Largely because it’s a Subaru, the Crosstrek almost qualifies as a special breed of compact crossover. Adventurous design imparts a more edgy aura than is customary in this family-focused category. Though it’s hardly ready for harsh terrain, a Crosstrek does promise light off-road capability, helped by 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Unlike many crossovers, the Crosstrek comes standard with a manual transmission.
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2017 Subaru Crosstrek Overview
What's New for 2017
Following last year’s exterior updates and newly available active-safety technology, little has changed for 2017 apart from introduction of a new Premium Special Edition model. The Hybrid Crosstrek has been dropped.
Choosing Your Subaru Crosstrek
In each Crosstrek, a 2-liter four-cylinder engine develops 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. Either a five-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) may be installed. Despite lack of actual gears, the CVT incorporates six “virtual” ratios.
Like nearly all Subarus, every Crosstrek has all-wheel drive. Under normal conditions on CVT-equipped models, the AWD system sends most of the engine power to the front wheels. With manual shift, AWD distributes power equally, unless slippage is detected.
Fuel economy with the manual gearbox is estimated at 23 mpg in city driving and 30 mpg on the highway. The CVT version is thriftier: 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. Subaru has discontinued the hybrid version, but intends to introduce a completely different electric/gasoline model in the “near future.”
If you haven't driven a Subaru lately, interior quality might surprise you. Despite Crosstrek's no-nonsense demeanor, interior materials are a clear cut above those used in earlier Subaru crossovers.
Five passengers fit without fuss, and you get up to 52 cubic feet of cargo space by folding the rear seats. Yes, that’s on the small side, but a flat load floor makes the area seen bigger. Cargo volume is 22.3 cubic feet with all seats up.
The Crosstrek now comes in four trim levels:
Even though the base model is nicely equipped, the Crosstrek is the type of vehicle that seems more acceptable in fully loaded form. Despite all of its additional features, the Limited still costs just over $26,000, or $1,700 more than the Premium edition. We consider that a hands-down bargain.
2017 Subaru Crosstrek Review
Once known as the XV Crosstrek, the 2017 Subaru Crosstrek caters to a specific crowd looking for a little extra utility with their hatchback. However, catering to a niche leads to it falling short in some areas, like comfort and performance.
Pricing and Equipment
The 2017 Subaru Crosstrek starts from $22,570 for its 2.0i trim. Because this base trim is only available with a manual transmission, the midrange 2.0i Premium trim, starting at $23,370, will be the most common choice for buyers. Standard equipment on this higher-end model includes:
- Seventeen-inch alloy wheels
- Fog lights
- Folding mirrors
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob
- Rearview camera
- Six-speaker audio system with a 6.2-inch touchscreen
Buyers who aren’t comfortable with a manual transmission can add a continuously variable transmission in the Premium trim for $1,000.
Like every Subaru not named BRZ, the Crosstrek is built with utility first. This is evident in so many aspects of its powertrain, from its rugged all-wheel-drive system to the gearing of its manual transmission.
- Standard all-wheel drive delivers tank-like traction in all conditions.
- The optional continuously variable transmission is well matched to the engine and helps deliver decent fuel economy.
- The light steering and responsive chassis give it good on-road manners.
- With 8.7 inches of ground clearance, it’s quite the off-road machine.
- The 148-horsepower 2.0-liter engine simply lacks the power to get the Crosstrek moving.
- The standard five-speed transmission is dated and struggles on the highway.
- Horizontally opposed "boxer" engines aren't known for quiet performance, and the Crosstrek's engine is no different.
- Plenty of room for people, things, and animals.
- The low load floor makes simple work of loading and unloading cargo.
- The utilitarian cabin welcomes dirt, dust, and all other elements that come with driving off the beaten path.
- Some folks may find its interior a little too simple and frill-free.
- The front seats are not particularly comfortable, leading to multiple rest stops on long road trips.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
As an IIHS Top Safety Pick, the Subaru Crosstrek is one of the safest crossovers for families. And for an extra $1,995 on the Premium trim with the CVT, Subaru will add its EyeSight active safety suite. This package includes blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and other driver-assist technologies, like adaptive cruise, lane-departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
We certainly didn’t expect the Crosstrek to be fast, but it is noticeably slower than most of its competitors. This can lead to uneasy feelings when merging onto the highway or zipping through traffic.
The Bottom Line
For buyers looking for a go-anywhere crossover that still delivers acceptable on-road manners, the Crosstrek is one of the best in the business. However, mainstream buyers may find its sluggishness, plain-Jane interior, and noisiness tough pills to swallow.
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