Subaru Forester Mountain Rescue Vehicle

The 2009 Subaru Forester is already an excellent vehicle -- small, swift and chuckable yet with surprising off-road prowess and interior room. In fact, the new Forester is so good that we recently dubbed it our Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year. That said, the little Subie crossover isn't exactly a hard-core rock crawler, and despite offering a 2.5XT model with 224 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque, its 7.2-sec 0-60 mph time won't win any drag races, either. So for this year's SEMA show, the automaker is addressing these concerns with a new Mountain Rescue Vehicle, as well as a screaming fast, STI-influenced concept for soccer moms who have motor oil in their veins -- the Forester XTI.

Based on the 2.5XT turbo, Subaru's Forester Mountain Rescue Vehicle concept is meant for use by the Ski Patrol, and includes a host of rugged upgrades to help it storm snow banks and aid stranded vacationers who accidentally went for triple black diamond instead of the bunny hill. A full 14-in. of ground clearance (up from the stock Forester's 8.9-in.) is available through an Air Lift adjustable suspension, special Yokohama Geolander tires and 15-in. custom-reversed near-zero offset steel wheels aid traction, front and rear skid plates protect the undercarriage, and an emergency light package helps the vehicle stand out in a blizzard. In addition, the CUV sports extra body shielding, including fender flares and lower door cladding, as well as rescue equipment like a toboggan and 9500-lb winch.