Pros: Fun off-road; small but utilitarian package; efficient engine options
Cons: Terribly slow base engine; interior feels cheap; slow infotainment tech
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek is one of our favorite small crossovers, and much of this is due to it being more of a hatchback on stilts than its more SUV-like crossover rivals, giving it car-like qualities that, if you’re like us, can be preferable. Also, unlike most others in its competitive set, the Crosstrek is legitimately good — and fun — when you go beyond paved roads. Its 8.7 inches of ground clearance, or 9.3 inches in Wilderness form, gives you lots of wiggle room, and Subaru’s standard all-wheel-drive system is smart enough to get you through some tough spots.
Like the exterior, the new Crosstrek’s interior is awfully similar to the old one in size and general appearance, although adding the Outback’s tech offerings does provide one major visual change. As before, though, the Crosstrek cabin is simple to use and provides lots of backseat space, a big cargo area, tons of pockets and cubbies to store things, and great visibility for the driver. It’s not much to look at, though, and its tech is on the slow side even if we appreciate the available jumbo screen.
That’s not the most concerning slow element, however. Acceleration from the base 2.0-liter flat-four is glacial, so much so that customer demand resulted in the 2.5-liter upgrade. It improves matters, but it still isn’t quick. Your only transmission choice of a CVT just exacerbates the lack of power, as the engines constantly need revs to get moving, which can get tiring if you’re at elevation or need to accelerate quickly often. Even with the subpar power, though, the Crosstrek comes out as one of the best little crossovers that money can buy for all of its daily driver and adventure-friendly features.
What's new for 2024?
The Subaru Crosstrek is an all-new, redesigned model for 2024.
What are the Crosstrek’s interior and in-car technology like?
The Crosstrek favors function and utility over all when it comes to the interior. None of it looks premium or even pretty, but to some, that might actually be part of the Crosstrek’s appeal. Its seats are comfortable over long stretches, but the plastic steering wheel on 2.0-liter models gets old. The budget-style experience continues in the rear seats with the plastic trim you’d expect from this price point.
Interestingly, the Crosstrek offers two different infotainment screen setups. The base model makes do with dual/stacked 7-inch touchscreens. It’s an odd (and cheap) look, but you get wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality in the top screen. We still haven’t tested this version of Subaru’s StarLink infotainment, but we have tested the upgrade system. Opt for the next trim up, and you get the massive 11.6-inch vertically-oriented touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. The screen’s surround is in a glossy black instead of the base model’s flat black look, but it still retains useful physical controls. For example, you can adjust the temperature and activate the defrosters via real buttons. The chunky volume and tuning knobs are appreciated, and the heated seats being activated by switches on the console is way better than other Subarus that stick the controls inside the screen. Oddly, the Crosstrek retains an aux port front and center under the touchscreen no matter the trim level, so good news for folks who hung onto their iPods.
That big 11.6-inch screen may look nice in photos, but do be warned that it’s slow to respond to inputs no matter the task at hand. Its simple menu layout is nice, but tech fiends won’t find any whiz-bang features or innovative software solutions within Subaru’s infotainment software. The instrument cluster is mostly analog save for a small central screen that can be configured to display a number of different items. The gauges themselves are easily readable, but the screen that is controlled via steering wheels buttons is dated, especially when you consider the Crosstrek is all-new this year. Most competitors have more compelling infotainment tech.
How big is the Crosstrek?
Here’s where the Crosstrek really being a hatchback comes into play. The Crosstrek is technically a car – its seat rows are further apart – which means that despite what the specs may say, it still has plenty of space for four 6-foot-tall passengers to fit comfortably. There’s also a strong chance that a front passenger will be able to sit comfortably in front of a rear-facing child seat.
There's 19.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 54.7 with those seats folded. That may be less than the shockingly spacious Nissan Kicks, but basically average with most . The area is deep and wide, which makes up for its comparative lack of height. Plus, Subaru engineered in designated cupholders in the cargo floor that are meant to fit 32-ounce Nalgene bottles while hanging out, gate open at a camp site.
