Wednesday, January 20, 2021




Fully redesigned for 2018, the Subaru Crosstrek gets some key updates for  2021 that include a new trim level and a major upgrade to what is under the hood for the upper half of the model portfolio.

A new Sport model gives buyers the choice of four trims to choose, and the new model comes with a standard 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine featuring Saburu’s traditional Boxer layout and its horizontally moving pistons.

Also available on the top-of-the-line Limited trim, the 2.5L engine gives the Crosstrek a significant, and much-needed boost to 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque over the 152/145, respectively, for the 2.0L that is standard in the Base and Premium trims.

The larger engine is mated to a continuously variable transmission that gets impressive fuel mileage ratings of 27 miles-per-gallon city, 34 highway, and 29 combined while delivering a more satisfying driving experience. Crosstreks with the 6-speed manual transmission are rated at 22/29/25.

All CVT models except the Base also have steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters simulating an 8-speed transmission in providing for manual gear selection.

You can also give a little jolt to the Crosstrek’s throttle response by switching from “Intelligent” (or standard/normal) mode to “Sport.” 

Being a Subaru, the Crosstrek also comes with all-wheel drive with settings for “snow/dirt” and “deep snow/mud” for more challenging conditions.

The new Sport trim that this review is based on offers styling upgrades that include sport-type 17-inch alloy wheels. sport-type wheel arch moldings,  and a distinctive finish for the front grille, side mirrors and badges. 

Inside the Sport,  yellow stitching has been added to the seats, and simulated leather door trim panel armrests, leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift boot, and carpeted floor mats feature the Sport logo and yellow stitching.

Simulated carbon fiber accents also give the cabin a distinctive flair.

Among standard features included in the Crosstrek Sport’s starting MSRP of $26,545 (including the $1,050 destination and delivery charge) are an eyesight driver assist system that has been enhanced with adaptive cruise control and lane-centering assist, automatic climate control, four USB ports, fog lights, roof rails, leather-wrapped steering wheel, tilt-and-telescoping steering column, Subaru’s Starlink Plus multimedia system, remote keyless entry and push-button start, and water repellant upholstery.

An optional Starlink 8-inch Multimedia Plus system that includes blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist and a power moonroof ran the total for my test Sport model to $29,145.

The Base trim with a 6-speed manual transmission starts at $23,295 including destination and delivery, and the Premium with the manual starts at $24,345. The CVT adds $1,350 to the cost of the Base and Premium models.

The top-of-the-line Limited tops out at $30,440 when equipped with a moonroof, navigation system, and Haman Kardon premium audio system.

What I liked about the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport:
Styling is eye-catching. Though listed among subcompact crossover SUVs, the Crosstrek has a very roomy cabin with good stowage room before you have to fold the second row. Tech features are plentiful and very user friendly. The 2.5L engine (standard in Sport and Limited trim) is worth it.

What I didn’t like about the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport: I would prefer, say, an 8-speed automatic transmission or even a 7- or 6-speed rather than the CVT, but the only other transmission offered is a 6-speed manual available in the B and Premium trim.

Would I buy the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport? Yes Though I lean toward the Outback and Forester among Subaru SUVs, the Crosstrek is a nice alternative. The new Sport trim sits near the top of the lineup in MSRP but adds some nice extras.

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