The Subaru Wilderness family is growing. This time around, the Crosstrek is getting the “rugged off-road” trim. The Crosstrek Wilderness will have the most ground clearance of any Wilderness model yet, along with the biggest hood decal and white letter tires.
Yes, nearly every company that builds a crossover or SUV these days is building something like Subaru’s Wilderness line. For most of them, that’s because they’re trying to emulate Subaru. The brand has been able to set itself apart by offering a line of vehicles that are ready to go places others aren’t. Or at least give you the image that they are.
This means that to some extent, Wilderness is Subaru trying to out-Subaru its competition, showing that its ruggedness is more authentic than the ruggedness of a Honda TrailSport or the Toyota RAV4 TRD Adventure Woodland.
Subaru started that with the Outback Wilderness and followed up with the Forester Wilderness. The model got new graphics, fancy seat covers, and even more cladding, but it had some useful upgrades as well. With the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness, the brand is expanding the family to three and is adding even more good hardware.
Bigger Engine Leads List of Upgrades
Crosstrek Wilderness starts with the 2.5L boxer-four that was otherwise reserved for the Sport and Limited trim grades. The engine makes 182 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, and those figures are needed to help move the Crosstrek around.
There are new parts from the ground up, beginning with the tires. As you’ll find on the Forester and Outback Wilderness models, they’re Yokohama Geolander all-terrain tires. The more aggressive rubber wears the three-peak mountain-snowflake icon showing you there is some winter capability, and the Yokos are plenty durable for off-pavement use.
What the bigger Subarus don’t get are the raised white letters on the Crosstrek Wilderness. It’s a classic look for tires and one that should be on plenty more off-roaders.
Lifted Suspension, Tougher Springs
The Crosstrek Wilderness adds 0.6 inches of ground clearance. It’s not a lot but gives this Subaru a total of 9.25 inches. That’s more ground clearance than any other current Subaru. It’s also more than any other small crossover. You’ll need to step up to something much larger like a Grand Cherokee to beat it.
It’s not just a “stuff spacers in the strut mounts and call it a day” job, either. Subaru has added longer springs and longer dampers. So it has even more suspension travel than a standard Crosstrek.
The shocks are tuned to handle the taller ride height and to deal with all the off-roading you’ll do. A bit of a special feature, the springs have a thicker coating than Subaru normally applies. The extra paint helps keep them from corroding after picking up rock chips on a gravel back road or trail.
The 4.1:1 gears in the front and rear differential help multiply torque for slow crawling. They also let the Crosstrek Wilderness climb slopes 7 degrees steeper than the standard model.
A stronger new rear differential helps stand up to the extra torque. Combined with a new CVT cooler and larger radiator and radiator fan, Subaru was able to increase towing. Rated to haul 3,500 pounds, this is tied for the top in the segment.
The approach angle increases from 18 to 20 degrees. Breakover is up from 19.8 to 21.1, and departure rises by 2.9 degrees to 33. That’s helped not just by the lift but also by the new bumpers. They’re cut out at the corners to improve Crosstrek’s clearances.
Tent-Ready Roof Rack
On the top of the Crosstrek Wilderness is a new roof rack. Like the rest of the Wilderness line, it’s designed to hold up to 700 pounds when parked — enough for a roof tent and a couple of people in it. When driving, the load limit is 176 pounds, which is still plenty for gear that won’t fit in the back.
The exterior of the Crosstrek Wilderness has plenty of new touches. There’s the matte black hood graphic that is meant to block glare, for one. This is the largest of the graphics on a Wilderness yet. There are also lots of anodized yellow touches and massive Subaru lettering on the rear bumper.
Inside, Crosstrek Wilderness has soft-touch all-weather seat covers. Copper-colored contrast stitching and more copper-finish accents help complete the look. All-weather mats are standard, and there is a rear cargo tray for keeping muddy gear off the carpet in the back.
The last of the upgrades is Subaru’s dual-function X-Mode. It comes with snow/dirt and deep snow/mud modes that tweak traction control and CVT ratio settings to optimize control and traction on slippery surfaces.
Expect the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness in dealers later this year. Pricing starts from $31,995 and dealers will likely take your order now if you want.