2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness Debuts With Added Clearance, Unique Style

Subaru is already known for all-weather traction and rough-road capability thanks to the standard all-wheel drive on every model save the BRZ sports car, but in recent years, the Japanese automaker is going in harder on trail capability and fun to drive. That trend continues with the arrival of the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness, debuting at the New York International Auto Show.

Joining similarly named variants of the Outback and Forester, the Crosstrek Wilderness gets unique suspension components, revised bodywork with extra cladding to resist damage, and all-terrain tires that give it more grip in dirt and snow. That’s in addition to the standard Crosstrek’s already excellent torque-vectoring all-wheel drive and X-Mode off-road driving feature. And with a standard 2.5-liter flat-four (shared with the Crosstrek Sport and Limited trims), the Wilderness has class-competitive power to help it get over tough terrain.

Looks Good Dirty

Like the aforementioned Forester and Outback Wilderness models, the ruggedized Crosstrek gets new front and rear bumpers with steeper approach and departure angles, a Wilderness-spec hexagonal grille insert, wider wheel arch cladding, and a genuine metal front skid plate. Funky hex-shaped fog lights and a matte-black hood decal (designed to reduce glare) flesh out some of the stylistic changes that go into a Wilderness, as do copper-colored accents on the roof rail supports, front and rear bumpers, and rocker panels. Wilderness badges on the front doors and hatch leave no question as to the Crosstrek’s intentions.

Inside, Subaru gave the Crosstrek Wilderness standard “StarTex” synthetic leather upholstery, which is water-resistant and easier to clean than cloth or genuine leather. Standard all-weather floor mats and a cargo mat provide added protection to the cabin. Design-wise, the Wilderness badge is embossed onto the headrests, and the headliner and pillar trim are now blacked out for a darker, sportier appearance. Bronze accents dress up the cabin too, appearing on the center console and steering wheel. Like all Crosstreks save the base model, an 11.6-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is standard.

Compounded Capability

As we learned in our first drive of the 2024 Crosstrek Premium, Subaru’s entry-level crossover/tall hatch performs impressively off-road – even on all-season highway tires. With more robust Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain rubber and matte-black 17-inch wheels at all four corners, the Crosstrek Wilderness promises yet more traction for tough obstacles.

Getting over those challenges will be the work of a revised suspension with taller springs and shocks. Boasting 9.2 inches of ground clearance (compared to 8.6 on the regular Crosstrek), the new suspension also has better articulation for improved traction. The Wilderness model compares very favorably to the Ford Bronco Sport and its available 8.8 inches of clearance, as well as the 8.6 inches from the Jeep Compass Trailhawk – in fact, even the regular Crosstrek stands up to its rivals pretty decently in that regard. Relative to its sibling, the Wilderness also gets sharper approach, breakover, and departure angles.

If that’s not enough, the Crosstrek Wilderness will get its siblings’ X-Mode system. With two functions – Snow/Dirt or Deep Snow/Mud – X-Mode provides more aggressive performance from the brake-based torque vectoring system to keep power moving toward the wheels with traction. For example, in the former setting, applying consistent throttle input will help the system route power as needed with minimal wheelspin, while in the latter, X-Mode allows the tires to churn a bit harder and act like paddles to get through the goop.

What’s more, when X-Mode is active, the Crosstrek activates a low-ratio “Gradient Control” system, which senses when the car is moving at low speed on a steep incline. In that instance, the CVT goes into its lowest ratio (4.066:1) to allow for better, smoother drivability over rocks and ruts – ditto a shorter final-drive ratio of 4.111 instead of 3.700. Like the base Crosstrek, hill descent control is standard.

Power And Control

Mated to that standard CVT is a 2.5-liter flat-four. Shared with the Sport and Limited trims, the engine makes an adequate 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, which is better than the 152 hp and 145 lb-ft from the 2.0-liter found in the base and Premium. For comparison, the Jeep Compass’ new turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 makes 200 hp and 221 lb-ft, while the 1.5-liter turbo three in the Ford Bronco Sport gets 181 hp and 190 lb-ft.

That might make the Crosstrek Wilderness a bit less athletic when loaded down with passengers and gear. An added transmission cooler, however, gives the Crosstrek Wilderness a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, compared to the 2,000 pounds from other trims, so at least the CVT has some added protection when it’s time to mount up.

Like most other Subarus, the Crosstrek Wilderness comes standard with EyeSight driver assistance and active safety. Adaptive cruise control, lane departure prevention, sway warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring are all standard on the Wilderness.


Th 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness starts at $33,290 including $1,295 for destination and delivery. The only option is a $2,270 package that bundles a sunroof, a power driver’s seat, and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, so a hard-loaded example will cost $35,550 all in. That compares nicely to a Jeep Compass Trailhawk (which is $37,340 to start), while a comparably equipped Bronco Sport is just under $33,000, though with less ground clearance.

Fuel economy is still in question, but with presumably worse aerodynamics and a less efficient, shorter final drive ratio, we bet the Crosstrek Wilderness will exact a slight efficiency penalty relative to the standard model’s 30 mpg combined.

The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness will be on display at the 2023 New York International Auto Show beginning April 5.

Gallery: 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness

Source: Subaru

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