Home » The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness Won’t Impress Your Brain But It Will Win Your Heart

The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness Won’t Impress Your Brain But It Will Win Your Heart

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Pretty much everyone loves the Subaru Crosstrek. It’s a vehicle that can do moderate off-roading while still offering decent fuel economy, affordability, and safety — and that’s a huge deal for many people. Plus, the Crosstrek is small enough to be parked without being impractical, and above all: It looks cool. The Crosstrek can do it all, and now for 2024, Subaru is offering an even more capable version called the Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness. And while overall the Wilderness is an incredible product that will win your heart over, the actual machine itself is objectively… just OK. If that doesn’t make sense, read on and allow me to explain.

What Is The Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness?

The Subaru Crosstrek has been around since the 2013 MY, quickly becoming Subaru’s best-selling offering, in large part due to its affordability. Last year Subaru sold 155,142 of the things in the U.S. alone — that number beats the hot new Ford Bronco Sport, and it even defeats the Jeep Compass and Renegade combined.

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People want small, they want efficient, they want practical, they want all-weather-capable, they want safe, they want reliable (and to some, the fact that it’s Japanese provides comfort on that front), they want cool, and they want all of that for cheap. That’s a lot to ask, but for years, Subaru has been delivering it.

Screen Shot 2023 10 01 At 7.27.20 AmThere’s a new third-generation Crosstrek out for 2024, and it’s not a huge departure from the last one. Having made its North American debut at the Chicago Auto Show this past February, the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek sadly ditched the manual transmission but kept the 152-hp, 145 lb.-ft. 2.0-liter boxer engine as well as the also-not-particularly-powerful 182 hp, 178 lb-ft 2.5-liter boxer — both hooked to Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs). Subaru’s summary of the new Crosstrek’s changes includes the following:

  • 10-percent stiffer chassis for improved dynamic performance and ride quality
  • 11.6-inch SUBARU STARLINK® center information display available
  • EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology is standard across the model
  • Available wireless Apple CarPlay® and wireless Android Auto™
  • Starting MSRP of $24,995* (Same as 2023 Crosstrek)

So the 2024 Crosstrek has the same engines, the same automatic transmission offering, a few basic chassis changes, a new interior with a big screen and available Wireless Apple Carplay/Android Auto, new standard safety features, and a similar asking price.

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So the new Crosstrek isn’t really that new, but it’s new enough. Subaru isn’t here to fix what isn’t broken.

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The new Wilderness model — the third in Subaru’s lineup behind the Outback and Forester (Subaru says it would have been first had it not been for the fact that the old Crosstrek was near the end of its life-cycle) — also isn’t that different. It takes the Crosstrek and adds — well, let’s just let Subaru tell you in another bulleted list:

  • Upgraded suspension and all-terrain tires
  • 9.3-inch ground clearance
  • Unique exterior and interior design
  • Standard EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology
  • Standard 2.5-liter engine and improved 3,500 lb. towing capacity
  • Starting price of $31,995

You’ll notice that the standard EyeSight driver-assist technology exists on both lists, meaning this is not actually new for the Wilderness model (Subaru listed that feature just to emphasize its importance, I’m assuming). Subaru breaks some of that list down a bit further in its press release, mentioning a retuned CVT and a new transmission cooler (which cranks up the Wilderness’s towing capability by over 2,000!):

Subaru engineered the Crosstrek Wilderness drivetrain for better off-road performance by installing a revised differential gear ratio and retuned Lineartronic CVT. The 4.111 final drive ratio (vs. 3.700) improves the SUV’s climbing ability and the new tuning for the CVT optimizes traction at low speeds and on slippery surfaces. Additionally, maximum towing capacity more than doubles to 3,500 lb. thanks to the addition of a transmission oil cooler.

Subaru also mentions a skid plate and a new grille:

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To visually communicate the more capable off-road performance, the Crosstrek Wilderness adds exclusive styling with all-new front and rear bumpers, bold hexagonal front grille, larger wheel arch cladding, metal front skid plate, unique hex-design LED fog lights and an anti-glare hood decal in matte-black finish.

Here’s a look at the grille on a new Crosstrek Sport:

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And here’s the one on the Wilderness:

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You’ll notice the auxiliary transmission cooler on the Wilderness and not on the Sport. Here’s a closer look at the Sport:

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And here’s the Wilderness’s stacked-plate style cooler:

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The Wilderness’s cooler is accompanied by a new rear differential, and an overall final drive ratio of 4.1 versus the standard Crosstrek’s 3.7 (this, along with the CVT’s 4.066 lowest gear ratio, brings the crawl ratio to about 17:1, which is numerically lower than that of the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk’s 20:1 or the Ford Bronco Sport’s 18:1, but not by a whole lot).

Here’s the Crosstrek Sport’s rear differential, in case you’re curious:

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And here’s the Wilderness’s rear diff; notice significantly more cooling fin area

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All these changes come together to crank the Crosstrek’s tow rating from 1,500 pounds to 3,500 pounds — a huge jump, and one that means one could easily tow their average side-by-side to the off-road trailhead.

So that’s the gist of the changes for the new Crosstrek Wilderness: a skid plate, new exterior and interior touches (including “anodized copper” accents inside and out), revised rear differential and differential gearing, revised CVT tuning, a lift, a transmission cooler, and some all-terrain tires on unique matte-black wheels.

