Editor’s note: Zack Cartee is a Northern California firefighter with a love for Subarus. He is a founding member of the Mtn Roo State of Jefferson chapter, an off-road Subaru community. His car is a 2018 Crosstrek, but he’s wasted no time in setting it up to be a truly off-road capable vehicle.
I’ve been interested in cars for as long as I can remember. I grew up riding motocross, so naturally, driving off road has always been a major interest of mine. I remember when I was younger waking up an hour early for school to get some laps in on the Gran Turismo or Need for Speed video games.
Currently, I drive a 2018 Subaru Crosstrek, premium trim with the 6-speed. I have always loved Subarus, but after being in an accident and having a Subaru keep me safe, I can say I’ll be a Subaru customer for life.
Prior to my Crosstrek, I had a 2016 WRX and a 2015 STI. I made the switch to the Crosstrek as I wanted a car that is more off-road capable to get into overlanding with my fiancé, who drives a 4Runner also wrapped in BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KO2s. I’d say the thing I love most about my Crosstrek is its handling. It’s set up for off-roading, but is still plenty of fun in the corners on a mountain road.
I get more people asking about the Crosstrek than the STI.
The off-road ability is also surprising. I expected it to be way more limited than it is. So far, the only issues I have run into are approach and departure angles, both of which will be solved with bumpers soon enough. The reaction to my Crosstrek has been a good one as well. People seem to really like it. I was expecting it to get much less attention than my STI, but I get more people asking about it than the STI.
I’ve had the car six months and it already has 15,000 miles on it. I have been all over Northern California and Oregon in that time. Of all the spots I’ve been so far, the headwaters of the Smith River is my favorite. It is far enough out that you won’t see anyone, and it is beyond beautiful! But pretty much anywhere along the Northern California and Southern Oregon coast is my happy place!
So far, I have an Anderson Design & Fabrication lift, Method wheels, BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KO2s, a Yakima rack set up, various lights, and a front skid plate. Bumpers, sliders, full underbody skid plates, and springs are all in the works. I chose KO2s for the car because we already had them on the 4Runner and we love them. We chose them for the 4Runner as all the research I did told me they were the best, most reliable tire. After we were able to pull my buddy’s rental car sideways through a parking lot in 2 feet of fresh snow, I was sold. Now, having them on both vehicles, I can say that reputation rings true!
Follow Zack and his Crosstrek’s adventures on Instagram at @norcal_crosstrek.