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Our Subaru WRX crossover: Results and regrets of 100 miles off-road

Our Subaru WRX crossover: Results and regrets of 100 miles off-road

The moment we saw Subaru’s 2022 redesignWRX Thanks to its controversial plastic bumpers, we knew we wanted only one thing: a WRX Wilderness.

Subaru’s all-wheel drive sports car has had roots in rallying from the beginning – let’s not forget that the moniker stands for ‘World Rally Experience’. There’s never been a better time to build a lifted, chunky off-road version of the WRX that can bomb around forest roads without fear of damage and serve as a performance halo car.Wild sub-brand?

Three years into the WRX’s life cycle, Subaru announced that it has no plans to enhance its sedan, an idea that probably had us laughing outside the restaurant when we mentioned the idea to a brand representative over lunch.

So while we wait for Subaru to make the objectively correct decision and build the WRX Wilderness, we decided to do a little experiment. Would you land a WRX in its current condition? We drove more than 100 miles on unpaved Forest Service roads outside Flagstaff, Arizona, using the WRX as camping gear and a monsoon hideout. This is what we learned.

Pros: Fuel economy

Any urban adventurer knows that all good trips start with escaping the mundane life of the city. Most of us aren’t lucky enough to have miles of isolated fire roads outside our front doors, which often means driving at least a few hours before the tires leave the pavement.

Our first destination, the Mogollon Rim Trail, runs through the Apache-Sitgraves and Coconino National Forests east of Phoenix.) It’s about 600 miles from MotorTrend’s headquarters in El Segundo, California. Including hops and hops to Tucson and at least five hours of driving on a forest road, our total mileage on the trip was over 1,700 miles.

No one thinks the WRX sucks fuel, but we were impressed with its efficiency on the road, especially compared to traditional land rigs. Our average mileage was 28.0 mpg, a big jump from the EPA combined rating of 22 mpg. For reference, the Ford F-150 Raptor (which we see a lot of on the road) gets 16 mpg combined. Over that distance, Subaru drivers will save more than $130 based on the national average price for premium fuel, even if the WRX returns its own EPA numbers.

Pros: Stands out

During the few hours we spent away from the dock, we got a clear idea of ​​the types of vehicles most people travel in on trips like ours. The Jeep Wrangler is probably the most common, but we also see plenty of Toyota FJ Cruisers, countless Tacomas and 4Runners, plenty of full-size pickups, non-WRX Subaru’s, and plenty of side-by-sides.

We were pleasantly surprised to find another Subaru driver exploring the limits of the WRX on an easier track, but there were few vehicles on the weekend that couldn’t at least be described as crossovers.

We saw a lot of likes and encouraging smiles from drivers. We were only mocked by a few inexperienced city dwellers, who were sure to get into the mud, driving dirt and gravel in their low-slung, cumbersome sedans in the summer. We would like to prove them wrong.

Disadvantages: Choice of path

One of the great things about driving a supercross car like oursLong range F-150 Raptor It is the width of the path that you can handle. The locking differential, excellent approach and departure angles, underbody protection, near-infinite ground clearance and large all-terrain tires meant it was almost impossible to damage the car or get us stranded on all but the toughest of roads.

The WRX doesn’t have that luxury. Although it benefits from four driven wheels, our Subaru had only 5.4 inches of ground clearance, minimal wheel articulation, sport-oriented street tires, and low bumpers and side skirts, waiting to weave in and out of obstacles that wouldn’t Noticed by the jeep.tear.

Not only does this complicate route selection (we joined a local 4×4 Facebook group for help and asked for help), but it can also make relatively flat fire roads dangerous. Our average speed was probably half that of the drilling rigs around us, as we carefully chose our routes to avoid potholes, sharp rocks and even large tree roots that might impede our forward momentum. The constant weaving around obstacles was a contrast to the easy trails we had enjoyed on our previous trips. Additionally, we were unable to participate in the antics of many of the would-be rally drivers as there were too many potholes which threatened to spoil our good time.Porsche 911 Dakar orLamborghini Huracan Sterato,this is not.

Disadvantages: space

Unfortunately, Subaru no longer makes the WRX hatchback or wagon. The brand’s publicist claims that the sedan sells much better. Regardless, we know it can’t match the hatchback’s capacity or superior cargo capacityLevorg WRX station wagonNot to mention a large pickup truck or even a jeep.

We were pleased to find that even as a sedanThe WRX has plenty of trunk space The back seat can hold camping gear, food and water for two people for a long weekend. However, we think the Levorg could accommodate more passengers, provides firewood for every cold night, and even comes equipped with a grill to enhance our backpacking stove dinners and instant noodles.

The relative lack of space also plays a role when we encounter unpredictable weather. Arizona is a state known for drought, but its residents also suffer from the effects of the summer monsoon season. After several hours of heavy rain, a large amount of water seeped into the side of our old tent. If we were traveling in a more traditional overland environment, such as a pickup truck with a roof or a full-size SUV, we would have no problem sleeping in the car. Instead, one of us slept in a wet tent while the other slept in WRX Recaros.

Cons: Prepare for weather

Just as there’s no need to worry when choosing a route, riders with more robust equipment can sleep at camp and be confident that they’ll make it home. We’re not sure about that.

Said storm arrived around 7:00 p.m., when we were still about 30 miles from the dock, on a route that was much more difficult than the one we had taken the day before. Panic begins.

Do we leave now, knowing that traffic will get worse during the night? Would we risk walking through a storm in the dark to avoid being trapped by fallen trees and impassable mud?

We spent the rest of the night thinking that at least if we got stuck in the morning, maybe the other campers could help. The trip back to the runway was slower than the trip into the woods, requiring navigating murky puddles and using the WRX’s all-wheel drive on some slippery inclines, but the Subaru got it done.

Subaru WRX Off-Roader: Maybe not?

After soiling a senior’s long-term employee’s car, and probably putting more miles on it than any other 2022 WRX, we had some time to think. If you define overlanding as a big adventure where you get off the pavement and camp out for hours outside your car, then yes, you can do that in WRX Overlanding.

He should? Good.

Our experience was less energy than we had hoped, a DIY pool phase and more breath-holding and butt-curling. The WRX’s street tires meant we were always worried about flat tires, with minimal clearance forcing us to slow down and pick our tiresCrosstrek Wilderness You barely notice the lines on the road, limited space limited our payload compared to more common vehicle options, which meant sleeping in the car was less comfortable.

We enjoyed the novelty of taking the WRX into at least some situations where it clearly doesn’t belong, and you shouldn’t let our concerns keep you from venturing off the beaten path if this is your only car. Maybe buy yourself some better tires.


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