A number of a long time in the past, in a last-ditch effort to promote its ageing lineup of automobiles, American Motors hiked the journey peak three inches of the Harmony and Spirit, geared up them with all-wheel drive and renamed them Eagles. They have been distinctive, coming at a time when most automobiles have been nonetheless rear-wheel drive. However they did little to save lots of AMC from merging with Renault and in the end being absorbed by Chrysler.
However their — ahem — spirit lives on within the Subaru Crosstrek, which is little greater than the less-expensive Impreza hatchback given a carry and clad in truck-like trim. The Crosstrek’s value rises together with its journey peak, beginning some $3,450 greater than its equivalent sibling. From a worth standpoint, it’s onerous to see the Crosstrek’s benefit, apart from further floor clearance. And but, inexplicably, Crosstrek gross sales in 2020 have been roughly double these of the Impreza, regardless of the upper value.
The Crosstrek returns for 2021 in Base, Premium and Restricted trims, together with a newly added Sport trim. All fashions obtain calmly revised styling and a suspension that’s been retuned for improved journey high quality, higher dealing with and extra responsive steering. Subaru additionally added a humidity sensor to its automated local weather management system, a welcome addition to these of us in humid climes.
The largest distinction amongst Crosstrek fashions is energy: Base and Premium trims have a 152-horsepower dual-overhead-cam 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine; Restricted and Sport fashions get a extra highly effective 182-horsepower DOHC 2.5-liter flat 4 from the bigger Legacy sedan and Outback wagon. A six-speed handbook is customary on Base and Premium Crosstrek fashions; a repeatedly variable automated transmission is customary on Restricted and Sport fashions, and optionally available on others. Gas financial system is greatest with the bottom engine and automated transmission, at 30 mpg in mixed EPA metropolis/freeway driving, though the bigger engine nonetheless charges properly, coming in at 29 mpg. The handbook, in distinction, deserves a mere 25 mpg. A plug-in Hybrid can also be supplied, and rated at 35 mpg, and comes with a 17-mile electric-only vary.
Subaru offered the brand new Sport trim for a weeklong check drive.
The bigger engine endows the Crosstrek with sufficient energy so that you simply gained’t be banished to the appropriate lane of the interstate. Getting in control is noticeably faster than it’s with the bottom engine, though requesting extra energy as soon as at pace requires planning, because it takes longer than it ought to. The check automobile got here with Sport and Clever drive modes, the latter smoothing out its demeanor and making issues much less attention-grabbing than they already are. The transmission does it greatest to mimic a conventional automated, and succeeds for essentially the most half. Dealing with is typical of a small automobile, with a suspension that adequately soaks up some bumps and kilos over others, adopted by some rebounding. Physique lean is noticeable, however properly managed. Cornering is spectacular, nonetheless. The Crosstrek’s torque vectoring and all-wheel drive appears to banish understeer, which was sudden given its different traits, corresponding to its mild steering really feel. Braking was equally spectacular, however the brake pedal feels lifeless. Highway and engine noise have been distinguished, though that’s common given its class.
Sport fashions get a dual-mode X-MODE, which the corporate says will increase all-wheel drive engagement and options two driver-selectable snow/grime and deep snow/mud settings. However that is extra a foul-weather buddy than a real boulder bashing off-roader. On the subject of driver-assistance programs, ahead collision warning, automated emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane maintain help and adaptive cruise management are customary. Blind spot warning, rear cross visitors warning and reverse automated braking are optionally available.
Total, the Crosstrek’s efficiency is healthier than the common small automobile, however it isn’t essentially an attractive car to drive regardless of its newfound energy. There’s little enjoyable to be discovered; this automobile is all about smart utility.
That’s definitely true of cabin atmosphere, which may greatest be described as purposeful. You possibly can’t cover this Subaru’s financial system automobile roots. The inside is trimmed with shiny, easy black plastic and faux carbon fiber trim that can idiot nobody and cheapens this automobile’s look even additional. Whereas the contrasting yellow stitching is a pleasant contact, Subaru solely makes use of it within the entrance row. They couldn’t afford a pair extra ft within the rear? This makes the second row appears like second class, with a stark atmosphere that lacks such niceties as a folding heart armrest or vents on the middle console. And there’s just one seatback map pocket, not two.
However there’s a powerful quantity of head and legroom each entrance and rear, and ample space for storing within the cargo maintain, though liftover could be very excessive and the house doesn’t go far ahead. Fortunately, the rear seats fold. Lengthy-haul entrance seat consolation isn’t nice, however it’s greater than ample on shorter treks.
The Crosstrek Sport’s tech package deal contains an 8.0-inch touchscreen, built-in navigation, and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. It is a noticeable enchancment from the bottom mannequin’s 6.5-inch touchscreen. That stated, the radio options the most affordable tuning knobs ever fitted to an vehicle. Completely missing in weight or heft if you flip them, they really feel as delicate as crepe paper, and are positive to interrupt. Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are customary.
Definitely the Crosstrek provides what any Subaru devotee would anticipate: a purposefully utilitarian car with a number of added frills, delivered in a reasonably plain package deal. There’s nothing flashy right here, simply what you want to get the job achieved in a cost-effective method. Its vogue is its utter lack of it.
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport
Base value: $26,495
Engine: 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder
Horsepower/Torque: 182/176 pound-feet of torque
EPA gas financial system (metropolis/freeway): 27/34 mpg
Noticed gas financial system: 31 mpg
Gas required: 87 Octane
Size/Width/Peak: 176.5/71/63.6 inches
Floor clearance: 8.7 inches
Cargo capability: 20.8-55.3 cubic ft
Towing capability: 1,500 kilos
Curb weight: 3,265 kilos