2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium review
Already the top-selling Subaru, the compact crossover Crosstrek keeps getting better.
Not surprisingly, when Subaru revamped Crosstrek for 2024, it didn’t mess with success; it just tweaked the interior and exterior enough to freshen it and keep it near the top of the market for value and functionality.
Yet two moves in particular have made it even more inviting.
First, Subaru stiffened the chassis by 10%, which aids safety, but along with a retuned suspension, this created an even better ride quality. The last generation Crosstrek was light years ahead of its predecessor in this department, and now the ride is even more controlled and cushioned.
Running Crosstrek over city streets that are not that dissimilar to bumps and thumps you’ll get while off-roading, there was just a bit of jiggle inside but no sharp blows to passengers.
The comfort is also aided by Subaru finally improving its seats, often on the hard side. These have more padding and well-shaped bolsters to give a passenger or driver more hip and lower back support. Bravo!
That could be two things right there, with both aiding overall comfort. But Subaru also managed to quiet the interior, which is always a concern with its boxer-style flat 4-cylinder engines. Yet the sound-deadening improvements have made Crosstrek much quieter than my several-year-old Subaru Outback and on par with the freshly restyled Subaru Impreza, reviewed a few weeks back.
In fact, one could argue that it would be a tough call whether to buy a Crosstrek or the Impreza as both are good-looking hatchbacks with the Crosstrek riding higher with 8.7 inches of ground clearance in all models. Yet, a new Wilderness edition gains 0.6 inches more ground clearance and is aimed more at the off-roading crowd. More on Wilderness in a few.
Testing the Premium model (one up from base) I only got to experience the mild acceleration of the base 2.0-liter boxer four, which makes 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. That gets the small crossover up to highway speeds without too much engine grumble due to the interior’s quieting.
But the Impreza that I’d had earlier boasted the stronger 2.5-liter boxer four, creating 182 horses and 178 lb.-feet of torque - much more spirited. To get that engine in Crosstrek one needs to upgrade to the Sport, Limited or Wilderness models. I’d vote yes!
All Crosstreks now use its improved Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission. No manual transmission is offered. But there are paddle shifters behind the wheel if you want to override the automatic.
In any case, the handling is quick and precise in all trims as Subaru has added the dual-pinion electronic power steering used in its racy WRX boy-toy drifter style Subie. That perks up the steering response for a more nimble feel, making Crosstrek a joy on winding roads and actually even easier to slip into tight parking spots.
Oh, and in case you aren’t a Subie devotee, Crosstrek has AWD standard, even on the base model. That assures better grip on wet and slushy streets, or when trundling down dirt roads or doing some mild off-roading. An X-mode button also can be pressed to aid the AWD if you’re off road.
Good time to mention the new Wilderness trim, the top-level Crosstrek, although Wilderness trim is offered in other Subarus too. For a couple grand more it adds an off-road suspension, knobbier all-terrain tires, the increased ground clearance, better approach and departure angles, and a water-resistant interior. One assumes you’ll be sloshing about in some creeks or near a lakefront. Key in the Wilderness too is a dual-mode X-Mode system that allows the driver to adjust for driving in dirt, snow or mud.
Inside the Subie, the major change is the standardization of its vertical 11.6-inch touchscreen, except on the base model which still uses dual 7-inch screens.
No doubt this one is big and bright and easy to see. But as I’ve said before about these, it’s awfully busy so you not only see your current radio station, but 6 favorites along with the climate controls. Oh, and on top is a bar with oil temp, average speed and such. Turn it off.
All those numbers and icons can be a bit overwhelming and the screen also is quite reflective on a sunny day, making it hard to read. That only gets harder if you open the small sunroof overhead and let in more daylight. The screen is more easily viewed at night.
Functionally it’s fine though and includes volume and tuning knobs.
The tested Sapphire Blue Pearl, a spiffy dark metallic blue, featured a black and gray interior with cloth seats and mostly plastic trim all about which also included fake dark gray carbon fiber on the doors and dash. The seats were a patterned gray cloth with tiny green dots in the pattern to make it appear more fashionable and youthful. The material also feels as if it would be easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth. Go ahead kids and eat that ice cream cone in the rear seat, or let the dog bound about back there.