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The Wilderness model costs $1,100 over the Limited, but does not get leather powered seats, making do instead with manual “StarTex” synthetic leather seats. When compared to the cloth-seat-equipped Sport model, the Wilderness is a $3,000 premium. Here’s a look at some of the aesthetic tweaks that the Wilderness brings over the Sport:

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That “SUBARU” text in the rear bumper cover looks great.

How Does It Look And Feel?

As shown in the photos above, the Crosstrek Wilderness looks a bit more aggressive than the Crosstrek Sport, with extra black plastic body cladding, all-terrain tires, a unique grille, and a slight increase in ground clearance, but honestly: They both look fantastic. Subaru does a great job of making cars look legitimately special, using ground clearance, short overhangs, cladding, roof racks, and especially color to give the vehicles true soul. And make no mistake: That — along with a competent all-wheel drive system — is what sells cars like the Crosstrek Wilderness. It certainly isn’t the interior or the way the vehicle drives on the street.

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To be sure, the 2024 Crosstrek’s interior is decent given how inexpensive the car is (the non-Wilderness starts at about $26,300). Here’s the outgoing Crosstrek’s cabin, which could be had with either a 6.5-inch or 8-inch infotainment screen (the one shown is the 8-incher):

23 Crosstrek Sport Interior

And here’s the new Crosstrek Wilderness’s, which features an 11.6-inch screen (the base Crosstrek gets twin seven-inch screens instead, and looks pretty rough). Sadly, the HVAC controls are now accessed via the touchscreen; that is a step backward as far as user interface is concerned, though luckily the HVAC buttons are permanently present when the screen is on. Also a sad deletion? The manual park brake, which has been replaced with an electric one; so to everyone who enjoyed ripping that hand brake in the snow and kicking their Subaru’s tail out: It’s a sad day.

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Here’s a closer look at the 2024 Crosstrek Wilderness’s big screen equipped with wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto. It worked great during my test drive:

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You’ll see in the image above a nice, big trip computer reset button just to the right of the steering column. I appreciate that. You may also notice a weird plastic panel on the steering column. That’s there to cover where the keyed ignition cylinder would go on base-model Subaru Crosstreks.

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Does it look a bit cheap? Sure. And so do the heated seat switches on the center console, which could have come straight out of 2001:Screen Shot 2023 10 01 At 6.29.34 Pm

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The shifter is a basic PRNDL, not unlike what’s been found in cars since the 1980s. To be sure, plenty of other vehicles use PRNDLs, though my point is that there’s really nothing special going on in the Crosstrek Wilderness’s cabin. It is thoroughly fine.

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There’s plenty of space, the seats are comfortable enough, and visibility is decent.

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I was actually impressed by how much legroom there was in the back seat. I’m five-foot-eight (on a warm day), and had a ton of space to stretch my legs when seated behind myself. The cargo area, too, is OK, though the floor is a bit high off the ground (I’d definitely want a ramp for a dog):

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There are USB charging ports for front and rear passengers, and there is a wireless charger below the screen. Can you get a much, much better interior in a similarly-sized vehicle that costs the same price as the Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness? Absolutely. See the Mazda CX-5, which, though all-wheel drive, can’t off-road like the Crosstrek can, but surely drives much better on the road. Speaking of…

What’s It Like To Drive?

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My drive began early last Wednesday at a Utah glampsite, and took me through beautiful Zion National Park’s twisty and well-maintained roads. Red rocks abounded, with plateaus, canyons, mesas, and riverbeds sliding across my Subaru’s side windows and growing ever-larger in its windshield.

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The Crosstrek Wilderness was fine in the turns; I won’t pretend that I threw it through the twisties at ten-tenths, so I can’t tell you how it handles at the limit, but I did notice on loose surfaces that the vehicle did like to rotate and step the tail out when I turned the wheel at any rate other than “slow” — so that could be fun if that’s what you’re into.

A Subaru rep called the Crosstrek Wilderness “the best handling car with 9.3 inches of ground clearance,” and I bet that’s true, even if that’s not exactly a high bar. There wasn’t excessive body roll, the car didn’t struggle with grip, and overall it was competent in the corners.

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With that said, the 182 horsepower 2.5-liter Boxer engine felt slow connected to a rather unpleasant Continuously Variable Transmission. Many journalists these days say “You know, Subaru’s modern CVTs aren’t that bad,” and maybe that’s true in the eyes of most Subaru buyers. I, a car enthusiast, however, think the Crosstrek’s CVT is bad enough. It — along with the moderately-powered engine — leaves the Crosstrek Wilderness feeling lethargic and rather coarse and loud when making passing maneuvers. The powertrain doesn’t get the car up to speed in any hurry whatsoever, and when you’re approaching a turn, I found that the CVT sometimes made it hard to know exactly how much pedal to give, as the T was V’ing its ratio…C. The relationship between the accelerator pedal and the vehicle’s acceleration wasn’t easy for me to predict, though I suspect in time I might be able to figure it out. Of course, I could always use the “manual” mode that locks in discrete gear ratios, though those weren’t exactly the quickest shifts I’ve ever seen.

