Subaru can sometimes be unapologetic in its simplicity as it knows its target demographic. It targets people who don’t mind getting their rig a little dirty but still need road manners to haul the kids to soccer practice, and the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek embodies this well. This high-riding compact crossover is one of the best in its class for hitting the dirt and mud, but does it have enough road manners to hang with the competition? Keep reading to find out.

Best Value

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek comes in three trim levels: base, Premium, and Limited. The best value falls right in the middle of the lineup in the Premium trim. This model is just a few grand more than the base and adds creature comforts that many buyers prefer like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, upgraded cloth seats with contrast stitching, heated seats, fog lights, an upgraded audio system with two additional speakers, and two rear-seat USB ports. The Premium trim also opens the 2019 Crosstrek to additional options like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, steering-responsive fog lights, and a power moonroof.

  • Model: 2019 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium
  • Engine: 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder
  • Output: 152 hp / 145 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 27 City / 33 Hwy
  • Options: CVT ($1,000), EyeSight Driver Assist Technology ($1,395, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive fog lights)
  • Base Price: $23,870 (includes a $975 destination fee)
  • Best Value Price: $26,265

Performance

Subaru Crosstrek

As a Subaru crossover, the 2019 Crosstrek is at home off the beaten path with its standard all-wheel drive and 8.7 inches of ground clearance. And despite this off-road capability, the Crosstrek’s on-road manners are good, too. The Crosstrek’s ride is soft, helping it absorb bumps in the roads, but it avoids getting sloppy in the corners. The steering is also light but precise, giving it a nice balance.

The 2019 Crosstrek’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is underpowered for this 3,100-pound crossover. This makes the Crosstrek sluggish when getting up to highway speeds and when passing. Most times, opting for the manual transmission may help overcome this, but the Crosstrek’s six-speed gearbox is no better.

Style

The Crosstrek shuns the soft crossover look that many in its class have and caters more to its demographic with a rugged, off-road-ready look that includes sharp body lines and unpainted rock guards.

Inside, this wash-and-wear look continues. The cabin is also comfortable with its supportive front seats and respectable leg room for the class at 36.5 inches. In its lower trims, the Crosstrek’s soft-touch materials and well-organized cabin add value. When fully loaded, though, the 2019 Crosstrek crosses the $30,000 threshold, but its cabin doesn’t feel like a $30,000 space.

The Best and Worst Things

Subaru’s resistance to turning the Crosstrek into an incapable soft-roader is a breath of fresh air in an increasingly softening class. It caters well to its target buyer.

With this resistance comes a basic interior that some shoppers may find unacceptable, especially as they push toward and beyond the $30,000 mark.

Right For? Wrong For?

Subaru Crosstrek

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek is perfect for the buyer who frequently finds themselves off the beaten path and will make a few sacrifices for this increased capability.

Buyers looking for a traditional small crossover may find the Crosstrek a little too simple for them. And buyers looking for a premium compact crossover may want to cruise right past the Subaru dealership altogether.

The Bottom Line

As much as I dislike this cliche, the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek is what it is. It’s a simple and affordable crossover designed to handle off-road travel without breaking a sweat. And because of these capabilities, Subaru had to make sacrifices in tech and other modern features to keep pricing competitive. You’re either going to buy a Crosstrek or not – there's no middle position.