There's a simple recipe to make a vehicle look more off-road oriented, which means that a lot of automakers can phone it in
Last month’s New York International Auto Show brought us a few new models, including a pair of off-road-oriented vehicles from Subaru and VW. Neither was what you’d call groundbreaking, though. Military All Terrain Vehicle
Both made it apparent that when automakers seek to create a special edition vehicle, there are strict recipes that must be followed, with only small amounts of latitude for originality. Both the Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness and the VW Atlas Peak Edition add a little plastic cladding, carefully placed body accents, new rims, and little else to their base vehicles.
The vehicles are also a fine example of how little an automaker actually has to do to create an off-road edition. While the Subaru at least adds some under body protection and a little extra ground clearance thanks to new shocks, the only truly off-road addition made to the VW (beyond the aesthetic mods) are the addition of chunky all-terrain tires.
Read: Subaru Dolls Up Crosstrek For The Wilderness
The thing is, just because there’s a recipe for this kind of thing, doesn’t mean it’s a bad one. The Porsche 911 Dakar, for instance, follows more or less the same steps, but it amounts to something really fun.
However, the existence of a recipe also means that some automakers think they don’t have to try that hard. That’s why today we’re asking what the least impressive off-road trim level of all time is. What supposedly off-road-ready vehicle leans on the recipe a little too heavily and shows a total lack of thought and originality? Or which version swung for the fences and got it wrong?
There are plenty of simply uninspired crossovers that have tried to be taken more seriously with low-effort off-road trims. The vehicle that sticks out in my mind as the weirdest and most unsettling, though, is the Volvo S60 Cross Country.
For some reason, where a lifted wagon with plastic cladding and bigger wheels feels right, it just looks weird when a sedan tries to pull it off. Like a dog walking on its hind legs, the S60 Cross Country just looks wrong. It’s so close to being cool, and yet it falls just short of achieving its aims.
Off Road Buggy What do you think, though? What’s the lamest-looking off-road variant of all time?