SUVs shot to popularity in the 1990s as a rugged alternative to the sedan. Some crossovers today seem to have lost that thirst for adventure. Not so for the Subaru Crosstrek. With standard all-wheel-drive, a wide stance, and ruggedized body cladding, the Crosstrek looks like it’s ready for anything. The cabin is replete in durable plastics and fabrics. Modern tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and a WiFi hotspot is available.
What’s New: New mid-range Sport model starts around $26,500; Adds unique exterior trim, 17-inch wheels; Also comes with water-repellent StarTex upholstery; All Crosstreks now have automatic climate control.
- All-weather pro, with advanced all-wheel-drive
- Handsome and unique exterior styling
- Spacious and practical interior appointments
- Great fuel economy, especially with the Hybrid
- Base 2.0-liter engine could use more power
- Rivals come with more standard driver safety aids
- Handling is secure but lacks sportiness
The base and Premium trim levels of the Crosstrek employ a 2.0-liter flat 4-cylinder engine, which produces 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. Shoppers can pair this engine with either a 6-speed manual or single-speed continuously-variable (CVT) transmission. Fuel economy is very good, especially with the CVT — an EPA-estimated 28/33/30 mpg — but it is slow to accelerate.
A more powerful 2.5-liter engine is standard on the Sport and Limited models, which significantly improves driving performance. The engine creates 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque and is only available with the CVT. EPA-estimated fuel economy is better, too, at 27/34/29 mpg.
Those looking for even better mileage should check out the Hybrid. Its 2.0-liter engine makes 148 horsepower and 134 pound-feet of torque. It is estimated to return 36/35/35 mpg in regular driving, thanks to a start/stop system and regenerative braking technology. In electric-only mode, the Hybrid has a 17-mile range, which isn’t very much. The battery needs five hours to recharge using a standard household power outlet.
All Crosstreks use regular unleaded gasoline. The gas-only models get a 16.6-gallon fuel tank, while the Hybrid makes do with a 13.2-gallon reservoir.
The Crosstrek is an excellent choice for shoppers looking for a vehicle that can handle winter weather, or for those seeking a fun alternative to the average crossover. The Crosstrek has a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and a durable body that can take on rural dirt roads.
It’s not as refined nor as sporty as some rivals, and most of the advanced driver safety aids are only standard on the upper trims. But for Subaru loyalists or those in need of an eager camping or snowboarding companion, the Crosstrek should be at the top of the test-drive list.