Subaru Crosstrek

Performance remains lackluster despite solid sales

Roseville, Calif.- The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek arrived with the alluring tag of having a full redesign. What we quickly discovered is the changes aren’t very noticeable.

Unfortunately, Subaru didn’t address their most glaring weakness – performance. Essentially, nothing has changed in either engine. We’ve been test-driving various Subaru vehicles for more than 20 years and one annoying thing has never been addressed – performance remains lackluster.


Behind the Cellar Door

Behind the Cellar Door

Behind the Cellar Door

Behind the Cellar Door

Subaru says the redesign the latest version of the Crosstrek includes an improved chassis, redesigned interior, an updated exterior, improved infotainment and safety technology, and the new Wilderness trim level. We would characterize the list of changes as uninspiring.

And truthfully, perhaps Subaru didn’t need to make major changes with the Crosstrek. Since being introduced 11 years ago, the compact crossover SUV has enjoyed very good sales. It sold 110,000 or more cars the past seven years, including an all-time high of 159,193 in 2022. Changes – who needs them?

Filling a niche

The Crosstrek is part hatchback, part subcompact SUV, and fits the need for a certain niche who favor a small, versatile vehicle. Apart from the sporty BRZ, like all Subarus the Crosstrek comes with standard all-wheel drive. It also has a spacious, comfortable interior, delivers a smooth ride and is capable of some light off-roading, thanks in part to its 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

Historically, the Japanese automaker has rarely offered a V6 engine and the Crosstrek is no exception – a four-cylinder is the only option. It still has a weak base engine that is lacking when compared to multiple small SUV rivals. The upgraded engine is better, yet is not a substantial upgrade.

Fuel economy

The base engine is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that generates 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque, making it underpowered on the highway. Acceleration isn’t one of the strong points for the Crosstrek, evidenced by it going 0-60 mph in 9.5 seconds. Fuel economy is fine (27-34 mpg) and so is the towing capacity that ranges from 1,500 to 3,500 pounds.

We recommend upgrading to the larger 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that generates 182 horsepower, 178 pound-feet of torque. It’s still not quick (0-60 mph in 8.2 seconds), but is more powerful than the base engine. Fuel economy is about the same (26-33 mpg).

When in conventional driving situations, the Crosstrek handles well and is simple to navigate in small spaces. The steering is communicative and gives the driver a confident feel for the road.

AT A GLANCE – 2024 SUBARU CROSSTREK

  • Performance: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 152 horsepower; 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 182 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: $25,200 to $32,200
  • Price estimate: 27-34 mpg; 26-33 mpg
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; corrosion: 3 years/60,000

Safety & Interior

interior cabin of 2024 Subaru Crosstrek

Standard driver safety assistance features include forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure mitigation, lane centering system, pedestrian and cyclist detection, evasive-steering assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control.

There’s some criticism of the Crosstrek’s somewhat bland interior and the absence of cutting edge technology. Tech has never been Subaru’s strong suit, and the Crosstrek isn’t changing that perception. But the SUV is highly functional due to its clean layout. It has a standard 7-inch touchscreen that’s intuitive and incorporates buttons as well.

Up front, the seating is spacious and comfortable, with lots of head and leg room. The second room is not nearly as comfortable, yet it’s suitable for two adults. The cargo area is 19.9 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 54.7 cubes with the second row folded down.

Although performance is an obvious weakness, the positives for the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek are its nimble handling, smooth ride, solid interior, and overall versatility.

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