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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Second driver facing impaired charges after View Royal traffic stop leads to loaded firearms

West Shore RCMP stop swerving motorist and Saanich woman who came to pick her up

Artist David Hunwick's Eye of the Ocean is featured in Sidney's Seaside Sculpture Walk. Following an agreement with the Township of Sidney, the ArtSea Community Arts Council will be taking over administration and revitalization of the local walk. (Township of Sidney)
Saanich Peninsula arts society responds to pandemic with budget, program changes

COVID-19 forced ArtSea to make significant changes to 2020 budget

Local MLA Adam Olsen, a member of the Tsartlip Nation, here seen before the 2020 provincial election, said a new report finding “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system does not surprise Indigenous people. (Hansard TV)
MLA, Tsartlip member says ‘silo’ approach won’t work dealing with racism in health care

Adam Olsen calls for comprehensive approach in dealing with systemic racism

The University of Victoria will mark the eighth annual Giving Tuesday with its Add Sprinkles campaign which collects funds to support various student initiatives across campus. (Photo courtesy UVic Photo Services)
Nearly 150 Greater Victoria groups prepare for eighth annual Giving Tuesday

Last year Canadians raised nearly $22 million in 24 hours

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

The CVRD will reconsider its policies on fireworks after receiving complaints. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Regional District considers options for fireworks after complaints

Distict only allows fireworks on Halloween and New Year’s Eve, with a permit

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Most Read