By Al Beeber on May 28, 2021.
Since it was first introduced, the Subaru Crosstrek has been one of my favourite small crossovers. And for 2021, this popular choice among buyers and reviewers is even better.
The Crosstrek, in Subaru-speak, has been “re-engineered” for the 2021 model year and the improvements make an already great crossover fantastic.
For me, the most important change is the addition of a second available engine which propels this week’s tester courtesy of Luke Davis of Subaru of Lethbridge.
This week’s tester, a white Crosstrek with Limited package, is powered by a direct injection 2.5-litre dual overhead cam four-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 176 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm. Fuel economy is rated at 8.8 L/100 km in the city and 7.0 L/100 km on the highway. In imperial measurements, that translates to a stellar 32 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.
This engine has 30 more horses than the standard direct injection 2.0L four-cylinder which cranks out 152 hp at 6,000 rpm and 145 lb-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. Crosstreks with this smaller engine have the availability of a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT, while the Limited with the bigger engine only gets the latter.
Fuel economy with the CVT-equipped bigger engine is substantially better than that of 2.0-litre engine equipped with the manual, just in case you still like rowing gears.
The difference in performance is worth, in this opinion, opting for an upper trim that offers the 2.5L engine. While the Crosstrek always did have decent acceleration, the bigger engine transforms the car, er crossover.
At highway speeds, the Crosstrek seems relaxed with the bigger engine and power is immediate when needed for passing. I can only imagine how much fun the Crosstrek would be if it had the WRX’s engine under the hood. Hopefully, Subaru will consider a rally-oriented version of the Crosstrek down the road for performance enthusiasts.
In the meantime, Crosstrek owners can be thrilled with a roomy, comfortable interior that is well-designed, and has plenty of space for passengers and gear. If more cargo room is needed, roof rails will readily take an accessory cargo box.
Among the visible exterior changes for 2021 are a new grille, front bumper and wheel designs. A new Outdoor trim has a gun-metal paint scheme. LED fog lights and power sunroofs are available on some trim levels as are auto on/off headlights.
For 2021, Subaru improved interior space with a wider cabin, which combined with a longer wheelbase, provides more room for the family and their stuff. A heated steering wheel, a must-have in winter, is now available on more trims than previously.
While a six-inch infotainment system is standard, an eight-inch system is available on the Sport trim while the Limited model gets an eight-inch unit with voice-activated navigation and a multi-gesture capacitive touch screen.
A 6.3-inch multi-function colour display atop the dashboard offers a range of information including fuel economy.
Cargo space with the rear seats folded flat is 1,565 litres. With the rear seat up, it’s 588 litres. That translates to 55.3 cubic feet behind the front seats and 20.8 behind the rear.
With a wide cargo opening and a low floor, the Crosstrek will be easy to load up with gear. Pet owners can buy an accessory ramp for their four-legged friends. With wide opening rear doors, I’m guessing a ramp would actually fit there and not just the back in case animals prefer the backseat.
On the highway, the Limited is quiet and gets up to speed quickly. The Crosstrek has excellent visibility all-round and offers drivers a commanding view of the road.
The multi-adjustable driver’s seat is comfortable and the seat heaters superb. Ditto with the heating unit for the steering wheel.
With its compact dimensions, the Crosstrek is perfect for the city and its full-time all-wheel-drive system will provide worry-free driving during inclement weather.
The Crosstrek is equipped with cutting-edge safety systems including Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist technology that uses two cameras to monitor the road. It employs several active safety systems including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane centring assist as well as pre-collision braking and brake assist and pre-collision throttle management.
High-beam assist automatically switches to low beans when approaching another vehicle coming from a different direction or when the driver gets closer to the one ahead and is available on all models equipped with EyeSight.
Outdoor trim Crosstreks get an exclusive front view camera that provides a 180-degreee view around its front.
This week’s tester is priced at $37,328.
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