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Here’s a little clip of me punching it. It’s not particularly exciting:

The car’s ride quality is what I’d call “tolerable.” It seemed a bit bumpy on what looked like glass-smooth roads, but I don’t think it was so bad that a typical customer would forgo a purchase. While at high speeds, the CVT did do a good job keeping the engine revs down, meaning road trips should be relatively quiet outside of the totally acceptable road and wind noise.

So yeah, acceleration isn’t great thanks to a frustrating CVT, handling seems OK, ride seems mostly fine, and with a good 25 MPG city, 29 highway, 27 combined, I’m sure consumers will buy these machines in absurd quantities.

Was I entirely satisfied? No, the cabin and overall driving experience seemed fairly unimpressive, but I know that’s not what this vehicle is all about.

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How Is It Off-Road?

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When it comes to off-roading, geometry is king; it’s a refrain that I, a seasoned off-road vet, have been saying for years. No amount of gearing or skid plating or traction control-ing will get you over an obstacle that your front bumper rams right into. For a vehicle to be capable off-road, it needs ground clearance, short overhangs, and a small belly — all of which contribute to approach, departure, and breakover angles. Only once you’ve got favorable geometry do other doodads make much of a difference.

You can see the Crosstrek Wilderness’s angles in the image above: Longer springs and dampers yield a 0.6-inch ground clearance increase; along with some tweaks to the fascias, this brings the Wilderness trim’d breakover angle up 1.4 degrees, its departure angle up 2.9 degrees, and its approach angle up two degrees. Here’s a look at a Crosstrek Sport and Crosstrek Wilderness; the difference isn’t huge:

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Of all the angles, approach is the most important, as you can often drag your belly and rear end over and down crests/obstacles. Unfortunately for the Crosstrek, its 20-degree approach angle is rather low. Even the similarly-priced base Ford Bronco Sport and Jeep Renegade Trailhawk trounce it by nearly two degrees and by over 10 degrees, respectively.

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The front of the car is hardly the part that you want as your limiting factor, but alas, that’s how it is with the Crosstrek. A Subaru rep told me that “[Subaru does] end up with more of an overhang up front because of the drivetrain layout,” though I suspect a number of factors play into that — perhaps aerodynamics, the layout of the front crash structure, and/or issues related to pedestrian safety.

In any case, the nose is long, as you can see in the image below; notice how the front tire is in a small divot, and how as a result that front fascia is rather close to the ground:

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A look at the vehicles after they’d been on the off-road course showed some scrapes to the front chin:Screen Shot 2023 10 01 At 11.14.02 Pm Screen Shot 2023 10 01 At 11.14.12 Pm

If you look at this picture, you can see a plastic clip falling out (it’s in the shadowy area on the right):

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Behold some missing clips:

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The image above shows a “skid plate,” which I’ll be writing about in a separate article , as it is unlike any skid plate I’ve ever seen.

Still, despite the ho-hum approach angle, I had a blast off-roading the Crosstrek Wilderness. The Yokohama Geolandar A/Ts offered a great balance of on-and-off-road capability, and thanks to the excellent ground clearance, I was able to take the vehicle down some pretty rutted-out dirt trails (we tried to straddle the ruts, but that wasn’t always possible):

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The big obstacle at Subaru’s off-road course in Utah was a steep, loose dirt hill that was being dug out more and more as journalists spun their tires trying to power their way up. The grade was gradual enough to not tax the Crosstrek Wilderness’s approach angle, but the ruts put the vehicle’s limited articulation to the test, often leading the Crosstrek to lift a tire. The vehicle spun that tire up and struggled to get enough torque to the wheel with traction to help propel the vehicle up the grade. The only way to really conquer that hill was by getting a nice run-up, and by maintaining momentum as well as a right foot firmly on the skinny pedal. Here’s a look at the hill:

Here are a few photos of the obstacle:
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On the back side of that grade was a steep decline, a trough, and then another steep incline. Crosstreks narrowly got their chins over rocks at the bottom of the trough, and though they sometimes struggled a bit with the loose grade, they eventually made it up:

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I actually had a blast hammering that skinny pedal up those loose slopes. No, it wasn’t the most hard-core off-roading I’d ever done, but it certainly was the most hardcore off-roading I’d done in a vehicle that gets 27 MPG combined.

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I don’t love the hill descent control that’s set to the speed with which you approach a decline, I did notice quite a bit of ABS noise even when I didn’t expect it (often around turns), I’d have loved a front-facing cameras for the steep ascents (see photo directly above), and the ride quality over washboard roads was pretty rough (we didn’t air down the tires), but I still had a fantastic time taking this machine through terrain that would have left sedans and lesser crossovers stranded.

Verdict

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The Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness doesn’t have an amazing interior, its on-road ride and handling are only so-so, its engine is only adequately powerful and I wouldn’t call it the most refined, its CVT transmission leaves a lot to be desired, and it’s good off-road but not incredible. On paper, even with its solid fuel economy and good safety and reliability scores and impressive towing capacity, the Crosstrek isn’t amazing, and yet when you factor in emotion, it is phenomenal.

