This Subaru has an appetite for adventure | Top Gear
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Monday 25th September

This Subaru has an appetite for adventure

With a few mods, Crawford Performance has turned a Crosstrek into a proper off-roader

Published: 03 Jun 2020

The Crosstrek (or the XV, as it’s known over here) is Subaru’s anxious crossover-shaped comedown after all those wild partying years and success with the Impreza. Admittedly, it’s rugged, safe and well-equipped – so appeals to Subaru die-hards. But, for the rest of us, having lusted after generations of Mitsubishi-baiting rally reps, it’s just a bit… dull.

Luckily, Crawford Performance has stepped in to offer a bolt-on package of off-road parts to give the bland crossover a glow-up fit for any adventure.

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As you can see, the stance is quite a bit more radical than standard. That’s thanks to a 2-inch lift kit, 15” Method wheels and chunky off-road rubber. Just look at that sidewall! There’s also more guard rails than a bowling multiplex. There's new front, rear and side metalwork to stop the boulder that you forgot to see from destroying the bodywork when you nerf it at 40mph. It doesn't stop there, though. Extra armour has been added underneath too, in the shape of hefty front and transmission skid plates. Finally, there’s the all-important light bar and classic blue and gold livery. Because no lust-worthy Subaru is complete without those.

The upgrades are inspired by the Subaru of America Crosstrek Desert Racer, Scooby’s official Baja beast that Crawford Performance, Subaru Motorsports USA and Grabowski Brothers Racing teamed up to build last year. So when it comes down to fabricating something that can get down and dirty off-road, these folks know what they’re talking about.

Unfortunately, the civilian Crosstrek doesn’t get the race car’s mechanical upgrades. So you have to make do with the stock 2.0-litre boxer engine, CVT gearbox (bleurgh) and driveline. But the engine has been lightly breathed on, with some intake spacers and an air-oil separator, so there’s a bump up to 167bhp, instead of the standard 152bhp. The exhaust has also been liberated, so expect a more tuneful boxer note to come out of the back end.

We're told Crawford's intent is to bridge the gap between a fully built race-car and a production model Crosstrek. And, considering prices are set to be around £28,000, that seems like a very easy entry into hitting the dirt. Now we just have to try it to really make sure…

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