Our Little Exploration Vehicle…

Our 2019 Subaru Forester vehicle. Why did we choose this vehicle? It gets great gas mileage yet still has some capability to it. Yes, I know it’s not 4-wheel drive, I own a Toyota FJ that we use for trips that require that! However, the Forester has decent cargo capacity and within its limits, can handle a lot of what we do.

First major upgrade was a set of Falken Wildpeak A/T tires. Everyone said to go with the BF Goodrich KO2’s but they were way too heavy for my taste. I would’ve added about 90 pounds to the vehicles unsprung weight capability and since the engine only produces 182hp I looked for a lighter tire that was still functional and wouldn’t put as much strain on the drive train. With these tires, handling was improved yet road resistance was minimally affected.

Next up was a decent set of rims. Sorry Subaru…you make ugly rims!!! We opted for the Method MR502’s since they checked all of the boxes on our wish list. These rims are rock solid and I must say, they make the Subaru look A LOT better.

Since our Subaru Forester was a base model, I had to add a 12VDC outlet and USB 3.0 ports on the rear of the center console to provide charging capabilities while we are on the road. I repurposed a Lenovo Tablet for navigation duty and paid for the GaiaGPS app. The Lenovo M10 FHD tablet stays plugged into the USB 3.0 port on the rear of the center console all the time and allows us to charge our phones from the front two USB ports on the dash.

Fully loaded for our recent trip, you can see a little bit of saggy butt which is common for Subaru’s. We will address that at a future date. I installed a rear tow hitch and receiver in case we add a swing out tire carrier in the future. The roof rack looks cool but we don’t really use it other than to haul a spare tire or something. It decreases gas mileage by an estimated 3mpg so we may take it off.

The final modification was to add a 20 inch LED lightbar to the front for additional lighting. Since we were leaving our campsites really early, the lighting helped tremendously on the forest roads in the early morning.

I wish I had a legitimate E-brake rather than this push button crap but the Crosstrek was too small for our needs. The only other negative is the EyeSight Car Safety System.. it’s annoying! It feels like R2-D2 is riding along with us…beeping, chiming, chirping. Maybe we’ll get used to it. Some of the features you can turn off, others you really can’t.

Other than that, it performed really well (better than I expected) on the trip and handled some rugged, rocky forest roads with ease. We made it from the Cossatot River all the way home via the scenic route and still had a little less than half a tank of gas left.

As a parting picture…this is what the back-end looked like inside…

More to come…

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