Why do so many of us still buy cars with off-road abilities?: XCAR
XCAR: Why do so many of us still buy cars with off-road abilities?
Cities are full of cars like the Subaru XV that can drive off-road but will never see any challenging terrain. What drives us to buy cars with these abilities when we don't really need them most of the time?
Mankind has been paving roads for thousands of years.
Almost as soon as we invented the wheel, we started inventing services to allow those wheels to turn more easily.
Over the 20th century, enough of our planet has been asphalted over to allow us to drive virtually anywhere in perfect ease, and yet, that's not enough.
Not satisfied with having access to virtually everywhere in the built up world, some of us want to access the rest of it and preferably without getting our feet muddy.
Today we snuck out into an area slightly more dangerous than our average shooting location to do just that.
I want to live behind the world of roads and rules, and comfort for an opportunity to carve my own path across a landscape that is meant to challenge some of the most capable cars out there.
The car we've chose today to go off-roading in is the Subaru XV.
Now of course, most people who buy this won't be taking it off road.
It is however, a pretty good [INAUDIBLE] vehicle.
And I actually really love it.
Top of the line at 25 grand I think you're getting a hell of a bargain.
Now most people who buy this car probably wouldn't take it off road and it certainly doesn't have any the fancy [UNKNOWN] sense control or adaptive drain controls that a modern Land Rover product might have but It's got a torquey engine and a driver behind the wheel whose been off-roading a couple times.
It's a Subaru with all wheel drive.
If it can't handle some off road, I might not be as enthused.
We've come out to the Saulsbury Planes to have a bit of a play around.
It's a massive area.
Not too far from where they test out artillery and tanks.
So The area is pretty dug up and quite rough.
And there are some nice little obstacles to get our teeth sunk into, or rather our tires if you prefer.
Let's see just how far we can push this thing.
It's not gonna be the worst offroading terrain ever presented to a car.
We should be able to have some fun.
Now as I said this isn't something that's necessarily sold to people who are going to take it off-road, that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be able to.
See, and to do most of this things you don't need fancy held descend control Adaptive terrain to some fast hands, a keen eye, a bit of common sense ,and of course all-wheel drive, and you're set.
Drive down any road in any city, and you'll spot car after car with the ability to tackle mud and snow or traverse small rivers if needed.
But most of these cars will never even see anything more threatening than a deep puddle.
But still we flock in droves to buy cars that have the capability to go where no car should have to.
But why, why in 2016 do we feel the need to leave the path more traveled?
And take to nature.
You see, I think it's all about conquest.
All of the gaps on the map have been filled in.
There's nowhere left to explore.
No matter where you go, you're never the first.
Just the latest in a long line of people to visit there, but when we drive a car that can go off-road, we reclaim even for a second A slight moment that feeling of discovery and conquest, even if we are doing it from the comfort of heated seats and radio four.
We feel unbound and unrestricted, not confined to the white lines of a road or even the In natural obstacles in nature.
We truly experienced that freedom we were promised when we first got our driver's license.
Soon as you realize that the car you're in doesn't need to be restricted by asphalt white lines and road regulations, and you've got the confidence to start throwing it around in some deep mud and ruts.
There's a whole world of fun to be had out there.
Big, slidy, muddy fun.
I had some doubts whether or not the XV could handle what we were going to throw at it, but it did remarkably well.
Today we've thrown [UNKNOWN],
ruts, hills, deep puddles up to small lakes
A lots of mud on this car.
And so far, it's dealt with everything just fine.
It took on every challenge we threw at it and came out unscathed.
It's comforting to know that during the inevitable zombie apocalypse, there are going to be vehicles out there that are able to take us to where we need, without having to rely on roads.
And I for one, celebrate that fact Of course for almost all of us almost all of the time, having the ability to traverse terrain like this is completely redundant but a primal side of us, the same part that keeps a torch in the house and some wellies by the door urges us to be prepared for any journey under any circumstances.
And with cars like the Subaru XV, we can do just that.
Your driving experience just isn't complete unless you're taking a car outside of the asphalt kingdom and challenge that off-road.
Drew Stearne heads up the XCAR team and has spent the last 8 years producing content for CNET, GameSpot and many other CBS Interactive sites. He's equally obsessed with fast cars as he is with filming and photography, if he isn't involved with one, he tries to make sure he's involved with the other.