There's no stopping the Wilderness Editions from Subaru. Okay, so they probably won't build a WRX Wilderness Edition (or will they?). First, there was the Outback Wilderness, then the Forester Wilderness and now the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness. It's the smallest Wilderness Edition the brand makes, but it's no less capable, really. It's also more than just cosmetic. It gets the exaggerated fender trim, the gold trim, and the badging. It's just too bad that the Wilderness treatment on the Crosstrek looks, uh, not so great.
The Crosstrek Wilderness also gets unique bumpers, a matte black hood, and some exaggerated door cladding. For some reason, all of these additions on a smaller, shorter wheelbase, crossover give the Crosstrek an awkward look that's overly busy. On the plus side, these changes are actually functional. The matte hood treatment reduces glare, the bumpers help with approach and departure angles, and the body cladding keeps rocks and bramble off the sheetmetal.
The Crosstrek Wilderness also gets 17-inch wheels and 225/60 Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tires, a front skid plate, and redesigned roof rails. The aforementioned approach, breakover, and departure angles are improved by 2 to 3 degrees, thanks in part to the 0.6-inch increase in ground clearance for a total of 9.3 inches. This should allow the Crosstrek Wilderness to handle more than the already capable standard Crosstrek.
To make things even better, the Crosstrek Wilderness gets unique Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes for the X-Mode all-wheel-drive system. It gives the Wilderness more capability in challenging off-road, terrain, and slick surface conditions and adjusts the torque split to improve the power that's put down. There's also more freedom for wheelspin, and the Dirt/Snow mode will allow the back end to kick out on gravel. A fun Crosstrek? It appears to be so.
We're sad but not surprised to report that the Wilderness gets the same 2.5-liter naturally aspirated flat-four engine as the Crosstrek Sport and Limited. It's good for 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. To call it quick would be a serious overstatement. At least the Crosstrek Wilderness gets a retuned the continuously variable transmission for better low-end grunt. Don't look for it to blow your hair back, but you should be able to feel a slight difference off the line.
The Crosstrek benefits from standard the EyeSight driver-assistance suite, and it has even been reprogrammed to accommodate for the added ground clearance and trim-specific tires. Other additions include a transmission cooler and more powerful radiator fans that, together, provide a 3,500-lb tow rating, a whopping 2,000-lb increase over the Crosstrek Sport's measly 1,500-lbs.
It also gets similar Wilderness interior appointments, including waterproof upholstery, weather-resistant floor mats, a washable cargo mat, embossed Wilderness Edition front headrests, contrast stitching, and gold trim on the steering wheel to match the exterior's bumper and roof rail trim. There's no gold shifter or gold seat tags like the ones found on the Forester Wilderness, but it's still more special than the stock Crosstrek's interior.
The 11.6-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen is large and colorful, despite the fact that we're not huge fans of the icons and the screen's vulnerability to dust and fingerprints. The Subaru Starlink software isn't our favorite because of its seeming low-res graphics, overuse of colors, and slow response to inputs. It does come standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there's an optional Harman/Kardon premium sound system.
Pricing for the 2024 Crosstrek Wilderness starts at $33,290 which includes the $1,295 destination charge. It should hit showrooms before the end of this year, and we're guessing it will fly off the sales floor quickly despite its rather questionable looks.