I have a grand plan to drive to Denali next summer (2020). Actually “plan” isn’t accurate, as that implies thought beyond “I’m totally going to probably do that”. Since I don’t own the slammed Outback pictured above, I need to choose a vehicle to coerce into my delusional adventure. I’m a little hesitant to take the 221,000 mile Land Cruiser, although I think it could probably make it.
It just seems like overkill when the trip involves mostly highway driving, with gravel or dirt roads being the maximum capability required. Let’s not even get into the fuel consumption (insert your own Exxon Valdez joke here).
My wife wouldn’t want me to take her beloved FJ even if I wanted to, and honestly it reminds me of one of those shelter dogs that’s been abused but is loyal as hell; the lift kit, aftermarket skid plate, mystery wires and switches for accessories that are no longer there, and rust in unusual places (like the interior- what happened there?) make me a little nervous about trusting it on a long journey.
Enter the solution:
That’s right, “Lumpy” the Crosstour. Nobody will care if it comes back covered in rock chips like pimples on a teenager, it gets decent mileage, is AWD, and get this: if I decrease the wheel size to 16” I can put KO2’s on it! The thought of gnarly knobby tires on an Accord wagon makes me giddy for some reason. I’m planning on building a roof rack that can hold my Thule cargo carrier, a jerry can of fuel, a full size spare, and 38 pounds of beef jerky. I looked for a lift kit, but was shocked (shocked!) that there isn’t a lot of overland support for the Crosstour.
Obviously this will not be a true off road machine, but driving on washed out dirt roads really just takes patience and a disregard for the well-being of the vehicle, which the Crosstour is perfectly suited for. I don’t like that it won’t hold first gear for steep grades, and have had a few instances of worrying that the brakes would fade at a very inopportune moment, but I haven’t ended up in a ravine yet. This doesn’t worry me as much as it should, because if I do end up leaving it at the end of a logging road to serve as a shelter for field mice and hippies, I won’t really miss it.