2021 Subaru Crosstrek first drive evaluate: A bit extra succesful, a bit of extra compelling

Subaru’s compact and succesful Crosstrek acquired 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 almost unchanged, except for just a few styling tweaks and a few wheel arch cladding for the brand new Sport trim seen right here. As a substitute, the Crosstrek’s modifications occur largely within the engine bay and on the record of ordinary and obtainable driver-assistance applied sciences — and so they all go a good distance towards making Subaru’s compact crossover much more compelling than earlier than.

New 2.5-liter engine

The 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. Within 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 obtainable, by the way in which. In comparison with the two.0, the two.5 is working with 30 further hp and 31 extra lb-ft of torque. That is 20% extra get-up-and-go. 

In fact, Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system is normal. The Crosstrek’s Lineartronic repeatedly variable transmission is not too dangerous when tooling round city and commuting, nevertheless it would not do the Subaru any favors when requested to hustle, no matter whether or not the SI-Drive powertrain mode selector is about to Clever or the marginally extra aggressive Sport program.

The general journey high quality is nice and more often than not the Crosstrek feels extra like a hatchback than what most individuals would possibly consider once they learn “small SUV.” Over bumps, the Crosstrek is snug and its 8.7 inches of floor clearance lend a stunning quantity of path functionality. That journey peak turns into a little bit of a legal responsibility for those who get too ham-fisted with the steering, although, with loads of physique roll letting you recognize when it is time to sit back.

Apparently, the two.5-liter engine is almost on par with the two.0-liter boxer-four in terms of gas 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. 

Along with styling modifications, the Sport mannequin additionally includes a extra strong X-Mode system.

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Except for the elevated value of stepping as much as the brand new Sport or high tier Restricted trim ranges — which, in equity, additionally embrace 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 method to get the non-obligatory six-speed handbook transmission, if that is your jam. Sadly, the handbook gearbox comes with just a few hidden prices together with stepping down to only 25 mpg mixed and dropping entry to lots of the Crosstrek’s driving aids.

The brand new Sport mannequin

The 2021 mannequin 12 months ushers in a brand new Crosstrek Sport trim with some attention-grabbing 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 performed up in a darkish grey end, too.

Inside, you may discover seats upholstered with water-repellent StarTex material and Sport-embroidered flooring mats manufactured from 25% recycled materials. Brilliant yellow trim items and distinction stitching go properly with the Sport’s unique Plasma Yellow Pearl paint, which I personally assume is a incredible 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 not any 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/Filth and Deep Snow/Mud applications for the all-wheel-drive system and brake-based traction management. Different CVT-equipped fashions function single-mode terrain administration — principally, 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, beneficial properties a brand new trick this 12 months.

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Security tech

Virtually each Crosstrek (no less than, each one with a CVT) comes normal with Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assistance security suite. This 12 months, EyeSight beneficial properties adaptive cruise management that now consists of lane-centering help. The steering help works effectively; it is not as robust as some methods I’ve examined, but additionally not as intrusive, which lends to the Subie’s relaxed on-road demeanor. In the meantime, pre-collision braking, pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning all carry over from final 12 months.

This Sport tester is provided with an non-obligatory $1,600 bundle 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 the most effective driver-aid expertise, step as much as the Restricted 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 driving 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 function yellow inside trim and matching distinction stitching.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow
Starlink infotainment

Subaru’s Starlink infotainment suite carries over largely unchanged, right here in its upgraded Multimedia Plus spec with an 8-inch touchscreen and TomTom-powered navigation software program. It is a respectable setup with a properly organized menu construction and responsive interface, but additionally nothing to write down residence about. That mentioned, I actually assume I choose this smaller, easier system to the large, vertical display you may discover within the new Legacy and Outback. The extra petite possibility is simply simpler to wrap my head round. Apart from, with normal Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, I do not assume anybody who carries a contemporary telephone will probably 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.

The Crosstrek additionally options Subaru’s subscription-based Starlink telematics companies. Starlink Security Plus and Safety Plus grant distant management and car monitoring through 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 automotive’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 will probably be glad to have once you do. Dad and mom can benefit from options like geofencing and extreme velocity notifications — useful when lending the Crosstrek to a youthful driver. 

There’s additionally a Starlink Concierge Bundle that unlocks “in-vehicle help with restaurant and lodge reservations, buying tickets for sporting/theater occasions and scheduling service appointments,” in response to Subaru. That sounds cool, nevertheless it’s additionally considerably redundant to anybody with a functioning telephone of their pocket.

The 2021 modifications solely make the Crosstrek a extra compelling possibility.

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Pricing and availability

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek stays a powerful and sensible alternative for drivers in search of a great combine of sunshine off-road functionality and wonderful on-pavement manners. With extra normal options and extra obtainable energy, you possibly can count on a worth enhance, however not as a lot as you would possibly assume.

Together with 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. Contemplating the CVT additionally comes with EyeSight security tech and X-Mode terrain management, it is most likely the extra reasonable start line for many drivers. The brand new Sport trim begins at $27,545 and Subaru would not even cost further 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 check favorably towards different autos at this smaller finish of the compact SUV house. The 2021 Crosstrek is hitting dealerships as you learn this and it is a extra well-rounded alternative than ever.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek


2.5-liter H4


182 hp


176 lb-ft



Gas financial system

27 metropolis / 34 hwy / 29 mixed mpg


176.5 in


71.Zero in


63.6 in

Curb weight

3,265 kilos

Max cargo capability

55.Three cubic toes

Base worth


As-tested worth


On sale


About the author: SubSellKaro

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