The New York International Motor Show has commenced and the silken car covers are being lifted. One of the first pieces of new metal that caught our eye at Wheels is the new Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness.
With elevated ground clearance, bespoke body styling and thoughtful off-road revisions throughout, the Crosstrek Wilderness represents the most rugged and off-road-ready versions of the new Subaru Crosstrek, a successor to the Subaru XV sold locally.
The basis of the new Wilderness variant is the already competent Crosstrek, powered by an aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer engine, feeding Subaru's Symmetrical all-wheel drive system and leveraged by Subaru's impressive X-Mode.
The Crosstrek Wilderness lifts its game with increased ground clearance (236mm versus standard Crosstrek's 220mm) thanks to longer-stroke struts and coil springs, revised differential gear ratio (4.111 v 3.700) for improved climbing ability and revised CVT calibrations optimised for low speed and slippery terrain.
Increased ground clearance elevates approach angles from 18 to 20 degrees, improves departure angle from 30.1 to 33.0 degrees, and delivers a superior ramp breakover angle of 21.2 degrees versus the standard Crosstrek's 19.7 degrees.
The addition of a transmission oil cooler boosts towing capacity to 1500kg.
Of course, added function rarely comes without added form and, on that front, there's little chance of confusing a Crosstrek Wilderness with a standard vehicle out on the road. The Crosstrek Wilderness gains variant-exclusive front and rear bumpers, grille, larger wheel arch cladding, metal front skid plate, hexagonal LED fog lights and a matte black anti-glare bonnet decal.
There are further Wilderness badges strewn around outside and in, with a colour-coded roof spoiler and black mirrors to finish off the rugged variant.
A versatile ladder-type roof rack system allows for an 80kg dynamic capacity, or a 320kg static carrying capacity.
Inside the cabin, seats are swathed in comfortable, yet water-resistant Subaru StarTex material with Wilderness logos emobssed into the front headrests. Copper accents and contrast stitching proliferate throughout the cabin with further black and gunmetal grey trim pieces coming together to form a unique, almost milspec rugged feel. There is also a removable and washable cargo liner in the boot, a thoughtful inclusion given the vehicle's outdoor lifestyle pitch.
Of course, the Crosstrek bears all of the same convenience tech and features, including the verticle 11.6-inch infotainment screen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, bluetooth connectivity, rear camera and over-the-air updates; as well as Subaru's comprehensive EyeSight safety suite.
Priced domestically in the US from USD$31,995 (AU$47,781), there is sadly little precedence of Subaru's American Wilderness editions joining the Australian market.
In terms of the new Crosstrek Wilderness, an Australian spokesperson said: "We are always working to deliver on our customers' requests and we understand the Wilderness editions make their way onto the wish lists of many Australians, with the Crosstrek Wilderness likely to be no exception. However there is no new information to share on Wilderness offerings in Australia currently."