2021 Subaru Crosstrek first drive review: A little more capable, a little more compelling

    Subaru’s compact and succesful Crosstrek obtained a fairly substantial replace for the 2021 mannequin 12 months, however you most likely will not discover at a look. The mid-cycle refresh leaves the outside practically unchanged, apart from a couple of styling tweaks and a few wheel arch cladding for the brand new Sport trim seen right here. Instead, the Crosstrek’s adjustments occur largely within the engine bay and on the checklist of normal and accessible driver-assistance applied sciences — they usually all go a great distance towards making Subaru’s compact crossover much more compelling than earlier than.New 2.5-liter engineThe Crosstrek can now be optioned with a bigger, extra {powerful} 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which it scavenges from its senpai, the Subaru Forester. In the lighter Crosstrek, the engine’s 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque really feel a bit extra responsive, however extra importantly, the crossover is noticeably extra sprightly than it was with the older, 2.0-liter engine — which remains to be accessible, by the best way. Compared to the two.0, the two.5 is working with 30 additional hp and 31 extra lb-ft of torque. That’s 20% extra get-up-and-go. 
    Of course, Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system is normal. The Crosstrek’s Lineartronic repeatedly variable transmission is not too unhealthy when tooling round city and commuting, but it surely does not do the Subaru any favors when requested to hustle, no matter whether or not the SI-Drive powertrain mode selector is about to Intelligent or the marginally extra aggressive Sport program.

    The general journey high quality is sweet and more often than not the Crosstrek feels extra like a hatchback than what most individuals may consider after they learn “small SUV.” Over bumps, the Crosstrek is snug and its 8.7 inches of floor clearance lend a shocking quantity of path functionality. That journey top turns into a little bit of a legal responsibility in case you get too ham-fisted with the steering, although, with loads of physique roll letting you realize when it is time to relax.Interestingly, the two.5-liter engine is almost on par with the two.0-liter boxer-four with regards to gasoline financial system. Rated at 27 miles per gallon within the metropolis, 34 mpg freeway and 29 mpg mixed, the stronger powerplant solely sacrifices a single mpg from the mixed estimate in comparison with the smaller, less-powerful engine possibility. 

    In addition to styling adjustments, the Sport mannequin additionally includes a extra strong X-Mode system.
    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow
    Aside from the elevated value of stepping as much as the brand new Sport or high tier Limited trim ranges — which, in equity, additionally embody extra normal options for the cash — there’s actually no tradeoff for going with the larger engine. Then once more, the two.0-liter, with 152-hp and 145-lb-ft of torque, remains to be the one solution to get the elective six-speed handbook transmission, if that is your jam. Sadly, the handbook gearbox comes with a couple of hidden prices together with stepping down to only 25 mpg mixed and dropping entry to lots of the Crosstrek’s driving aids.

