2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness
Subaru’s Wilderness Family Grows By Going Smaller
There are no more passionate wilderness seekers than Subaru owners. So much so, that a few years ago, the brand decided to apply the Wilderness name to their most rugged and trail-capable vehicles. Well, the latest Subaru to earn its way into the Wilderness family is the compact Crosstrek. So, let’s get lost in the details.
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness joins the Outback and Forester Wilderness. And, having spent time in all of them, this is where the treatment might be the most appropriate. This tiny terror was already quite adept at backwoods exploring with its tidy size, great all-wheel drive system and 8.7-inches of ground clearance.
We truly love the Wilderness way, and even asked Subaru for just such a vehicle in our original XV Crosstrek road test back in 2013. That’s when the former Impreza Outback Sport started down this more rugged path with the name change to Crosstrek. But perhaps we’ve arrived at peak Wilderness as with each model they’ve gotten a little more heavy-handed with the add-ons.
We’re fine with the thicker body cladding, rugged-looking front and rear bumpers, added metal skid plating, anti-glare hood, and even the not-so-subtle logos; but the copper-colored roof rack supports are a bit much, though the beefier rack itself will hold up to 700-lbs. The rest of the Wilderness upgrades are much more to our liking: Yokohama Geolander all-terrain tires on matte black 17-inch alloys, increased suspension travel with a smoother off-road ride, and more than half an inch of extra ground clearance; plus, revised differential gearing and a retuned CVT to improve low end operation.
All of this boosts the Crosstrek’s already impressive off-pavement fame. You may still not want to tackle the Rubicon Trail, but with the better low end throttle response, Dual X-Mode control, extra ground clearance, plus the Geolanders, the Crosstrek Wilderness can handle some pretty serious mud, ruts, and deep snows.
Inside, front seats are still not the most comfortable, but they are covered in StarTex water-resistant material. But we suggest not hosing out the interior, even if you do cover the large 11.6-inch multimedia screen. The Wilderness is fitted with the Crosstrek’s biggest engine, a 182-horsepower naturally aspirated 2.5-liter boxer-4 with 178 lb-ft. of torque. That’s 30 horsepower more than the standard Crosstrek. And, with the added transmission oil cooler, Subaru now sets the tow rating at 3,500-lbs. There’s also plenty of room inside for most adventures with 20.0 cubic-ft. of cargo space, expanding to 54.9 with the rear seatbacks folded.
Even with the added power, it still has the same friendly feel behind the wheel as every Crosstrek we’ve driven. And while this 2.5-liter is perfectly adequate in daily driving or backwoods exploring, we were hoping for a little more excitement at our Mason Dixon test track.
Like most Subarus, there was a spirited initial jolt off the line, but things plateau quickly with the CVT keeping RPM at max levels, and slow but steady acceleration from there. It took 8.6-seconds to hit 60, but that is almost 2-seconds quicker than the standard Crosstrek we tested a few months ago. And while you think about it, 182-horsepower is more than adequate for a vehicle this size. We realize they are no longer in vogue, but a manual transmission would go a long way towards making it feel like you’re getting up to speed quicker, and it would certainly add some macho factor as well. Our best ¼-mile time was 16.6-seconds at 86 miles-per-hour.
That extra ground clearance didn’t impede us in our handling course as there was minimal body roll. The all-terrain tires were definitely searching for grip at times. Steering was light, yet still provided decent feel.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 25-City, 29-Highway, and 27-Combined; though we averaged just 25.7 miles-per-gallon of Regular. No doubt the knobbier tires played a part in that. With a base Crosstrek going for $26,540 these days, $33,540 doesn’t seem bad at all for this loaded up adventure-ready Wilderness version.
The new Wilderness family has truly taken the Subaru brand to an adventurous new level of capability and rugged style. This 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness may be the smallest and newest member of the family, but to us, it’s also the one that will actually connect owners with the Wilderness the best!
- Engine: 2.5-liter boxer-4
- Horsepower: 182
- 0-60 mph: 8.6 seconds
- 60-0 Braking (avg): 119 ft.
- MW Fuel Economy: 25.7 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: CVT
- Torque: 178 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 16.6 seconds at 86 mph
- EPA: 25 City | 29 Highway | 27 Combined