2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness - A very good car even if you never go off-road


I reviewed a Subaru Crosstrek Limited on January 2nd (https://www.brucehotchkiss.net/2024/01/2024-subaru-crosstrek-limited-very-good.html); the underlying vehicle has not changed. What has changed is the trim. The Wilderness edition is meant to evoke a more rugged, go anywhere Subaru. 

Whether anyone will actually go far from the beaten path in any SUV is questionable. I won't quibble with anyone who buys a vehicle like the Crosstrek thinking about worst case scenarios but in reality that worst case might end up making a run to the store during a snowstorm.

The only real quibble I have with the Crosstrek Wilderness are these cheesy looking "gold" accents. They are strategically located in different spots and they look like cheap plastic. I have no idea what they are supposed to evoke.

I can live with the badging like that on the door, if it draws in a few extra Subie buyers it's all good but I'm more of a low-key guy - deeds instead of looks. 

It has been my experience that Subaru's good deeds are many, and my experience with Subaru goes back to the mid-1970s. Those Subarus were not perfect cars but they proved their mettle in a very snowy Canadian winter.

Subaru, any Subaru, is much more that a great winter car, or in the case of the WRX STi a great performance car, Subaru just makes very good cars. They no longer seem odd, or have a funny exhaust note, they are mainstream.

There is one item, one tiny little item on the Crosstrek Wilderness (and any Subaru with heated front seats I believe) that I have to point out in the photo below:

Yes those are rocker switches. They are easy to operate, totally tactile, and you can use them without taking your eyes off the road. There is not two-step procedure to turn the seat heaters on or off, just click. Thank you.

You should not expect the 2024 Crosstrek Wilderness to be a racecar, that should be obvious. In the greater scheme of things in this faster is better world this Subaru is downright slow with a 0-60 time of 8.6 seconds according to Car and Driver. But you know what? I never found myself lagging behind traffic, or having a problem merging onto a freeway. The Crosstrek Wilderness is fine.

Fuel economy is fair at 29-mpg on the highway, and 25-mpg in the city.

Subaru calls the Crosstrek a SUV, one of five SUVs they offer. There are five trim levels for the Crosstrek - Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Wilderness. The Base and Premium have a smaller, 2.0-liter, 152 h.p. 4-cylnder, boxer engine, and the Sport, Limited, and Wilderness use a more powerful, 182 h.p., 2.5-liter engine.

The Wilderness version has a 4:111 final drive ratio, and it does affect fuel economy. You can tow up to a 3,500 lb. trailer.

The Crosstrek Wilderness starts at $32,195 according to Subaru's public site (subaru.com). There is one optional package that I would consider only because it includes the very good Harmon Kardon premium audio system. I have to have my tunes at their best.

You have to decide if a Subaru, any Subaru is for you. I would definitely put one on my short-list if I was in the market.


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