Introduction to Taking the Subaru Crosstrek Off-Road

The Subaru Crosstrek is often thought of as just another small crossover SUV for the city or suburbs.

Subaru Crosstrek$26,795Check On the Official website here 

However, with standard all-wheel drive, decent ground clearance, and available traction control features, the versatile Crosstrek can handle much more than paved roads. With some modifications, it can be transformed into a highly capable off-road exploration vehicle.

The crosstrek’s Stock Off-Road Capabilities

Even in completely stock form, the Crosstrek has some respectable credentials for handling dirt roads and mild trails thanks to design elements like:

  • Symmetrical all-wheel drive system – Provides balanced power distribution and excellent traction on loose or slippery surfaces.
  • 8.2 inches of ground clearance – Significantly more than most small crossovers, letting the Crosstrek clear rocks, ruts, etc.
  • X-MODE traction optimizationAvailable X-MODE improves throttle response and transmission control for added traction in mud, deep snow, or climbing steep slopes.

However, the stock Crosstrek does still have some limitations when taken off-road, especially in terms of front overhang clearance and the need for more aggressive tread tyres to claw through mud or gravel.

The Purpose-Built 2024 Crosstrek Wilderness Model

New for 2024, Subaru introduced the Crosstrek Wilderness model focused on improving the vehicle’s off-road credentials. Upgrades include:

  • Increased ground clearance – Now a very impressive 9.3 inches to clear larger obstacles.
  • Dual function X-MODE – Allows custom tuning of traction control for different types of terrain.
  • All-terrain tyres – The fitted Yokohama Geolandar tyres significantly improve traction on dirt, mud, gravel, etc.

In testing, the Wilderness model performed well climbing steep slopes and pushing through deep mud and sand. Its capabilities now far exceed those of the regular Crosstrek trims.

Aftermarket Modifications for Extreme Off-Road Use

2024 Crosstrek Wilderness Lift kit

For even more challenging off-road trails, the Crosstrek can be outfitted with a range of aftermarket upgrades:

  • Lift kits & skid plates – Increase ground clearance and protect key components from damage.
  • All-terrain/mud terrain tyres & wheels – Provide more aggressive tread for traction.
  • Suspension upgrades – Allow bigger tyre fitment and improve articulation over rough terrain.
  • Winches & recovery gear – Used to extract the vehicle if it ever does get seriously stuck.

With such upgrades, the Crosstrek can take on tough obstacles like rock crawling or driving through deep mud pits. Care does need to be taken though not to exceed load limits too far.

Converting the Crosstrek for Multi-Day Overland Travel

Another popular option is converting the Crosstrek into an overland adventure vehicle for extended off-grid camping trips covering long distances over various road types. Useful modifications include:

  • Roof racks – Provide a stable platform for carrying cargo boxes and gear securely.
  • Rooftop tents – Provide comfortable sleeping quarters off the ground. Can include integrated mattresses, storage, and even awnings.
  • Onboard power & water – Compressor fridges, auxiliary batteries, and water tanks can support multi-day journeys.

With the right upgrades, the Crosstrek has huge potential as an off-road overlanding rig. Just take care to match planned trail difficulty with current vehicle capability and modify as needed.

 Subaru Crosstrek and its Off-Road Rivals

The Subaru Crosstrek has carved a niche as a capable and affordable companion for exploring beyond the pavement. But with a growing number of adventurous contenders, which one deserves a spot in your garage? Let’s delve into the crosstrek’s strengths and compare it to worthy competitors:

The crosstrek’s Off-Road Credentials:

  • Standard all-wheel drive: A major perk, providing superior traction on gravel, snow, and light trails.
  • Available 2.5-litre engine: For those seeking more oomph on inclines, the upgraded engine offers 182 horsepower.
  • Wilderness trim: The ultimate adventurer, boasting 9.2 inches of ground clearance, upgraded suspension, and underbody protection.

Crosstrek vs. the Competition:

1. Jeep Compass Trailhawk:

Jeep Compass Trailhawk
  • Strengths: Legendary Jeep brand, superior off-road capability with disconnecting sway bar and 8.6 inches of ground clearance, fun and rugged design.
  • Considerations: Lower fuel economy compared to the Crosstrek, boxy design might compromise fuel efficiency.

2. Ford Bronco Sport Badlands:

Ford Bronco Sport Badlands
  • Strengths: Impressive off-road prowess with Terrain Management System™ and 30-degree breakover angle, tackles technical trails with ease.
  • Considerations: A higher price tag compared to the Crosstrek, and smaller cargo space might limit practicality for extended adventures.

3. Kia Seltos AWD:

Kia Seltos AWD
  • Strengths: Value-oriented option with intelligent AWD system handling light off-roading, spacious interior for weekend getaways.
  • Considerations: Not as rugged as the Crosstrek or its competitors for serious off-roading.

4. Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road:

Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road
  • Strengths: Legendary Toyota reliability, capable off-road with Multi-Terrain Select system and 9.0 inches of ground clearance, good choice for moderate trails.
  • Considerations: A larger size might feel less nimble compared to the Crosstrek, potentially higher fuel consumption.

Remember: The ideal off-road companion depends on your individual needs and priorities. Consider factors like budget, desired terrain difficulty, fuel efficiency, cargo space, and brand preference. Take these contenders for a test drive and see which one ignites your adventurous spirit!

Here’s a quick comparison of starting MSRP for popular off-road-oriented SUVs in the USA:

ModelStarting MSRPKey Features
Subaru Crosstrek$26,795Standard AWD, good fuel economy, comfortable interior 
Jeep Compass Trailhawk$36,890More rugged off-road capability, unique Jeep styling, spacious cabin 
Ford Bronco Sport Badlands$38,390Most powerful engine option, removable roof panels, advanced off-road tech
Kia Seltos AWD$27,150Value-oriented, modern features, spacious interior, longer warranty
Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road$37,385Improved off-road capability over standard RAV4, good fuel economy, reliable Toyota brand

Additional Considerations:

  • Prices may vary depending on dealer markup, options, and your location.
  • Consider test-driving each vehicle to find the best fit for your needs and preferences.
  • Read expert reviews and compare features carefully before making a decision.

Bonus Tip: Explore the “Wilderness” trims of other competitors like the Ford Bronco Sport or Jeep Wrangler for more extreme off-road capabilities.

I hope this comprehensive overview empowers you to find the perfect off-road partner for your next adventure!

Also Read – SUV vs. Hatchback: Making the Right Choice for Your Lifestyle

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