Based off the new Impreza, the Crosstrek is a handsome small hatch that’s blessed with attractive proportions, restrained but purposeful accents, and a host of neat color options – our Cool Gray Khaki tester’s paint is a restrained but attractive choice. The extra ride height built into the Crosstrek’s suspension and the bits of off-road cladding emphasize the capability here without writing checks the body can’t cash.
The cabin, particularly with the orange contrast stitching on the seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel in the Premium trim is utilitarian and simple. Grab our suggested trim, and you’ll access and start the car by actually removing the key from your pocket and inserting it in the ignition – push-button start is only available with the range-topping Limited.
The seats are comfortable, with enough support for long distance driving and a commanding height. Sight lines are excellent fore, aft, and laterally, and all the controls are within easy reach. Backseat space is adequate for an adult on a shorter trip, while cargo volume is solid.
This is a cabin that’s designed to be used, so while the material quality isn’t a match for the segment’s best, the materials and layout of the Crosstrek feel more durable and willing to accept punishment. It’s not a Jeep Wrangler that you can just hose off, but a Crosstrek’s cabin is all too happy to accommodate muddy boots and gloved fingers.
Smaller touches also stand out. We dig the red gauge needles in the instrument cluster – why don’t more automakers offer something this cool? And as we said, the orange contrast stitching is a simple touch that contributes to the Crosstrek’s sense of adventure and charm.
What don’t we like? Subaru still hasn’t figured out how to build a great infotainment system. The 6.5-inch unit is better than some of the automaker’s past offerings, but it’s not very attractive or intuitive.