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Get The Crossover That’s Right For You

Are your crossover’s mountaineering boots for hiking or style?
 
By Casey Williams
 
One of my favourite scenes in all of the Schitt’s Creek episodes centres on David admitting he sees Patrick as his boyfriend. In a rant about what is not correct (including plungers in front of the store and breath mints where lip balms should be), he provides as evidence “these mountaineering shoes that my boyfriend is wearing like Oprah on a Thanksgiving Day hike.” Definitely incorrect, but what about hiking boots on your comfy little crossover?
 
In the case of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness, absolutely correct! Outbacks are pretty capable in tennis shoes, but this is next-level. Catering to more daring owners, Subaru added ground clearance, off-road tires, flared plastic fender cladding, and a black anti-glare patch on the hood. Metal skid plates protect sensitive underbits. Electronic X-Mode enhances the vehicle’s traction and powertrain to storm up sloppy hills and creep feet-off down the other side. A turbocharged 2.4-litre with 260 horsepower gets it down-trail expeditiously.
 
There’s a lot of style, too. That strapping roof rack was fortified to handle 318 kg, enough for a two-person tent. All of the anodized copper accents hide functional elements like town hooks. I’d get the black alloy wheels and deep-tread tires just for flair. Go ahead and select delicious Geyser Blue paint too. Inside, faux leather seats and rubberized cargo compartment can be washed clean. Whether you drive this car to dinner or across deserts, it looks ravishing in all its kit.
 
Subaru’s big wagon isn’t the only crossover dressing like an army ranger. As Ford introduces its famous Bronco SUV, the Escape-based Bronco Sport entices a more urban crowd.
 
It looks the part with square shoulders and bulldozer grille. But it also comes with modes to help it conquer trails named “G.O.A.T.” (goes over any terrain), which configures the powertrain for Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand. Trail Control enables a cruise control-like setting up to 32 km/h forward and 9.5 km/h in reverse for automated throttle and braking. Add to that enhanced ground clearance and 245 horsepower turbo-four. The interior holds two mountain bikes and has washable rubber flooring in case things get messy. Front tow hooks get you out – or just provide pomp for cars and coffee shows.
 
Before you think that’s some sissified crossover, remember Jeep followed this formula for years with the Renegade Trailhawk, essentially a Fiat 500X with cleats. But its adjustable drive modes, enhanced 4×4 system with crawl ratio, skid plates and signature red tow hooks make it the Boy Scout who dresses properly. I once spent an entire day watching a Renegade follow Wranglers and Gladiators anywhere they ventured. It’s no poser.
 
When I recently drove the Outback Wilderness at an off-road park near Flint, Michigan, I was impressed with its capability – far beyond what I need for daily commuting, deep snow or summer vacations with my family. On the highway, pressing the turbocharger, soaking up rough northern roads, and looking like a boyfriend in mountaineering boots, I felt stylish. I’d buy the Wilderness or Bronco even if they never leave pavement.
 

 
CASEY WILLIAMS is a contributing writer for Gaywheels.com. He contributes to the New York-based LGBT magazine Metrosource and the Chicago Tribune. He and his husband live in Indianapolis, where Williams contributes videos and reviews to wfyi.org, the area’s PBS/NPR station.
 

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