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Check out my friend Alex’s Subaru Crosstrek above. I asked her why she bought the car, and she said in part due to branding (the badge, in this case, spoke to her), in part due to the fact that she respects Japanese cars, and largely due to the color (and Subaru absolutely nails colors, offering all sorts of solids like the awesome green I drove on my test drive). Alex is far from alone when it comes to reasoning for buying a Crosstrek. Branding, styling, and the good reputation of Japanese cars are key players in making a Subaru so compelling.

Oftentimes automakers will begin their presentations to journalists by revealing what they don’t want us thinking. When the Jeep Gladiator debuted, for example, Jeep’s number one point was to tell journalists that it’s not just a Wrangler with a bed on it (it is just a Wrangler with a bed on it), and during the Crosstrek Wilderness presentation, a Subaru rep began with: “We don’t start out with a lifted version of a cheap economy car.”

With its modest interior and engine/transmission options, the Subaru Crosstrek kind of is a lifted, all-wheel drive cheap economy car, but the way Subaru has brilliantly branded it makes it so much more. For $31,000, the Crosstrek Wilderness is a machine that you can do almost anything with; you can tow, you can off-road, and you can drive on the street while getting decent fuel economy. And all the while that you’re doing that, you’re part of the Subaru community. That’s these folks: Screen Shot 2023 10 02 At 5.11.52 Am

That’s people who love going off-road:

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That’s people who love camping:

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That’s people who are big fans of dogs:

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That’s people who appreciate safety:

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That’s folks who love roof racks:

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And that’s owners who love protecting the outdoors, something that Subaru made sure to tell us it has spent $70 million doing:

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The Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness is a jack of all trades and a master of none, and yet its image — carefully crafted by one of the most impressive automotive marketing operations, possibly ever — is one of the coolest out there, especially for the price.

So while the vehicle may not have impressed me with its hardware, it won my heart over with its soul.

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DadBod
DadBod
9 months ago

That shirt… someone’s picnic is missing a tablecloth

Fugatti
Fugatti
9 months ago

I have a forester wilderness, and assume this is 90% the same just in a slightly smaller package. I love the seats and interior, super easy to clean and not worry about. X mode is actually amazing, best snow vehicle I’ve ever had. the CVT does suck, especially bad going slow up a hill and trying to accelerate. Its jerky and lots of lag. The engine (same as the crosstrek) is loud and a bit drony but not that noticeable until you’ve been in a car that has actual sound deadening. I agree though, in every category there’s a car that’s better than it, but somehow the whole package is exactly what I need. I read somewhere that the forester is the “pleated kaki pants” of cars…not exciting but 100% functional.

Anders
Anders
9 months ago

Seeing the rather out-there body cladding design on the Crosstrek, Forester and Outback I’m pretty sure Subaru has a dedicated design department specialized on all sorts of unpainted plastics.

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
9 months ago

Did they let you tow 3500 pounds to see how slow it is?

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
9 months ago
Reply to  TXJeepGuy

this is a super-good point regarding that new towing capacity

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
9 months ago

Its what the crosstrek needed to actually be used as a crosstrek.

  • better final drive ratio
  • transmission cooler
  • bigger engine

That being said, its still not enough. Mainly because the TR-580 is an awful transmission. They pull torque and overheat easily causing early failure. Hopefully the cooler helps, but its not going to fix the torque issue.

Like Stef said, its still a Subaru and you can count on it being a problem eventually.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
9 months ago
Reply to  Pat Rich

I will totally admit that I love seeing these out on trails, though. We gotta break up the usual suspects with some oddballs out there.

(Good luck with well, Subaru-ness, though.)

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
9 months ago

they want reliable (and to some, the fact that it’s Japanese provides comfort on that front)

Counterpoint: It may be Japanese, but it’s still a Subaru.

Breaking down: It’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru.

I hope Subies are better now—they drive well! they’re nice to be in!—but the one Jalopnik piece that I got emailed about for years and years and years after writing it was about a Subaru recall of all things. People exasperated and desperate that their Subie burns oil emailing for help with it.

Last edited 9 months ago by Stef Schrader
BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
9 months ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

Garbage Wheel Bearings: It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru!

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
9 months ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

Well, wheel bearings are new for me in the hopper of “look at all the Subaru shit that sucks”

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
9 months ago
Reply to  Utherjorge

Google “Subaru wheel bearing forum” and have fun.

Wheel bearing went at ~60k on my ’18 Outback last spring. Just this past weekend I did a wheel bearing on my wife’s ’19 Forester with 77k. The weekend before that my brother did the wheel bearing on his wife’s ’18 Crosstrek with like 60k on it.

And when you go to replace them, they fuckin’ separate into two, rather than coming out of the hub. So then you’ve got to remove the entire hub and place it in a press and press it out. Though, that seems less common on the forums, it happened in all the three situations listed above.

Oh, and all 2019-2022 Foresters, and all 2020-2022 Subarus with the 2.5L will have the thermo control valve fail. $500 part that the dealer charges anywhere from $750-1500 to replace (on top of the part price). Though, at least Subaru is commonly willing to give goodwill assistance towards out-of-warranty owners.

Add that to the shitty infotainment, gas door that freezes shut all winter long, tailgate that doesn’t open high enough for an averaged height man to walk under without hitting his head, and CVT noises/shudders, well, I don’t think I’m very eager to buy another Subaru.

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
9 months ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

you forgot injectors and the otherwise concerning oil consumption

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
9 months ago
Reply to  Utherjorge

Luckily, I’ve experienced none of that.

