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The Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness is not just a meaner-looking variant

The subcompact crossover receives important technical upgrades

The upgrades on the Crosstrek Wilderness is more than just skin-deep. PHOTO FROM SUBARU

The Subaru Crosstrek, previously known as the XV, is a capable crossover. The Impreza-based SUV has higher ground clearance and has Subaru’s renowned Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive for some variants.

This makes it more capable than the competition, able to deal with light trails. But at the 2023 New York International Auto Show, Subaru unveiled a tougher and even more capable version.

The ground clearance was jacked up to make the car even readier to take on light trails. PHOTOS FROM SUBARU

Named the Crosstrek Wilderness, the crossover has a unique design compared to your standard XV. This uses a longer set of coil springs and shock absorbers. Thus, it sits 16mm taller compared to the standard variant.

Consequently, this increased the approach, departure, and break-over angles by 2°, 2.9°, and 1.4°, respectively. The exclusive 17-inch wheels are now wrapped with grippier Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tires.

The drivetrain was tweaked to make the crossover your perfect light overlanding rig. PHOTOS FROM SUBARU

Subaru still uses the optional 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine that does 182hp and 239Nm. Using a retuned CVT, the final drive ratio has been increased to 4.111, enabling it to climb higher trails and optimize low-speed traction.

Additionally, its towing capacity has increased to 1,588kg, up by a whopping 908kg more than the standard model. Combined with Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and X-Mode, this is the most off-road-capable Crosstrek yet.

We’re half-hearted about these upgrades, but these sure make the Crosstrek look meaner. PHOTOS FROM SUBARU

You get visual cues that this is a Crosstrek Wilderness, thanks to bigger plastic cladding all over and several badges. We’re not just sold on the anodized copper accents as they border on being tacky. It also has a new grille, a ladder-type roof rack, a metal skid plate up front, hex-designed LED fog lights, and an anti-glare matte-black decal on the hood.

The interior gets updated to match the exterior’s tougher stance. PHOTOS FROM SUBARU

The changes continue inside as you get water-resistant upholstery on the seats. “Subaru Wilderness” badging can be found all around, starting with the front headrests, the floor mats, and the boot-up screen of the instrument cluster. Like the exterior, you get copper contrast stitching all around and anodized copper accents on the steering wheel, the gauges, and the shifter.

The pillar trim, the assist grips, the overhead console, and the headliner were blacked out. This blends perfectly with the Gunmetal Gray trims on the dash, the doors, and the shifter plate. The load floor at the back is protected by a removable, water-resistant cargo tray, and the tailgate gets LED lighting, so you can see your stuff in the dark.

That huge infotainment screen has a lot of uses. PHOTO FROM SUBARU

Front and center is the Subaru Starlink infotainment system that’s wireless Apple CarPlay– and wireless Android Auto-capable. The huge, high-resolution 11.6-inch screen also acts as a central information display.

Additionally, this is where you will find the audio and climate controls, and provides access to various vehicle functions. It also comes with a host of features like Subaru’s EyeSight suite of driver-assist technologies.

Paging Subaru Philippines. PHOTOS FROM SUBARU

The Crosstrek Wilderness retails for $31,995 (P1.744 million). Add $2,270 (P124,000) more and you get nice toys like a power moonroof, power driver seats, and a 432W, 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

It will start arriving at US dealerships by the fourth quarter of this year. Do you think Motor Image Pilipinas should bring the Crosstrek Wilderness here as well?

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.