2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium: Right-sized transportation priced just right

Subaru

What a happy little car this 2024 Subaru Crosstrek is, all painted up in Pure Red. This is a modern Subaru, so in contrast there’s plenty of charcoal body cladding and trim, too. It’s a handsome-enough, new-enough package for Subaru to call the 2024 Crosstrek the third-generation model, but in reality it seems more like the second-and-a-half generation.

The test car we drove is a mid-level Premium model, with the smaller 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed direct-injection four-cylinder. The boxer engine purrs at idle as smoothly as a Honda, something you can’t always say about Subaru engines.

Coupled to a “Lineartronic” continuously variable transmission, one of the less annoying CVTs we’ve experienced, the powertrain is as spunky as the rest of the car. But that’s more of an attitude thing; it is objectively slow, with just 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque pulling all four wheels via Subaru’s permanent all-wheel drive. Curb weight is 3300 pounds—heavy enough so you should plan your freeway merges in advance. The CVT has shift paddles with eight preset ratios which in normal driving don’t have much use but probably help with towing.

Fuel economy is EPA-rated at 27 mpg city, 34 highway and 29 combined, which we actually beat by one mpg during our week-long loan. The gas tank is big, 16.6 gallons, which should be good for a range in excess of 400 miles.

As it has been since the 2013 model-year launch of the original XV Crosstrek, today’s Crosstrek utilizes the same platform as the Impreza. It does feel a little more distinctive this time, though. The chassis is 10 percent stiffer than last year, and dual-pinion electric power steering from the WRX is more responsive. The exterior has been tweaked with a new grille and headlights, and a more “sculptural” body, whatever that means. The cabin is quieter, Subaru says.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium interior rear seat
Subaru

Specs: 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium

• Price: $26,195 (base); $29,685 (as-tested)
• Powertrain: 2.0-liter fuel-injected, dual-overhead-camshaft boxer four-cylinder; automatic CVT
• Horsepower: 152 @ 6000 rpm
• Torque: 145 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
• Layout: All-wheel-drive, four-door, five-passenger small SUV
• Weight: 3296 lbs.
• 0–60 mph: 8.8 seconds
• EPA-rated fuel economy: 27 mpg city, 34 highway, 30 overall
• Competition: Hyundai Tucson, Kia Seltos, Nissan Rogue

Inside, the cloth front seats are surprisingly comfortable, and rear seats can handle two adults and a third in a pinch. There’s an 11.6-inch multimedia screen, with, for the first time, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The sound system is fine, no better.

Blind spot detection with lane-change assist and cross-traffic alert was an option, as was a small sunroof and an all-weather package. Emergency steering intervention is included with the lane-change assist.

The Crosstrek has a real “right-sized” feel: large enough to handle a small family but still nimble. Cargo room is an impressive 19.9 cubic feet with the 60/40 rear seats up, 54.7 cubic feet with the seats folded down. There were also reasonably beefy ladder-type roof rails. And if all that isn’t enough, the Crosstrek can tow 1500 pounds, which would make it even slower.

The LED headlights are steering-responsive, a nice touch. Also helpful: A tire-specific pressure monitoring system.

On the road, the Crosstrek drives bigger than it is, which for a car like this is a compliment. Handling is especially good for the class, with the new steering system proving its worth. Acceleration is leisurely, as you’d expect, so if that’s a dealbreaker the Crosstrek’s optional 182-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder (standard on the Sport model that costs $2850 more) may be of interest. Still, the base 2.0-liter version we drove cruises without effort at 70 mph.

The ride is better than you’d expect in all conditions. All Subarus are marketed as having some degree of off-road chops, and the Crosstrek, with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, is no different. However, if you’re serious about going off road, best opt for the (pricier) Wilderness model that brings an additional half-inch of extra ground clearance, more capable suspension, all-terrain tires, and a metal front skid plate. Don’t expect to be charging through the Darien Gap in either model, but you’ll have confidence and a measure of control on dirt, sand, mud, or snow—more so with the Wilderness.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium interior gear selector
Subaru

Inside, instruments and controls are easy to get used to. Yes, there’s a lot of hard black plastic, but at least it’s attractively designed, and most of the trim feels robust. The vinyl-covered steering wheel, on the other hand, feels downmarket.

Base price of the Crosstrek Premium is $26,195, with $2245 in options. List price is $29,685, not bad for a very useful all-wheel-drive hatchback-wagon. It’s a viceless, basic-transportation car that should meet its owners needs and bring a welcome dose of trailhead fashion.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium

Highs: Good-looking, functional little hauler for a small family. Permanent all-wheel drive good for adverse conditions. Plenty of useful standard features. Good mileage.

Lows: CVT better than most, but still a CVT. Underpowered. Lots of plastic in the interior.

Takeaway: Hardly a penalty box, the Crosstrek is ubiquitous at ski slope parking lots and rock climbing gyms for good reason.

 

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