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
9 months ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

I mean, I think you’ve already see enough weather, bub, so I hope you don’t see those.

Checkyourbeesfordrinks
Checkyourbeesfordrinks
9 months ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

second the gas door that freezes shut all winter – never had a car before where this was a problem all winter. I have a 2018 Crosstrek (with a manual! yay!)

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
9 months ago

Hold up, the Crosstrek Wilderness starts at $32k and the Forester Wilderness starts at $35k? With that price gap I’d much rather go for the Forester Wilderness, they are way more roomy, comfortable, and you can fit a ton of stuff to haul around in those.

I used to hate on the Forester… then I rented one for a while… you get used to that car very quickly and it’s completely changed my mind on them.

Last edited 9 months ago by Bizness Comma Nunya
ZeGerman
ZeGerman
9 months ago

Sure, the Forester is only $3k more, but not everyone wants or needs the extra size. The Crosstrek handles better, gets better mileage, is faster, and (I think) looks cooler. So unless you absolutely need the extra size of the Forester, there isn’t much reason to spend the extra money to get one. If the Forester Wilderness had a turbo like the Outback Wilderness does, then maybe, but it doesn’t.

Anchor
Anchor
9 months ago

My wife wanted a Crosstrek specifically for the size

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
9 months ago

I’m not sure exactly what the overall height difference is off-hand, but getting things like kayaks/bikes/roof boxes on and off a Crosstrek is easier. This is what I miss most about having a wagon. Well, and having a car that doesn’t handle like ass.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
9 months ago

Did this part get left out? “The image above shows a “skid plate,” which I’ll be writing about in a moment, as it is unlike any skid plate I’ve ever seen.”

Cerberus
Cerberus
9 months ago

This has more than enough capability for almost everyone who will buy them. I would posit the basic car does as well, and that the beefy looking kit and higher ride height appeal more for the aesthetic than any deficiency the typical owner encountered with the standard Crosstrek. Many people I’ve met—even guys with modded Jeeps (MA isn’t exactly an off road haven)—seem to consider slightly washed out fire roads to be “off roading”, stuff that I used to bring a Mazda3 down (I used to do cell tower work), albeit with careful wheel placement. Anyone who needs something more serious (or thinks they do) wouldn’t be considering this in the first place. It nails its market and the extra MSRP must be practically all profit.

Drew
Drew
9 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Oh, man, a couple Facebook “friends” are Jeepers who absolutely post photos of their adventures, almost all of which are reasonably decent logging roads or whatever, then they find a rock to put one wheel on, usually in the middle of an open field. I’m not entirely convinced they don’t bring their own.

You’re absolutely right that the target market for this won’t need any more capability than it provides. And they’ll be super happy with it.

Ben
Ben
9 months ago

Subaru flew me out to Utah, set me up in a tent with a nice big bed and hot running water

Well, at least they know their target market: People cosplaying as outdoorsy. 😉

This also further convinces me that the ideal touchscreen size is 8″. When they make them larger it just moves some physical controls to the touch screen, which is a lose-lose since the giant screens also look bad.

ZeGerman
ZeGerman
9 months ago
Reply to  Ben

Agree with your take on the touchscreen – it’s one of the reasons why I went out and bought a 2023 with the 8.1″ screen and physical HVAC knobs & buttons. I saw the redesigned infotainment in the ’24 and said nope!

But I do disagree with your comment about Subaru drivers cosplaying as outdoorsy. I live in the PNW, and when you drive into the mountains here, half of vehicles at any given trailhead are Subarus. We’re not cosplaying.

Last edited 9 months ago by ZeGerman
Ben
Ben
9 months ago
Reply to  ZeGerman

Yeah, I was partially joking about that. Around here half of the vehicles at trailheads are also Subarus. I just thought the tent with all the amenities of an RV was funny.

ZeGerman
ZeGerman
9 months ago
Reply to  Ben

Oh yeah, for sure! 🙂

Cerberus
Cerberus
9 months ago

I wonder how it would compare off road against an early ’80s with dual range 4WD.

Anchor
Anchor
9 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Probably worse, but it’s going to do literally every other thing better.

Cerberus
Cerberus
9 months ago
Reply to  Anchor

Still rather drive the old one.

EXL500
EXL500
9 months ago

The ‘W’ should stand for Warthog. That’s one ugly beast.

I like the Integra RS though.

EXL500
EXL500
9 months ago
Reply to  EXL500

Ack…Impreza.

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
9 months ago

David, I just saw this comment in the review posted at The Drive:

And though it does have a transmission cooler which is great, I’d be wary of overheating the CVT doing a lot of wheeling in desert-daytime ambient temps.

I vividly remember your time overheating the rear diff in a Bronco Sport. The comment at the other site seemed out of nowhere. I know what I have read everywhere…but is this a thing that is under the radar even with the new models?

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
9 months ago
Reply to  Utherjorge

It’s relatively widespread especially for FWD-based AWD systems, as they use a PTU rather than a transfer case as we are used to seeing in typical 4/AWD vehicles. Yeah it’s better for economy as the rear wheels are only kicked in when the fronts slip. The rear diffs are pretty small, though, and they don’t handle much power – not that they need to as they only get up to 50% of the engine power for most applications, which can commonly be less than 100-150hp.

