Off-Roading

7 post-quarantine tips for getting your off-roading rig ready to hit the trail

Before you hit the trail, you'll want to follow these tips to make sure your rig is ready.

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The trails are calling your name. Before you hit the road following an extended period of self isolation and driveway storage time, your off-roader may need a little TLC. Here's some quick tips to make sure your rig is ready for off-roading.

Check your tire pressure.

Sure, you may intend to lower the pressure when you hit the dunes, but you don't want to ride low on the way there. Having low tire pressure increases fuel inefficiency and can make you more susceptible to losing control of the vehicle while driving.

Make sure your lights are ready to go.

There are a number of reasons fuses go and sometimes it seems like there's no rhyme or reason. Before you set off, make sure all your lights are working, including the auxiliary ones you may have installed. Also, make sure none of the casings have been damaged and wire housings aren't showing any signs of dry rot.

Step back and examine the bumpers.

Were you parked in the street and got a bump you didn't know about? Has something slumped while parked? A once-around the car is a good idea just to be sure.

Don't forget about the spare tire.

Are there mice living in there? Has something rotted? Take a quick peek to ease your mind.

Check the cooling system.

You don't have to go elbows deep for this one. Just be sure that there's nothing obstructing the air intakes, radiator, etc. Leaves, dust, dander, and animal nests can easily take up residency while your rig sits unused.

Take a low speed spin around your neighborhood or head to a parking lot.

To make sure your steering and braking is as it should be after sitting for so long, get the system going in a safe manner at low speed. Execute tight turns, brake check with no one behind you, and ensure the throttle is working as you hope.

Test your tinkers.

Have you been tinkering with your off-roader during lockdown? Be sure to give it a thorough test drive before you set off for a day of fun, testing all your modifications. Even if you think you have everything right, there still may be something amiss.

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The Ascent got updated styling and fresh tech.

Subaru

Subaru's lineup is full of useful, adventure-ready vehicles, but most are not accommodating for full-size families. The Ascent solved that issue for the automaker a few years ago, and has been a popular family option since. It got a mild update for 2023 with a facelift and new tech. The Ascent comes in five trims: Base, Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring. It's expected to go on sale in fall 2022.

The Subaru comes with a new front fascia design that adds a new grille and aggressive styling up front. Lower air ducts help improve aerodynamics, and in higher trims the components come with chrome trim. The SUV's C-shaped taillights got a refresh as well, and now feature a sharper shape to better match the vehicle's overall styling.

2023 Subaru AscentThe new front fascia design is more aggressive than before. Subaru

The Ascent's powertrain remains in place, which is a turbocharged 2.54-liter four-cylinder making 260 horsepower. It sends power to all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission that offers a simulated eight-speed manual shifting mode. Subaru's X-Mode driving mode comes standard, which alters throttle response and other vehicle behavior to maintain traction in slippery conditions. Torque vectoring, which allows the vehicle to shift torque between wheels that need it most, also comes standard.

A new Onyx Edition trim joins the Ascent line for 2022. It brings a standard 11.6-inch touchscreen with navigation, a Harman Kardon sound system, power seats, and a panoramic sunroof. The base Ascent comes with features such as 18-inch wheels, USB inputs, tri-zone automatic climate controls, three rows of seating, and a whopping 19 cupholders. Subaru also offers an optional Cabin Connect system, which allows the driver or front passenger to communicate to people behind them through the stereo using a front-cabin-mounted microphone.

2023 Subaru AscentThe Ascent's interior is available with great tech, such as an 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Subaru

Subaru EyeSight safety equipment comes standard with every Ascent. The system is improved for 2023 with a wider field of vision and new software. A new wide-angle camera joins EyeSight's existing two-camera setup to provide better pedestrian and cyclist detection when approaching intersections. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, and lane change assist are available.

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The 2023 Crosstrek starts at $23,645.

Subaru

Subaru is one of the best at listening to its customers' needs, and the Crosstrek is a great example of that mindset. It's a useful vehicle with plenty of interior space and enough ground clearance to take its passengers well of the beaten path. Today, Subaru announced pricing for the 2023 Crosstrek and Crosstrek Hybrid. The duo will go on sale this summer.

Subaru CrosstrekThe Crosstrek's cabin is adventure-ready and packed with great tech. Subaru

The standard Crosstrek starts at $23,645 before destination and the Crosstrek Hybrid starts at $36,845. Five trims are available for the standard model, including Base, Premium, a new Special Edition, Sport, and Limited. The Hybrid comes in a single trim level. All Crosstrek variants get all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring and 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

The Base, Premium, and Special Edition trims come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 152 horsepower. The Sport and Limited trims get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 182 horsepower. Most models come with a continuously variable transmission, but the Base and Premium trims come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. The Crosstrek Hybrid comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with two electric motors. The plug-in system can deliver 17 miles of electric range.

Subaru CrosstrekThe Crosstrek delivers 8.7 inches of ground clearance.Subaru

True to Subaru form, the Crosstrek comes with a full suite of advanced driver aids, including automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure alerts, adaptive cruise, and more. These features are only available for CVT-equipped models. The Limited trim and the Crosstrek Hybrid add automatic high beams, reverse automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

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