The Subaru Crosstrek boasts a tough-look appearance that’s currently in vogue, with a hiked-up ride height that provides extra ground clearance.

The Subaru Crosstrek boasts a tough-look appearance that’s currently in vogue, with a hiked-up ride height that provides extra ground clearance.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

Pound for pound, one of the best values for an all-wheel-drive small utility vehicle

In only a few short years, the relatively obscure Crosstrek has become one of Subaru’s most sought-after models.

The automaker has made its mark building all-wheel-drive sedans, hatchbacks and wagons that can handle the worst possible road and/or weather conditions, or both. These can-do attributes attract outdoorsy buyers and those who live in areas with traction challenges.

Although heavily based on the Subaru Impreza hatchback, the Crosstrek is more distinctive by design. A hiked-up ride height provides extra ground clearance, which allows you to traverse all but the toughest rock-strewn landscapes and deeply rutted pathways without risking physical-contact damage to the engine, transmission and suspension. But what’s equally important for many is the Crosstrek’s tough-look appearance that’s currently in vogue with people who rarely if ever venture past the edge of the asphalt.

The Crosstrek is Impreza-based, but there’s enough ground clearance for nearly any obstacle that would be encountered on a back-road commute. PHOTO: SUBARU

The Crosstrek is Impreza-based, but there’s enough ground clearance for nearly any obstacle that would be encountered on a back-road commute. PHOTO: SUBARU

If there’s an obvious shortfall, it’s the Crosstrek’s diminutive size that provides less space than, for example, the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Chevrolet Equinox. The Crosstrek isn’t exactly tiny, however, with interior space similar to that of the Hyundai Tucson and the Kia Sportage.

For 2021, the Crosstrek has been given a mild makeover – the first since the 2018 model year — plus a new trim level and a performance upgrade that should enhance the vehicle’s appeal.

There’s a new grille, bumper and bigger fog lights, and there’s a bit more darkened trim at both ends and surrounding the front and rear wheel openings. The Crosstrek also has new 17- and optional 18-inch wheels.

The interior remains pretty much as is, but Subaru has enhanced the existing suite of dynamic safety technologies that are part of the EyeSight Driver Assist package (optional for manual-transmission models). Included is adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and a rear-seat reminder that alerts you to check for kids or pets before exiting the vehicle. Also standard with EyeSight is Subaru’s StarLink touch-screen infotainment system, that’s integrated with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

For buyers who think the 2.0-litre four-cylinder – with 152 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque – doesn’t provide sufficient get-up-and-go, there’s a new option: A newly available 2.5-litre four-cylinder (the same engine that’s used in the bigger Forester) with 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet.

The 2.0 comes with a six-speed manual transmission. Optional is a continuously variable unit (CVT) with paddle shifters for controlling eight built-in steps. It’s standard with the 2.5.

For best fuel economy, the CVT-equipped Crosstrek with the 2.0 achieves 7.9 l/100 km in combined city and highway driving, compared to 9.4 for manual-transmission versions.

Pricing starts at $26,100, including destination fees, which is pretty decent for any all-wheel-drive utility vehicle.

To get the more potent engine, you’ll need to order the new Sport model. It also comes with Subaru’s X-Mode system with Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud settings, combined with Hill Descent Control (standard on all models) for reining in the Crosstrek when heading down a slippery slope.

The Sport also gets unique interior faux leather seats, carbon-fibre-look trim, water-repellent seat coverings and a dark grille and wheels.

At the top end, the $36,850 Limited (which also gets the 2.5-litre engine) adds leather-trimmed upholstery, power driver’s seat, 18-inch wheels, steering-responsive headlights (pivoting right or left when turning) and automatic reverse braking to avoid unseen obstacles.

Optional equipment includes a power moonroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror and a premium Harmon-Kardon-brand audio system with navigation.

For 2021, Subaru takes an already good package and refines it to essentially eliminate any of the negatives. As such, the Crosstrek will continue to be at the top of the company’s sales charts based on value, capability and safety, which is what the automaker is known for.

The faux-leather interior of the new Sport model is water repellent. Other goodies include the X-Mode system with drive settings to handle various traction situations. Note that the manual transmission is not available with the Sport because this model comes with the 2.5-litre engine. PHOTO: SUBARU

The faux-leather interior of the new Sport model is water repellent. Other goodies include the X-Mode system with drive settings to handle various traction situations. Note that the manual transmission is not available with the Sport because this model comes with the 2.5-litre engine. PHOTO: SUBARU

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: 2021 Subaru Crosstrek

  • Type: Four-door, all-wheel-drive compact utility vehicle
  • Engines (h.p.): 2.0-litre DOHC H-4 (152); 2.5-litre DOHC H-4 (182)
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual; continuously variable (opt.)
  • Market position: Within the vast assortment of compact utility vehicles on the market, most offer all-wheel-drive only as an option. With the exception of the BRZ sports car, Subaru’s entire lineup is strictly AWD.
  • Points: Mild makeover enhances what was already a good-looking vehicle. • New engine option addresses any complaints about power. • Less interior space than in a number of key competitors. • Subaru steers buyers toward the automatic transmission with standard EyeSight safety tech. • Proven AWD hardware ensures off-road agility, especially with the Sport trim level. • Plug-in hybrid model returns later in the model year.
  • Dynamic safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); adaptive cruise control (opt.); front and rear emergency braking (opt.); rear-seat alert (opt.); lane-keeping assist (opt.); pedestrian detection (opt.)
  • L/100 km (city/hwy) 8.5/7.0 (2.0); Base price (incl. destination) $26,100

BY COMPARISON

Hyundai Tucson

  • Base price: $28,250
  • Similar size to Crosstrek and available with a 181-h.p. I-4. AWD is optional.

Honda CR-V

  • Base price: $28,900
  • Top-tier utility model has a 190-h.p. turbo I-4. Hybrid version makes 212 h.p.

Ford Escape

  • Base price: $30,500
  • Redesigned-for-2020 model comes with turbo I-3 and I-4 engines. AWD is available.

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

AutomotivecarsSUVsTrucks

Just Posted

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

Kobe Zembal (left) and Kale Rochette pose with some of the raised flower beds they have built. The flowerbeds are made from recycled plastic repurposed into plastic lumber. (Photo submitted)
Teens run successful plastic lumber products business in Bashaw

Pair of teenagers are learning first-hand about entrepreneurial spirit

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

Most Read