Subaru’s issue is moreso with the CVT, so the transmission itself, so you lose ALL propulsion, not just the rear wheels when it gets overheated. Plus the rear end can overheat fairly easily as well.

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
9 months ago
Reply to  Box Rocket

Roger. Totally understood. I’m just wondering if anyone testing this new one has had that problem already. I know, for instance, when trying to mod a Honda Element, for instance, a rear diff swap really helps…for exactly the reasons you mentioned.

BOSdriver
BOSdriver
9 months ago

Who would have thought that one of the cheapest cars, has AWD and that acts/looks like a CUV/SUV would sell well? (hint – all of us) Subaru nailed the car and the price point. There isn’t much available that has been around as long as it, it remains the go to in this segment because it portrays the outdoor lifestlye and is cheap enough for 20-somethings to purchase and maintain. The only other real option is to buy used and that is a gamble when looking at older, modded vehicles. Totally makes sense why it sells.

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
9 months ago

As a unibody, longitudinal engine, four-cylinder SUV with a basic, some would say dated, hard plastic interior, this is certainly a better value than its closest competitor on those specs, the new Defender.

Pancakeman!
Pancakeman!
9 months ago

Them: Do you want to review the Subaru Crosstrek or go on a picnic.
David: Yes

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
9 months ago

They did not start with a cheap economy car because any clean-sheet ICE cheap economy car would have a transverse I4 or I3, not a longitudinal H4.

Within VW, for example, only premium cars get longitudinal layouts.

That said, with the move to electrification (so that the 16.4% of greenhouse emissions due to passenger vehicles can come from lithium mining and refining and coal and natural gas power plants instead of the dirty direct way) it will be interesting to see what, if any, identity Subaru can maintain apart from its partial parent Toyota.

A longitudinal H4 is not just core to Subaru’s identity, it is Subaru’s identity. When that goes then so, likely, will Subaru.

Hopefully at that point Toyota will have the decency to offer cool solid paint colors on the lifted with cladding version of the Corolla.

Cerberus
Cerberus
9 months ago
Reply to  Racer Esq.

That could be said about many of the companies out there that have a mechanical-linked identity and I think we’re going to see a lot of brands die off. Once everything is much the same, it’s the good will toward a brand that will keep it around. I think Subaru has done a great job with forging an environmental identity and their high owner loyalty marks bode well for that future. Nowadays when people can’t even change a tire, a lot of the owners probably don’t care all that much about the boxer engine (except when it has problems—looks sideways at my GR86) so much as the association with outdoors, the environment, and safety.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
9 months ago

As they say, the ugliest girl at the dance is often the easiest one to ride. I guess her new bigger army boots might make her even easier.

Electrified05ViggenFeverDream
Electrified05ViggenFeverDream
9 months ago

Ugh, can we please not have this sexist crap here? This site is generally fairly good compared to most automotive spaces, and it’ll only stay that way if it’s not tolerated. Gross.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
9 months ago

You are correct. I just went with the easy colloquialism. Had I tried harder I might have come up with something gender neutral like ugly potential dance partner. Or if I really made an effort, just ugly over styled cosplay car. Kind of doesn’t have the same ring to it, but you are still correct and I apologize.

Rippstik
Rippstik
9 months ago

Hot Take: I’d rather have the Maverick Tremor. If I wanted a soft-roader, I’d want the utility of the bed and a conventional Automatic.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
9 months ago
Reply to  Rippstik

I would prefer a Maverick Tremor as well, the product anyway.

But this, I could probably walk into my local Subaru dealer and make a deal within 5 minutes, with no sneaky BS. My local Ford dealer however…

Anchor
Anchor
9 months ago

You’d be surprised, it took us about two weeks to find ours, and we ended up with the wrong color and an option package that was about 2k more because the bottom Premiums had a “maybe 30 days for parts” recall open. They did give me 800 off for that though

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
9 months ago
Reply to  Anchor

I guess I shouldn’t have implied that it is easy to get a Crosstrek, haha. That being said, I could get a Crosstrek at least close to how I would want it equipped with a little bit of effort.

But the Maverick, at least around here, is only available in theory. There’s a dealer about 50 miles away from here holding a bunch of them hostage for 4-5k over MSRP, but that’s it.

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
9 months ago
Reply to  Rippstik

Sure, but the Maverick is a significantly larger vehicle. Same width, but it’s 4″ higher and a full two feet longer. If size is at all an issue for garage or parking space, the Crosstrek can sort of hem and haw and pretend with some justification to be a “compact” that will fit almost anywhere outside of cities built in the Medieval era, but Maverick is just about as big as full size pickups from a couple of decades ago and is right pain to navigate in close quarters.

Urban dwellers who want to get some light offroading-outdoorsy fun are definitely going to prefer the smaller vehicle.

ZeGerman
ZeGerman
9 months ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

Yep, absolutely. Bigger is not always better, and personally I don’t want or need that extra size, nor do I want a vehicle with a bed.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
9 months ago
Reply to  Rippstik

Or the Bronco Sport Badlands.