The steering wheel feels like a hard textured plastic, although it, no doubt, is a man-made fake leather of some sort. Crosstrek’s console is flat black and includes two-level seat heat buttons.The standard heated front seats are a win in winter.
Behind the rear seat is generous cargo room, nearly 20 cubic feet, and the rear seats split and fold flat for hauling larger loads. Think bikes and camping gear.
Naturally this has a hatch, not powered, but easy to lift and lower. Plus, it wisely has a wiper to keep the rear view clean in winter and during our sometimes monsoon like rains.
EyeSight, a driver assist feature, is standard on Crosstrek and includes most of the safety features one now expects. Subaru has widened the system’s field of view too, which it says will help identify bikers, pedestrians and more obstacles along roadsides. The system now includes automatic emergency braking and steering along with smart cruise control with lane centering and automatic high beam headlights.
Speaking of which, Crosstrek’s headlights are steering responsive, meaning they turn in relation to the front wheels so you can see around a corner quicker. Smart safety feature!
Safety is also designed into the roof’s A-pillar/sideview mirror area and is something most of us might ignore. But Subaru designers place space between the A-pillar and the side mirrors with a vent window one can see through for better side sightlines. Not sure why no other car maker has figured this out.
There are a few bugaboos, naturally. One is the giant black electronic EyeSight box that sits behind the rearview mirror and spreads across much of the windshield’s center portion. It does not bother me as a driver, but several passengers have complained about feeling their upward front view is somewhat boxed in.
Then there’s the new annoying feature that more and more vehicles are adding, no doubt thanks to advice from their legal teams. That’s the chime that warns to check the rear seat every time the car’s ignition is turned off. One suspects that’s to get the attention of parents who might leave a child, or pet, in the car as they text on their phones. Ugh!
Still no hybrid Crosstrek available in the Midwest, a big faux pas in my book as Subaru markets itself as National Park and environmentally friendly. Yet Crosstrek’s gas mileage is good, rated 27 mpg city and 34 highway by the EPA. I managed 29.1 mpg in a mix of the two.
Glad you asked. The base model lists at $26,290 with delivery, but most buyers likely will want to move up to at least the tested Premium at $27,440. That’s about $1,500 less than the Impreza by the way.
The test car added an all-weather package, blind-spot detection, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert and the power sunroof for $2,245, bring this one in at $29,685. That’s bargain territory as cars now sell on average at about $45,000.
Move up to Sport for $30,290 and you get the peppier engine, which will make driving more fun and you only lose 1 mpg. Or leap on up to the Limited for $32,190 or the off-road oriented Wilderness. That lists at $33,290.
For comparison, look at Honda’s HR-V or the Kia Seltos or Hyundai Kona, all available as hybrids. Or, for fun and sporty flair there’s the Mazda CX-30 with its turbo power.
As it is, Crosstrek is a fun small family crossover with fine ride dynamics and a bargain price.
FAST STATS: 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium
Hits: Sporty crossover with nimble handling, good ride, plus standard AWD. Quiet interior, comfy supportive heated seats, sunroof, good cargo space and safety equipment. Big touchscreen with volume/tuning knobs, smart cruise, good side sightlines, rear wiper and good mpg.
Misses: Modest power, big black EyeSight box behind rearview mirror imposes on passenger’s view, big screen has too many visible entities making it distracting while driving, annoying chime reminder to check rear seat.
Made in: Lafayette, Ind.
Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder boxer, 152 hp /145 torque
Transmission: Lineartronic CVT, automatic
Weight: 3,296 lbs.
Wheelbase: 105.1 in.
Length: 176.4 in.
Cargo: 19.9 – 54.7 cu.ft.
Ground clearance: 8.7 in.
MPG: 29.1 (tested)
Base Price: $27,440 (includes delivery)
All-weather pkg. plus blind-spot detection, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert and power moonroof, $2,245
Test vehicle: $29,685
Sources: Subaru, www.kbb.com