Subaru Crosstrek

Roseville, Calif.- The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek is part hatchback, part subcompact SUV, and fits the need for a certain niche of people who favor a small vehicle with lots of versatility.

Apart from the sporty BRZ, like all Subaru vehicles the Crosstrek comes with standard all-wheel drive. It also has a spacious, comfortable interior and delivers a smooth ride and is capable of some light off-roading.

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Performance challenge

Yet there are several significant drawbacks as well. Chief among its negative traits is performance. That’s should come as no surprise, because historically, most Subarus fall short in the performance department.

Historically, the Japanese automaker has rarely offered a V6 engine and the Crosstrek is no exception – a four-cylinder is the only option. The weak base engine can be an issue and the cargo space (20.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats) is lacking when compared to multiple SUV rivals.

Subaru Crosstrek interior photo

Solid sales

Judging by sales, the Crosstrek has many admirers. Introduced in 2013, it broke the 100,000 sales barrier in 2017 and hasn’t drifted backward ever since. Sales reached a high of 155,142 in 2022, nearly triple the sales of its debut 10 years ago.

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 9.0 seconds. Fuel economy is fine (27-33 mpg) and so is the towing capacity average at 1,500 pounds.

However, for anyone wanting a more engaging engine, the Crosstrek does have an option – 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that delivers 182-horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. The 0-60 mph acceleration is much quicker than the base model at 7.5 seconds. Fuel economy is nearly identical (27-34 mpg) with the base engine and the towing capacity is the same.


  • Performance: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 152 horsepower; 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 182 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: $23,700 to $36,900
  • Price estimate: 28-33 mpg; 27-34 mpg
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited

While performance can be an issue, most Subaru enthusiasts enjoy the vehicle’s off-road versatility. The Crosstrek has an 8.7 inch ground clearance that pairs well with the standard all-wheel drive and available hill descent control. Yet don’t get too crazy on any off-road excursions – the Crosstrek wasn’t designed to climb boulders or travel through high waters.

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. What we don’t like is the rearview camera is the only standard driver safety feature – a long list of options all come with a price tag.


There’s some criticism of the Crosstrek’s somewhat bland interior and the absence of cutting edge technology. But it’s not an issue here because it’s highly functional due to its smart layout. It has a standard 6.5-inch touchscreens that’s intuitive and easy to master. Also standard is Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, and a USB port.

We enjoyed the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek for multiple reasons. Although performance is an obvious weakness, the positives are its nimble handling, smooth ride, solid interior, and overall versatility.

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