Mike B
Mike B
9 months ago

I drive a 4Runner, but I find watching crossovers and Subarus off-roading pretty entertaining. I have semi-mixed feeling on them. Sometimes they seem legitimately capable, other times they seem completely hamstrung by the transmission. I’ve seen too many videos of these on an incline with the accelerator floored with zero power getting to the tires. For flat dirt roads or sand I think they’re fine, and I admit they DO look cool modded. For more rugged terrain though, they are just not the right tool for the job.

As for the redesign, I don’t hate the look, but I like the old interior better. The screen just looks too big, and non-physical HVAC controls are a deal breaker.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 months ago
Reply to  Mike B

What hamstrings most of these vehicles off-road is a fault in the driver seat.

Cerberus
Cerberus
9 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

This, right here. I’m no off road driving specialists, but there are a lot of guys with way more gear than they have any clue how to put to use. I frequently found them (to my dismay, hoping the place would be vacant) down trails in my ’84 Subaru wagon. When they would comment something about how great those little 4WDs were to make it down such a “tough” trail, I would tell them that it was FWD. Best was seeing the faces of some guys at work who struggled with their AWD Escapes when they saw my Mazda3 waiting for them at the top of the washed-out hill. I don’t live in a big off roading hub here in MA, so for me, the biggest limiter hasn’t been traction, but clearance.

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
9 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

That can hamstring just about any vehicle off-road.

Jim Zavist
Jim Zavist
9 months ago

We have an ’18 Crosstrek with the same heated-seat switches. They work great! Low-Off-High. “If it ain’t broke, don’t go fixin’ it!” What do you want, something else on the touchscreen?!

Drew
Drew
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Zavist

Yeah, let’s not encourage them to do that. I’ll take a cheap-looking switch that works over a touchscreen control for sure. I don’t need the switches to look fancy.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Zavist

How much do you pay per month for them? /s

ZeGerman
ZeGerman
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Zavist

I agree 100%. The heated seat switches are right there where you want them, and there ain’t nothing wrong with a rocker switch. It works well.

Last edited 9 months ago by ZeGerman
Anchor
Anchor
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Zavist

Plus it remembers where you put it!

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
9 months ago

Having owned a CVT subaru (2012 Impreza) I do think that Subaru CVT’s are better than most. However, with Toyota being a part owner of Subaru I REALLY wish they could just adapt an Aisin 8 speed auto to this. Or, at the very least, a very good compromise could be to share some of the design with the CVT in the Corolla Cross.

Why?

Because that CVT has a real first gear to start out in, which is what would certainly help out the subaru in off road situations.

The bigger issue for me with ALL newer Subaru has been the long term viability of the FA/FB boxer engine families, specifically oil consumption. I had to have the entire engine replaced in my 2012 at about 45,000 miles due to excissive oil consupmtion.

The (achievable) receipe for the crosstrek I want:
-8 speed Aisin auto
-Turbo, doesn’t have to be crazy fast just, faster
-Improve the ride quality a bit (all imprezas/crosstreks have this issue)
-Work on overall (long-term) powertrain reliability (engine, trans, etc..)

ZeGerman
ZeGerman
9 months ago

The bigger issue for me with ALL newer Subaru has been the long term viability of the FA/FB boxer engine families, specifically oil consumption. I had to have the entire engine replaced in my 2012 at about 45,000 miles due to excissive oil consupmtion.

Subaru wasn’t the only automaker to suffer from excessive oil consumption during that period. It was due to them using piston rings that were ultra low-friction in order to meet increasingly demanding fuel mileage targets. Fortunately, they stopped using those inferior piston rings and it hasn’t been an issue since about 2015.

Last edited 9 months ago by ZeGerman
Cerberus
Cerberus
9 months ago
Reply to  ZeGerman

Yup, even Toyota Camrys (I4 2.4) had serious oil consumption issues at that time and you’re driving a Camry.

Ben
Ben
9 months ago
Reply to  ZeGerman

Good to know. My brother had a Forester from that era and with under 30k on it the engine was drinking a qt per 1k miles. Subaru corporate said that was normal. He immediately sold the car because it is nothing of the sort.

Cerberus
Cerberus
9 months ago
Reply to  Ben

Guy at work just got rid of his 2012 or so Legacy with something like 290k. It had been eating oil for years, but just kept going. He thinks it blew a HG finally, but I actually suspect it was something simpler by his description. In any case, he was done with it and didn’t want to bother looking into it further.

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
9 months ago
Reply to  ZeGerman

If you’re suggesting oil consumption has been an issue since 2015….that would be incorrect.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
9 months ago
Reply to  ZeGerman

It’s still an issue, and it’s also largely a byproduct of being direct-injected. That said, they’re not notably worse than other manufacturers, with the industry largely averaging 1qt/1K miles as “tolerable”.
I’m looking forward to port fuel injection (or combination port and direct) taking over (already started on some) to resolve that issue.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
9 months ago

Sounds like you want a… *double-checks notes* Ford Bronco Sport Badlands.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
9 months ago
Reply to  Box Rocket

Honestly, yeah, I think you’re right.

ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
9 months ago

These things are the go-to for singleton CA and TX transplants here in Colorado. They’re part #1 of the “I just relocated to Colorado” starter pack that also includes an REI membership, a dozen Nalgene water bottles, a black lab, and a “mountains are calling” bumper sticker. A soon as the snow starts falling, you see them driving way too fast up Floyd Hill on I-70, and five minutes later spun out in a ditch.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
9 months ago
Reply to  ColoradoFX4

And that’s why I enjoy I-70. Seriously.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
9 months ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Bloodhound Gang has a lyric about getting stuck in traffic just to pass the time. I miss a lot about Colorado, but I-70 will NEVER make that list.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
9 months ago
Reply to  ColoradoFX4

You sound like one of the folks with a NATIVE bumper sticker. It’s all my fault Denver and then Evergreen got too expensive to live in, I know.

(I left for non-Asheville Appalachia, by the way)

ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
9 months ago

Nope, no NATIVE sticker. Those are very, very stupid.

Last edited 9 months ago by ColoradoFX4
DadBod
DadBod
9 months ago
Reply to  ColoradoFX4

Hey now, don’t go talking smack about black labs!

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
9 months ago
Reply to  ColoradoFX4

Or if they have more $ it’s a TRD Pro 4runner/Tacoma. Which I see in a ditch more often than the new subaru owners, maybe because people don’t understand how part-time 4wd works compared to AWD like on a Subaru (?)

Jokes about transplants aside. I’ve driven, I dunno, a billion miles on I70 in Colorado and some on I80 in the Sierras and my old Impreza with pretty bald tires felt more at home on snow-covered roads vs. the larger body on frame SUVs and Trucks I’d come from (with good snow tires, mind you). So, I’ll always give Subaru props for that one.

ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
9 months ago

My guess is the reason the ‘Runners and Tacos are in the ditch is the high center of gravity from the roof tent since all of them are overlanding vehicles. Drivers don’t know how to handle something so tippy, but at least they’ve got a place to hang out waiting for the tow truck.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
9 months ago
Reply to  ColoradoFX4

hahaha yeah you’re probably right. SOOOO many roof tents mounted to all the vehicles we’ve discussed… not sure how often they are getting used though.

I lived in a roof tent on a toyota pickup for a couple of weeks. Not really a fan.

Last edited 9 months ago by Bizness Comma Nunya
ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
9 months ago

They’re the more expensive version of a snorkel (which a lot of them have, too): rarely, if ever, used.

B3n
B3n
9 months ago

I don’t understand why Subaru won’t give this a turbo powertrain.
At least the Levorg’s 1.6 turbo if not the Outback’s 2.4 turbo.
I would even forgive the CVT, but the gutless engine choices would really put me off if I were in the market for a Crosstrek.

ZeGerman
ZeGerman
9 months ago
Reply to  B3n

It’s certainly just due to the economics of it all. Would a turbo Crosstrek be fun? Yes, for sure. But it would add significant cost to the price of the car and then everyone would be complaining that it costs too much. I have a ’23 Crosstrek Limited with the same 182hp FB25D engine as this Wilderness, and it does 0-60mph in the mid-7s, which is absolutely livable for this type of vehicle. I also appreciate the simplicity of natural aspiration.

B3n
B3n
9 months ago
Reply to  ZeGerman

Ok, I thought they did 12+s 0-60 or something because David said in the video that it’s quite slow.
But yes, mid 7s 0-60 is definitely not “slow” by my definition. Maybe it just feels slow because how well they’ve done NVH or how the CVT is tuned.
Interesting how these perceptions shifted in the last 20-30 years, not too long ago this was sporty car territory.

ZeGerman
ZeGerman
9 months ago
Reply to  B3n

Yeah, Car and Driver tested the 2023 Crosstrek and found that trim levels with the 152hp 2.0L engine reached 60mph in 9.2sec, and those with the 182hp 2.5L engine reached 60mph in 7.5sec. The 2024 Crosstrek uses the same chassis and engine, and transmission as the 2023, and weighs basically the same. The 2024 Wilderness does have revised gearing, but with the lifted suspension and heavier wheels & tires, the advantages of the revised gearing are probably nullified in a 0-60mph test.

I think you’re right about the CVT making it feel slower than it is, but I don’t drive my Crosstrek at WOT hardly ever, so it’s kinda a non-issue in day to day use. During normal driving conditions, the 182hp 2.5L feels very adequate in town and in the mountains, when being mindful of the car’s intended purpose. It’s a very pleasant car to use everyday. I use mine for hauling tools & car parts back & forth to the shop, and for hiking in the Cascade Mountains, and it’s excellent.

Anchor
Anchor
9 months ago
Reply to  B3n

Everyone says a CVT feels slow regardless. There’s no gear changes and it’s usually less than 200 hp anyway, so all the things we use to define fast aren’t there. It doesn’t push you back in the seat and it doesn’t keep revving the engine, it just gets to peak power and stays there, but keeps accelerating.

ZeGerman
ZeGerman
9 months ago

I have a ’23 Crosstrek Limited with the same FB25D engine as this ’24 Wilderness. It’s an excellent vehicle overall. The CVT is fantastic for daily driving, and operates super quietly and smoothly in the background. It’s very intuitive and I don’t think most regular people would know it was a CVT unless doing a WOT blast. I really do love it, and I got over 36mpg roundtrip on a trip to the Cascade Mountains yesterday. I think most of the haters here are just tribalists and have probably never owned or spent much time living with a Crosstrek. They really are great cars, which is why they sell so many of them and dominate their segment.

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