What are the Crosstrek’s fuel economy and performance specs?
The Crosstrek base and Premium (pictured directly above) trim levels come standard with a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-four. It produces 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque, and it’s exclusively mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Fuel economy is EPA-rated at 27 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. All Crosstreks are all-wheel drive.
If you want a little more power than the pokey 2.0-liter provides, the 2.5-liter comes standard on the Sport, Limited and Wilderness trims. It produces 182 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. It’s still not quick, but it’s much less stressful to drive in virtually every scenario. Fuel economy is barely affected, too, as it’s rated for 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined.
What's the Crosstrek like to drive?
If strong acceleration is a purchasing priority, you can probably skip the Crosstrek. Merging onto a highway or passing slower traffic with the base engine requires patience and planning. Floor the pedal to get up to speed and the CVT keeps the engine from sounding overly taxed by simulating a few shifts. Extra stiffening and sound deadening in this new generation keeps that flat-four buzz from overwhelming the cabin, too. There’s enough power for ascending moderately steep grades and typical city driving, but make sure you drive before buying to be sure the acceleration isn’t too anemic. The 2.5-liter improves matters by a good amount, but don’t expect a Crosstrek WRX. It still requires lots of revs to get going, and if you live at or drive frequently at high altitude, it’s the only version you should consider.
The Crosstrek’s curb weight (3,277-3,349 pounds) keeps it feeling light on its feet in curves and tight corners. Its suspension tuning errs heavily on the side of comfort with lots of body roll, but tossing the Crosstrek around is more fun than you might expect. That soft suspension tuning is a boon to ride quality on poor pavement or no pavement at all, as it’s one of the best-riding small SUVs out there.
When venturing further off the beaten path, the Crosstrek performs admirably well with its 8.7 inches of ground clearance. The 2.5-liter-equipped cars come with an additional “X-Mode” off-road drive mode that ups the SUV’s ability to put its power down in muddy and deep snow situations. Regardless of engine, though, the Crosstrek offers higher-than-average off-road performance in this class.
We haven’t driven the even more off-road-focused Wilderness model yet, but will update this section when we do.
What other Subaru Crosstrek reviews can I read?
Our first drive of the redesigned Subaru Crosstrek where we tell you what's new and how it drives.
We go in-depth on changes made to the new 2.5-liter upgrade engine and get to try the Crosstrek off-road.
What is the 2024 Crosstrek’s price?
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek starts at $26,290 for the base model with the 2.0-liter engine. It comes with gray 17-inch alloy wheels, steering responsive LED headlights, manually adjustable cloth seats, plastic steering wheel, rear cargo tray, dual-zone auto climate control, dual 7.0-inch screens, four-speaker audio system and a suite of driver assistance systems we’ll detail in the safety section below.
Upgrade to the Premium at $27,440 (the other 2.0-liter trim), and you’ll enjoy some key features like LED fog lights, raised roof rails, proximity entry and push button start, paddle shifters to summon simulated shifts from the CVT, the 11.6-inch infotainment screen and a six-speaker audio system.
The Premium is a solid value, but we recommend either the Sport or Limited, because you get the bigger 2.5-liter engine as standard equipment. The Sport starts at $30,290 and also adds 18-inch wheels, unique yellow exterior accents, heated side mirrors, heated front seats, leather-wrapped wheel and shifter and seats with yellow accents. The Limited is the range-topper at $32,190, and it adds unique gray accents on the exterior, orange accents inside, a power driver’s seat and leather seats.
The Wilderness starts at $33,290, and its package is rather comprehensive with a unique exterior design, more ground clearance (9.3 inches), model-specific coil springs and dampers, different final drive ratio, all-terrain tires and a greatly enhanced towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.
What are the Crosstrek’s safety ratings and driver assistance features?
Every Crosstrek comes standard with Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist systems as standard. These include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and automatic emergency steering, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control with lane-centering steering assist. Auto high-beams are also standard, but if you want blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, you’ll need to either option it on higher trims or opt for the Limited. Reverse automatic braking is only available, and standard on, the Limited.
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