Versatile 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness Makes You Feel Dirty

I’ve driven it in the mountains, I’ve driven it on trails.  I’ve driven it through snow, and I’ve creeped like a pack of snails.  But, until now, I hadn’t driven it in Midwestern spring weather.  I first met the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness at its preview in California wine country.  Then, I put one through its paces in Utah last fall.  One visited Indiana just in time for snow last winter.  Now I’d just like to enjoy this versatile boy without drama.

To be honest, it makes me feel a little dirty – the kind of dirty that makes you want to find dirt.  Designers started with what’s essentially a jacked up Impreza hatchback, gave it 9.3” of ground clearance, and clad it in angry black plastic cladding from facia to wheelwells to lower sills, and around the back.  Check the black anti-glare hood patch and 17” matte black wheels shod in Yokohama GEOLANDER tires too.  The roof rack is rated 700 lbs. for pop-up tents.  Anodized copper accents identify tow hooks and other attachment points, so it’s not all for show.

It looks like it can take you and your family almost anywhere on a weekend adventure…and it can.  Wilderness editions employ a 2.5-liter “Boxer” four-cylinder engine that routes 182 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft. of torque through a continuously variable transmission.  All-wheel-drive is standard.  A turbo would be nice, as would a geared transmission, but the CVT can be paddle-shifted through eight pre-set ratios.  Better, it can tow up to 3,500 lbs. – enough for a pop-up camper or fishing boat.  Fuel economy rates 25/29-MPG city/highway.

Moving inside, a giant 11.6” tablet-style touchscreen takes center stage, but proper volume and tuning knobs plus buttons for key climate controls add convenience.  Devices connect wirelessly through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  Charge wirelessly too.  I’m a fan of the heated StarTex “vegan leather” seats that are all-day comfortable and easy to wipe clean.  Crank the crisp 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio!  Looking closer, I remember copper accents on the steering wheel, shift knob, gauges, and seat stitching.  Toss in gear and groceries through the wide hatch.

Back in Utah where asphalt turns instantly to rough gravel, the Crosstrek comes with a plethora of technology to stomp dirt.  Dual Mode X-Mode, a traction control system that allows the car’s AWD system to claw through deep mud/snow, employs hill descent control to automatically creep down steep inclines (in case you need such things).  The enhanced suspension is as adept at soaking up potholed city streets as articulating over rough trails.  It has an insane amount of capability whether tackling trails or just getting to dinner.

Being a Subaru, safety is a key feature.  It’s comforting to know the Crosstrek Wilderness comes with an extensive suite of safety tech that includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise, lane keep assist, and blind spot warnings.  Rear cross path detection with auto brake protects rear fenders while a new three-camera “EyeSight” system detects obstacles ahead and can even steer around them.

The Crosstrek Wilderness laughs at rough trails and deep snow, but what’s it like for urban sunshine and weekend fun?  Turns out, pretty good.  Its height and size make it easy to slip into with ample space for kids, sport and all the kit.  A high seating position and short length make quick work of parallel parking spaces and downtown garages too.  Thick rubber and suspension travel add comfort no matter the road.

It’s also a good deal.  Base Crosstreks start at just $25,195, rising to $35,810 for our well-optioned Wilderness.

Storm Forward!

 Send comments to Casey at [email protected]; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.