North Shore, Oahu - Fitting rather nicely into the hyperkinetic, lifestyle-centered madness of this Hawaiian beach paradise - where the bros can be bros and the deep and beautiful tans are universal - Subaru's new and distinctively outlandish XV Crosstrek did not seem all that out of place.
For the locals, that would mean strapping a surfboard onto the roof rails of this rugged and well-rounded variation of the Impreza platform; here in the mountains, those snowboards or bikes would be just as easily anchored atop.
Available in arresting colors such as the fantastic orange pictured here, Crosstrek seems ideal for those Coloradans who want considerable offroad athleticism mixed with more real-life ease-of-use than a four-door Jeep Wrangler or a gigantic 4x4 pickup truck.
Though some might dismiss it as a "soft-roader," those writers who came out to Hawaii to sample the Crosstrek did get to check out its not-insignificant capabilities, splashing through deep water and cranking it up some healthy inclines.
True to its Impreza underpinnings, Crosstrek features the same Symmetrical all-wheel-drive and a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter Boxer engine, tricked out with the choice of either a crisp 5-speed manual or a largely imperceptible continuously variable transmission.
The smaller engine seemed plenty powerful for some admittedly 3-feet-above-sea-level jaunts and is also estimated to get as much as 33 miles per gallon on the highway. A larger fuel tank will also get you much further down the road.
So who's the Crosstrek geared for, exactly? You can read a lot into Subaru's choice of venues for its launch event. Crosstrek is extremely lifestyle-oriented, with rugged looks that leave you with the same sort of feel as you got when you first saw an Xterra back in the day - or the equally outlandish Mini Countryman.
Its pontoony exterior, with buttress-styled corner bumper pads, air flow wedges under the rear tail and two-tone body and wheel-arch cladding, certainly make it look rugged. The outlined black and silver, 17-inch wheels are also one-of-a-kind; in the back, there's a socket ready for mounting a hitch and hauling 1,500 pounds of hipster trailer around with you.
And with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, you'll be able to high-tail it up a shale mountain trail or ... get it out of your parking spot in this winter's hopefully inevitable million feet of snow.
For those who are more outdoor-lifestyle in appearance than behavior, Crosstrek is also pretty civilized on the pavement, unlike a huge Jeep or truck. Though the suspension has been upgraded and lifted a bit from standard Impreza fare, Crosstrek is both pliable enough for amusing feats of articulation through deep holes as well as a totally placid and comfortable highway ride. None of the motion sickness you'd get, either.
The gear ratios are pretty low, so it takes a careful effort to accelerate very quickly, though those gears also mean the uphill and downhill work is a little more easily controlled.
And the moderate roominess of the five-door Impreza remains, with loads of room in the back (52.4 cubic feet, with seats dropped) for all of your expensive gear, plus a standard cargo area cover.
The interior gets a bit of a model-specific makeover, with offset stitching on the pliable cloth seats (leather is also available) and some aluminum-colored trim throughout the cabin.
It's still very much black-on-black-on-black in there and the Impreza's austerity shines through with open cupholders, optional automatic AC controls and a choice of stereos or two different sized, extremely aftermarket-styled touchscreen navigation systems.
Prices weren't made available but the Crosstrek is said to probably only cost between $1,500 and $2,000 more than a standard AWD Impreza.