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- Great capability
- Better refinement
- Good standard infotainment
- Quiet interior
- Comfortable front seats
- Pokey performance
- No benefit from manual transmission
- Less than thrilling interior
- Do you really need ground clearance?
The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek smooths over the edges that we didn’t like with the last version. It’s smooth, quiet, and capable—all good things because it won’t be rushed.
The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is the automaker’s follow-up hit to their surprise success from five years ago. Although a smaller, wagon-esque crossover has been part of Subaru’s lineup for more than a decade, the Crosstrek hit a sweet spot for many buyers, combining a tall ride height with wagon versatility, and a wash-and-wear attitude that appealed to a broad spectrum of buyers.
This generation improves upon some of that first generation’s shortcomings by smoothing over the edges and delivering a slicker presentation without changing the formula. That’s good or bad for shoppers, depending on how they viewed the first Crosstrek, but the 2018 model won’t be a radical departure for many. It earns a 7.0 out of 10 overall, and that’s before we’ve factored in safety, which are coming later. That score is likely to rise further. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Good news: The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is now a more comfortable place to be for long periods of time. The same seating for five and hatch open to swallow more cargo, made better by a slightly wider opening and more interior volume with the second row folded.
Better news: Subaru has improved the interior of the Crosstrek with more creature comforts, common-sense improvements, and sound-deadening material that propels the small crossover into the mainstream competition. Although its interior now is about average for the class, the Crosstrek cruises at highway speeds around 80 db by our informal measurements, about on par with the Mazda CX-5, which touted its improved ride comfort for this generation as well.
Bad news: The Crosstrek is powered by the same 2.0-liter flat-4 that makes roughly the same power as the last time around. With only 152 horsepower on tap, the 3,100-pound Crosstrek runs out of ideas quickly and requires advance planning to pull off highway passes. Our informal clocks ticked off 15 seconds to accelerate from 60 mph to 80 mph—a typical highway passing maneuver—while driving the car at high altitude. To the automaker’s credit, everything else has been sped up—from steering ratio to throttle tip-in and cornering ability—to compensate.
In the same way that the first generation was a surprise success, this new 2018 Subaru Crosstrek should be a surprise for first-time owners. For just over $23,000 in a comfortable configuration, buyers will find a capable crossover that should go anywhere, with anyone, easily. That’ll be a shock.