    The new Sport mannequinThe 2021 mannequin 12 months ushers in a brand new Crosstrek Sport trim with some fascinating efficiency and amenity enhancements. Visually, the Sport has a extra pronounced entrance bumper and wheel arch cladding, in addition to a darkish end for the grille and exterior trim. The Sport’s 17-inch wheels are completed up in a darkish grey end, too.Inside, you may discover seats upholstered with water-repellent StarTex cloth and Sport-embroidered flooring mats manufactured from 25% recycled materials. Bright yellow trim items and distinction stitching go properly with the Sport’s unique Plasma Yellow Pearl paint, which I personally assume is a unbelievable hue. My girlfriend, nonetheless — who is generally an enormous fan of the Crosstrek — thought it was a bit an excessive amount of, calling it “vomit-y.” I suppose there is no accounting for poor style.Sport fashions come normal with the brand new 2.5-liter engine, however improve to a dual-function model of Subaru’s X-Mode terrain administration system, including Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud packages for the all-wheel-drive system and brake-based traction management. Other CVT-equipped fashions characteristic single-mode terrain administration — mainly, on or off. Hill-descent management provides a little bit of surefootedness to steep grades and is a part of the X-Mode tech whether or not or not you go for the Sport.EyeSight, normal for many Crosstrek fashions, positive aspects a brand new trick this 12 months.
    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow
    Safety techAlmost each Crosstrek (not less than, each one with a CVT) comes normal with Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assistance security suite. This 12 months, EyeSight positive aspects adaptive cruise management that now contains lane-centering help. The steering help works nicely; it is not as sturdy as some programs I’ve examined, but additionally not as intrusive, which lends to the Subie’s relaxed on-road demeanor. Meanwhile, pre-collision braking, pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning all carry over from final 12 months.This Sport tester is supplied with an elective $1,600 package deal that provides blind-spot monitoring with lane-change help and rear cross-traffic alert, in addition to an influence sunroof and upgraded dashboard tech. For one of the best driver-aid expertise, step as much as the Limited mannequin the place you may get high-beam help and reverse computerized braking normal.I kind of anticipated the EyeSight improve to incorporate Subaru’s DriverFocus attention-monitoring system, which watches the motive force’s face and alerts them in the event that they’re distracted or drowsy, however alas, it is not included on the 2021 Crosstrek. For now, that system can solely be discovered on Subaru’s bigger Outback and Forester crossovers, in addition to the Legacy sedan.Sport fashions characteristic yellow inside trim and matching distinction stitching.
    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow
    Starlink infotainmentSubaru’s Starlink infotainment suite carries over principally unchanged, right here in its upgraded Multimedia Plus spec with an 8-inch touchscreen and TomTom-powered navigation software program. It’s an honest setup with a properly organized menu construction and responsive interface, but additionally nothing to write down dwelling about. That stated, I actually assume I desire this smaller, less complicated system to the large, vertical display screen you may discover within the new Legacy and Outback. The extra petite possibility is simply simpler to wrap my head round. Besides, with normal Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, I do not assume anybody who carries a contemporary telephone shall be left wanting for media streaming apps or wonderful navigation software program, even when they forgo the tech improve and persist with the Crosstrek’s normal 6.5-inch display screen.The Crosstrek additionally options Subaru’s subscription-based Starlink telematics companies. Starlink Safety Plus and Security Plus grant distant management and automobile monitoring by way of a smartphone app, permitting drivers to lock/unlock the doorways, distant begin the Crosstrek with pre-set local weather controls on chilly or sizzling days and obtain notifications when the automobile’s alarm is triggered. Collision notifications, emergency SOS help and roadside help are the kind of options you hope to by no means use, however shall be glad to have while you do. Parents can make the most of options like geofencing and extreme velocity notifications — useful when lending the Crosstrek to a youthful driver. There’s additionally a Starlink Concierge Package that unlocks “in-vehicle assistance with restaurant and hotel reservations, purchasing tickets for sporting/theater events and scheduling service appointments,” in keeping with Subaru. That sounds cool, but it surely’s additionally considerably redundant to anybody with a functioning telephone of their pocket.The 2021 adjustments solely make the Crosstrek a extra compelling possibility.
    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow
    Pricing and availabilityThe 2021 Subaru Crosstrek stays a robust and sensible selection for drivers in search of combine of sunshine off-road functionality and wonderful on-pavement manners. With extra normal options and extra accessible energy, you’ll be able to anticipate a worth enhance, however not as a lot as you may assume.Including a $1,050 vacation spot cost, the beginning worth for the bottom 2021 Crosstrek is simply $23,295 with the six-speed handbook, which is simply $100 greater than final 12 months. Go for the CVT and also you’re $24,645 — a rise of $140. Considering the CVT additionally comes with EyeSight security tech and X-Mode terrain management, it is most likely the extra lifelike start line for many drivers. The new Sport trim begins at $27,545 and Subaru does not even cost additional for the flowery yellow paint. With the sunroof and tech upgrades, my instance pictured right here is available in at $29,145. Ever since its launch, the Crosstrek has carved out a pleasant little area of interest for itself and continues to match favorably towards different autos at this smaller finish of the compact SUV area. The 2021 Crosstrek is hitting dealerships as you learn this and it is a extra well-rounded selection than ever. 2021 Subaru Crosstrek


    2.5-liter H4


    182 hp


    176 lb-ft



    Fuel financial system

    27 metropolis / 34 hwy / 29 mixed mpg


    176.5 in


    71.0 in


    63.6 in

    Curb weight

    3,265 kilos

    Max cargo capability

    55.3 cubic toes

    Base worth


    As-tested worth


    On sale


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