Test Drive Notes Library
- Ride comfort. The newly redesigned Crosstrek looks a lot like the old Crosstrek, with better looking tail lights. But the ride is orders of magnitude better. This is an all new platform that the Crosstrek shares with the Impreza, and in our weeklong test, the Crosstrek soaked up everything on the road, including actual speed bumps. The elderly fist-shakers who installed speed bumps on their street to slow you down will hate you for hardly having to slow down. But otherwise, there are few downsides to the new Crosstrek, which feels more substantial, more expensive, and more refined than the old Crosstrek.
- Interior. Inside it feels roomy and airy. It’s not a big vehicle, but it feels spacious, especially up front. Large expanses of glass make it feel bigger than it is, and make it easy to see up front and to the front sides. Interior materials are a step up from the old Crosstrek, as is the sound insulation. It’s not a luxury car, but plenty good enough and more upscale-feeling than it used to be.
- Utility. While relatively small, and easy to maneuver and park in town and city driving, it’s nonetheless a very useful car. With all wheel drive and 8-plus inches of ground clearance, snow won’t stop it. Nor will a muddy, dirty road, or a drunken trampling of the neighbor’s tulip bed and front yard by your idiot son who’s home from college. It’s comfortable, easily seats four (and seats five), and features a hatchback-accessed cargo area that’s great for your dogs, your crap, and your dog’s crap. Fold down the rear seats and your bikes go in there, too. It’s a Swiss army knife kind of vehicle, and would be especially useful for families who only want one car.
- Safety. Our 2.0i Limited came with blind spot monitors, rear cross traffic alert, and the Subaru Eye-Sight package (optional on higher trim levels, and strongly recommended) that adds forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control (the cruise control adjusts your speed based on the speed of the car in front of you). That’s a lot of safety. In fact it checks off all the safety features we recommend for people these days. And it’s even more impressive on a car that that lists for just over $30,000.
- Fuel economy. We got 28 mpg in combined highway and city driving. EPA says 29.
- Height. While the Crosstrek is essentially a raised up, tougher-looking Impreza, the additional height will appeal to some people. First of all, with so many other crossovers and SUVs on the road now, you won’t be looking up at everything around you. Or at least not as far up. But more importantly for some of us who’ve been around for a while, that little bit of extra height makes getting in and out of the Crosstrek a breeze. The seats were right at hip height for us, and the large doors make ingress and egress a non-event.
- Reliability. We’ve long been fans of Subarus, as are many of our customers. It’s not that they never need repair. They certainly do. The presidents of several head gasket manufacturing companies have put their kids to college thanks to Subaru. But, overall, they tend to be quite reliable and durable. So if you keep up with the maintenance and the occasional major repair, you can easily expect to get 150,000 miles or more out of a Subaru. It’s more likely to be the smell that forces you trade up before the engine wears out.
Test Drive Notes Library
- The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) generally works well and unobtrusively. The one exception is that it can feel a little rubbery when creeping along low speeds.
- No steering feel. The steering wheel feels pretty disconnected from the road. This is a utilitarian vehicle, designed to get people and their stuff around reliably and in comfort, and it does that. It handles well enough, and goes where you point it without complaint. It’s just not designed to be fun to drive, so set your expectations accordingly.
- We’re still not fans of Subaru's infotainment system. The screen is good (especially the optional, larger one), but Subaru is enamored of lots of apps that we don’t find particularly useful. Fortunately, Apple Car Play and Android Auto are standard.
- You pay for height in price and handling. The lower, but otherwise similar Impreza, handles better. It’s also less expensive. Those that want the more commanding road view and ground clearance (and, let’s face it, coolness factor of a crossover), will make that compromise and opt for the Crosstrek, but the Impreza is the better handling and better bargain of the two.
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