a Mud mode for maximizing traction on such conditions. In such modes, the CVT lowers its ratio for better handling of inclines and loose off-roading terrain, lessening the need for aggressive use of the accelerator.

See Also: 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium Review & Test Drive

Already, I praised the Crosstrek receiving many welcomed updates for the redesigned 2024 model year in previous reviews, including the CVT allowing the engine to rev a bit higher upon initial acceleration. However, the inconsistent power delivery still remains, and with the CVT’s slowing reaction to inputs at times, the Crosstrek feels a bit poky at some speeds, but manages to make it to 60 mph from a stop in 8.6 seconds. The emulation of a traditional automatic transmission with the virtual ratio kick downs performed by the CVT only goes so far, even if the Crosstrek Wilderness is more suited for off-roading adventures.

What I do like about the more off-road suited Crosstrek Wilderness is how well it adapts to driving it on the road, whereas the Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tires do well to prevent road noise and are quite good at handling pavement and mitigating hydroplaning on rain-soaked roads. On off-roading adventures, the tires grapple and dig into various sandy trails that I took inspiring a new level of welcomed confidence.

In all, Subaru offers up the Wilderness trim to target those who like occasional off-roading escapades. By offering such, Subaru has a more affordable off-roading option outside of the more expensive Outback and its upper trim levels that come with additional off-roading equipment. The smaller size of the Crosstrek is workable for most as there’s a good amount of space for its class, and you have a decent 11.6-inch portrait-style infotainment touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The only interior drawback remains to be the abundance of hard plastics, while the Crosstrek Wilderness is more suited for such an interior and its water-resistant StarTex upholstered seats with heating in the front, and all-weather floor mats with embroidering to match the seat headrests and exterior Wilderness badges. Cleanup has never been easier in a Crosstrek than it is in the Wilderness trim. Moreover, you get the latest iteration of Subaru’s EyeSight safety system, combining a bevy of proven active safety features that seem be more proactive than many competitors.

There’s a lot more to like in how the Crosstrek has become a more mature vehicle over the years, even if it isn’t exactly a zippy vehicle on the road. Still, you have confidence of Subaru’s proven reliability, a decently sized interior with just the right amount of tech, and the unique style of a more rugged small crossover that doesn’t break the bank at the price of $35,560 (including $1,295 destination charge) for my test vehicle that includes the Wilderness option package (power moonroof, power driver’s seat, Harmon Kardon sound system).


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