No matter the brand, whenever a manufacturer introduces a vehicle in the compact crossover class, the press release inevitably targets it toward “youthful consumers with an active lifestyle.” If you want a compact crossover, but your idea of an “active lifestyle” is your daily hike from the car to the Starbucks counter for a Frappucino, we’re here to offer some car tips to make it look like you could out-survive Bear Grylls.
Drive a Subaru Product
Everybody who ever purchased a Subaru over a Honda or a Toyota envisions themselves as rugged individualists, even if their idea of roughing it is a room at Hampton Inn. As soon as Subaru launched the Outback — a Legacy wagon with leftover plastic cladding from the Pontiac Division — the parking lot at Target is jammed with hearty adventurers. In places like Vermont, the state practically issues you a green Forester when you get your driver’s license.
Add a Rooftop Box
We were at the New England International Auto Show a week or so ago, and our pal Kamil Kaluski from Hooniverse observed that manufacturers from Subaru all the way up to Bentley started offering bespoke rooftop boxes. Is it any wonder why when a Thule Hyper XL retails for about a grand? If you just want to express to the world that you’re active, buy the top box and fill it with your comic books, Ding Dongs, or Xbox discs.
Buy a Wrangler
There is no vehicle currently for sale on earth with more aftermarket dedicated to active, off-road lifestyles than the Jeep Wrangler. From the early YJ to the current JK generation, the Wrangler has the potential to get you almost literally to Hell and back. Yet in our unimpeachable research at the mall, approximately 92 percent of Jeep Wrangler off-road adventures consist of getting one wheel in a sandy spot at the Nantasket Beach parking lot.
Apply Some Mud Decals
Driving around with dirt, dust and mud clinging to your car signals that you lead a lifestyle so active you don’t have time to visit the car wash. But why take the risk of any of that mud attaching itself to your $120 7 For All Mankind skinny jeans when you can simply apply some mud decals to the flanks of your rugged Ford F-150?
Stick On Some Stickers
There’s no reason to actually participate in an active lifestyle when there are so many stickers around that you can simply affix to your rear window. Ski areas, outdoor outfitters, climbing equipment, goggles, all operate just as brisk a business in sticker proliferation as they do in actual product sales. While you’re at it, leave that lift ticket from Suicide Six in 2011 on the jacket that you bought at the ski swap.
Carry a Tow Strap
The universal accessory for those who want to suggest that they can pull you out of a tight spot, even if that strap is still in its original shrinkwrap. The bonus is it’s bright yellow so it can’t be missed by anyone you’re trying to impress.
Stock The Interior With Action Sports Accoutrements
Get creative with the garbage you place throughout your interior. Put a Yeti Rambler in the cupholder. Carry your keys on a Black Diamond Screwgate Carabiner. Spread empty GU packets — ohhhhh, salted caramel — around the floormats.
Install A Grill Guard
Used to be that when you installed a grill guard, you did so because you wanted a protective barrier between your vehicle’s vulnerable frontal area and the brush you were driving through. Today, they seem to serve more as fashion accessories, but they still have that headed-for-the-hills look.