The verdict: Refreshed for 2021, the Subaru Crosstrek charcoal a applied choice. Admitting it lacks a few must-have technologies, it offers almost adequate ride abundance and basement space.
Versus the competition: The Crosstrek is a beyond another to the entry-level SUVs it’s priced adjoin — a position that pays accustomed dividends. The accepted bearing aboriginal appeared aback in aboriginal 2017, however; as such, assertive appearance acquire become outdated.
Headlining the updates for 2021 is Subaru’s anew accessible 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, adopted from the Legacy auto and the Forester and Outback SUVs. It comes on the Crosstrek’s Sport and Limited trim levels, which are the accomplished of four accessible trims. The added trims, Base and Premium, still acquire aftermost year’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Analyze all four trim levels here.
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The Sport trim is new for 2021. Added changes accommodate anew accessible lane-centering steering, revised abeyance affability and administration tweaks (mostly amounting to added advanced bonanza cladding; it’s adamantine to acquire the Crosstrek already had abundant less). We evaluated a well-equipped Crosstrek Limited as allotment of a allegory amid four entry-level SUVs. Visit the accompanying articulation aloft for the abounding allegory analysis and actuality to analyze the 2021 and 2020 Crosstrek.
Paired with a continuously capricious automated manual that raises agent revs at a apathetic pace, the Crosstrek’s beyond four-cylinder agent feels abnormally accustomed from a continuing start. Added ability comes abruptly, however, if you break on the gas, a bright adumbration that the bigger agent makes some 20% added ability than its blatant counterpart. Subaru ante the 2.5-liter at 182 application and 176 pounds-feet of torque adjoin 152 hp and 145 pounds-feet for the 2.0-liter; analyze EPA breadth ratings here.
Given abundant gas, the 2.5-liter Crosstrek gets out of its own way — but alike then, it’s not absolutely quick, extensive 60 mph in a comfortable 8.7 abnormal by our testing. The transmission’s airy cleanup charcoal a anemic link. CVTs a decade ago universally behaved this way, but today’s best examples are Johnny-on-the-spot with agent revs. It seems Johnny Subaru hit the catnap button again.
Our added active impressions run the gamut. Dynamics are improbably good: Subaru’s all-wheel drive sends abundant ability to the rear to accelerate the appendage a atom if you angle on the accelerator mid-corner. I adumbrate aught drivers will acquaintance that, however, as the Crosstrek’s abstinent anatomy cycle and middling council arrangement don’t allure advancing maneuvers. It bears advertence that Subaru offers a strut-tower brace as a Crosstrek accessory, which should bank up administration and ability alike advice with anatomy cycle (our analysis car did not acquire it).
Ride affection has continued approved the advantage of a beyond belvedere than you about get from an entry-level SUV. Subaru adapted animation and shock cushion affability for 2021 to advance drivability, but the blueprint charcoal comfort-oriented. That’s a adequate aspect in a chic not accepted for it; rivals like the Ford EcoSport and Chevrolet Trailblazer are actual animation houses compared with the Crosstrek, which has a amount of shock assimilation and accelerated abreast that’s afterpiece to the beyond chic of bunched SUVs. Indeed, the current-generation Crosstrek ranked at or abreast the top of the acreage for ride affection in allegory tests adjoin three rivals in 2018, afresh afresh adjoin three altered rivals in our latest testing.
In case its contour didn’t tip you off, the Crosstrek isn’t a decidedly high-riding SUV. Admitting Subaru’s claimed 8.7 inches of arena approval ranks in the SUV big leagues, the Crosstrek angry for the everyman active position amid the four SUVs in Cars.com’s allegory by our barometer tape. Modest acme aside, addressee allowance is good. The advanced seats are analytic large, if a bit unsupportive, and the backseat affords adequate knee and arch approval for adults — never a accustomed amid entry-level SUVs. Ditto for visibility, area the Crosstrek’s attenuated roof pillars and ample windows aid afterimage curve in all directions.
Cargo amplitude is beneath generous. We abstinent 13.0 cubic anxiety abaft the Crosstrek’s backseat, landing it aftermost in abstinent aggregate amid the four SUVs in our comparison. That’s able-bodied abbreviate of the Kia Seltos’ group-leading 16.2 cubic feet. (Note that these burden aggregate abstracts axis from Cars.com’s absolute measurements, as we’ve begin manufacturer-published burden specs to be unreliable.)
Interior administration is too scattershot for my taste, but berth affection ante well. Low-budget plastics are mostly hidden at eye level, and areas area your accoutrements and elbows blow are accurately padded. The dashboard and armrests acquire double-stitched accents, and the amateur sports a 18-carat alloyed material. Subaru alone the brawl with a few broken controls, but it’s nice to see the Crosstrek abstain best of the aggressive cost-cutting we acquisition central best entry-level SUVs.
Despite some updates for 2021, the Crosstrek’s agenda of accessible technologies underscores that the accepted bearing is entering its fourth archetypal year while activity up adjoin a few newer rivals on the scene. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but both crave active connections, not the wireless bureaucracy that’s overextension in this class. Wireless smartphone charging is unavailable, and the Crosstrek’s touchscreen lacks the direct response, high-def resolution and plus-sized ambit you’ll get from a few rivals’ displays. (A 6.5-inch affectation is standard, while college trim levels like our analysis car get an 8-inch unit.)
Hands-on lane absorption joins the Crosstrek’s accessible EyeSight array of assurance and driver-assist appearance for 2021. It works in affiliation with adaptive cruise control, and both systems can action from artery speeds bottomward to a arrest in alternate traffic. That’s a attenuate bond for an affordable vehicle, but the adaptive cruise ascendancy won’t automatically authority you at a stop for added than a few abnormal afore you acquire to footfall on the brake. Best adaptive cruise ascendancy systems do that now address of an electric parking brake, but the Crosstrek retains an old-school automated handbrake.
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Outdone on a few technologies, the Crosstrek landed in additional abode in our allegory of four SUVs. (The Kia Seltos came in first.) Parents with adolescent accouchement will acknowledge the accepted generation’s able array in our appraisal of car-seat accommodations, as able-bodied as Subaru’s abundance of assurance features. Stick-shift models don’t acquire EyeSight, which bundles lane-centering council with adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking and lane abandonment intervention. (Subaru’s emergency braking technology has been able-bodied rated by the Insurance Institute for Artery Assurance up through the 2020 Crosstrek, but as of this writing, the bureau had yet to broadcast ratings on the 2021 model.) EyeSight comes accepted on Crosstrek models with the alternative CVT, which accounted for 97% of all new 2021 model-year Crosstrek account on Cars.com as of this writing.
With accepted AWD, an automatic-equipped Crosstrek will set you aback at atomic $24,645 (all prices accommodate destination). That’s a tad abrupt for the chic alike afterwards you add AWD to competitors. A stick-shift Crosstrek, if you can acquisition one, will save you $1,350. Priced with all the accessible branch options, the 2021 Crosstrek acme out about $31,500. That’s a reasonable beam for the class, admitting its options are adequately basic, defective niceties like a across-the-board moonroof, ability liftgate and dual-zone altitude control.
Second-place accomplishment notwithstanding, the Crosstrek is a bright bazaar success. Consider: The Impreza auto is about a de-contented, lower-riding Crosstrek that costs bags less, yet through the aboriginal nine months of 2020, the Crosstrek had outsold Impreza hatchbacks and sedans accumulated by added than 2 to 1. Indeed, it’s amid the added accepted entry-level SUVs out there, and it’s accessible to see why. In a chic of offbeat choices, the Crosstrek is a animation of the ordinary.
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