Time to Redefine Off-Road Adventures

July 10th, 2014

Subaru off road

When you think of off-roading, do you think of massive Jeeps, dirty Land Rovers and ’72 Fords?

I sure do.

My mind conjures images of massive boulders and mud-caked fenders. The vehicles I imagine conquering these obstacles are either old and beaten up or gigantic and customized to the gills.

Off-roaders are formidable and strong. They aren’t Subarus.

Right?

Maybe it’s not my perception of off-road vehicles that is off, but my perception of what it really means to go off-roading.

Check out the top 3 car brands for off-roading, according to JD Power and reported by Autoblog:

1. Jeep (makes sense)
2. Ram (yup)
3. Subaru (not even making that up)

It’s true. In the recent study, Subaru was named the third most popular brand in America to indulge in off-road adventures.

That’s what makes me think my definition of off-roading is a little off. Instead of mud bogs and boulders, maybe the new definition of off-roading should include gravel roads and lightly maintained country lanes that lead to backpacking trails.

You’ll never find an Outback rock crawling, so the term “off-road” is rather ambiguous and surely includes dirt roads and trails that could be traversed in just about anything. There must be something about using a Subie on gravel that makes people feel like they’re properly using all-wheel drive.

About 30 percent of the Subarus sold in America are used on trails and dirt roads, which lags behind the Jeep and Ram brands, with 31 and 30.2 percent use off-road, respectively. Other brands that play up their off-road cred are rarely taken off the street. Less than 20 percent of GMC, Ford, Chevrolet and Land Rover vehicles ever see dirt under their tires.

In my experience, I’ve seen more Land Rovers oozing down the streets of Beverly Hills than I’ve ever seen conquering the back country of Washington.

If you are shopping for an off-road vehicle, is a Subaru on your list?

-tgriffith

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