2021 Subaru Crosstrek
The Subaru Crosstrek is more than just a hatchback turned into a rugged crossover. There’s a lot more to this vehicle that will surprise you.
The compact Impreza hatchback had hosted a rugged version in the past. The Outback Sport would become the Crosstrek just a generation ago. Now in its second generation, the Crosstrek gained many owners and fans for its ability to follow Outbacks and Foresters both on- and off-road.
For 2021, Subaru updated the current Crosstrek by answering the customer’s need for more power. They added their 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine to the lineup to address the need for more performance. Our tester was equipped with this engine, so we were eager to find out whether the larger, more powerful engine makes a difference in this small crossover.
While sitting on Subaru’s Global Platform, the Crosstrek takes its cues from the Impreza hatchback. There are various differences between the two. The main difference is the 8.7-inch ground clearance giving the Crosstrek a taller profile. Other differences can be spotted from the updated grille and front bumper skin to the taillights and rear bumper design. Subaru made a concerted effort to distinguish the Crosstrek from its Impreza cousin.
Our Limited tester came with 18-inch alloy wheels and some chrome trim all around. We even have roof rails on our tester, giving it more of a SUV/crossover look overall.
Inside, the Crosstrek is very functional and useful. For example, the center screen sitting on top of the dashboard has a couple of specific screens for the Crosstrek—two that show what Subaru calls “vehicle systems operations.” One screen shows the all-wheel drive system operation, along with a degree that the vehicle is driving; the other shows the status of every driver assistance feature on the Crosstrek.
The instrumentation binnacle is clean, with a nice color TFT screen in-between the two analog dials.
A clean touchscreen for Subaru’s Starlink infotainment system that can also function for smartphone connectivity, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Subaru’s own Starlink app interface.
Front seat comfort is really good. The Limited’s seats are accommodating and supportive, with plenty of bolstering. Rear seat room is actually good for people just over six-feet tall. You can sit up to five insisde the Crosstrek without worry about fatigue. The cargo space is actually very useful, starting with 20.8 cubic feet expanding to 55.3 cubic feet with the rear seat down.
The big news for this Crosstrek Limited tester is the larger 182-horsepower 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine. If you have driven a Crosstrek with the smaller 2.0-liter engine, then you will be rewarded with this larger, more powerful engine. With the continuously variable transmission and Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, the larger engine packs a much needed extra punch in every situation we encountered with it. For more punch from this engine, you can engage the SI-Drive from the steering wheel. The S button will raise the revs on this engine for more performance. It also helps to have the added traction from the X-Drive system, enabling more control in less-than-ideal situations.
In terms of fuel consumption, we experienced an average of 27.8 MPG.
The Crosstrek’s ride quality is very good. Even with the higher ground clearance at 8.7 inches, suspension travel is well-managed and absorbs the bumps and cracks on all sorts of roads. Cornering is good with nominal roll and lean. Maneuverability is also very good, which makes for good handling all around.
The smaller size does help in creating tight turns. We like how the steering is responsive with great on-center feel and weight. The brakes are absolutely great! The pedal feel is solid and responsive down to the calipers. We experienced very good stops in normal and panic situations.
One thing to point out about the Crosstrek is its excellent EyeSight driver assistance system. The two sensors on top of the windshield does an excellent job for many of its active safety systems to keep the Subaru on the road, as well as protecting its occupants.
There are now four trim levels in the Crosstrek lineup. Pricing starts from $22,245. Our Limited tester came with a sticker price of $31,440. You can also get the larger, more powerful engine in the Sport model, as well.
Even though some may classify the Crosstrek as a hatchback or a crossover, it has plenty of competitors that customers have shopped it against. These competitors include the Jeep Compass, Nissan Rogue Sport, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Fiat 500X, Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, Chevrolet Trailblazer, and Buick Encore GX.
However, the Subaru Crosstrek is an original in its own right. It is designed for people with active lifestyles that need just the right amount of space to have fun in one. Add more power, and the fun factor will increase to match the smile on your face.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors