Subaru’s compact and succesful Crosstrek obtained a reasonably substantial replace for the 2021 mannequin yr, however you in all probability will not discover at a look. The mid-cycle refresh leaves the outside almost unchanged, other than a number of styling tweaks and a few wheel arch cladding for the brand new Sport trim seen right here. As an alternative, the Crosstrek’s adjustments occur largely within the engine bay and on the checklist of ordinary and obtainable driver-assistance applied sciences — they usually all go a great distance towards making Subaru’s compact crossover much more compelling than earlier than.

New 2.5-liter engine

The Crosstrek can now be optioned with a bigger, extra {powerful} 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which it scavenges from its senpai, the Subaru Forester. Within the lighter Crosstrek, the engine’s 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque really feel a bit extra responsive, however extra importantly, the crossover is noticeably extra sprightly than it was with the older, 2.0-liter engine — which continues to be obtainable, by the best way. In comparison with the two.0, the two.5 is working with 30 additional hp and 31 extra lb-ft of torque. That is 20% extra get-up-and-go. 

In fact, Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system is normal. The Crosstrek’s Lineartronic constantly variable transmission is not too unhealthy when tooling round city and commuting, nevertheless it would not do the Subaru any favors when requested to hustle, no matter whether or not the SI-Drive powertrain mode selector is ready to Clever or the marginally extra aggressive Sport program.

The general journey high quality is sweet and more often than not the Crosstrek feels extra like a hatchback than what most individuals may consider once they learn “small SUV.” Over bumps, the Crosstrek is comfy and its 8.7 inches of floor clearance lend a shocking quantity of path functionality. That journey top turns into a little bit of a legal responsibility if you happen to get too ham-fisted with the steering, although, with loads of physique roll letting you realize when it is time to sit back.

Curiously, the two.5-liter engine is sort of on par with the two.0-liter boxer-four in relation to gas economic system. Rated at 27 miles per gallon within the metropolis, 34 mpg freeway and 29 mpg mixed, the stronger powerplant solely sacrifices a single mpg from the mixed estimate in comparison with the smaller, less-powerful engine choice. 

Along with styling adjustments, the Sport mannequin additionally includes a extra sturdy X-Mode system.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Apart from the elevated price of stepping as much as the brand new Sport or high tier Restricted trim ranges — which, in equity, additionally embrace extra normal options for the cash — there’s actually no tradeoff for going with the larger engine. Then once more, the two.0-liter, with 152-hp and 145-lb-ft of torque, continues to be the one approach to get the elective six-speed guide transmission, if that is your jam. Sadly, the guide gearbox comes with a number of hidden prices together with stepping down to simply 25 mpg mixed and dropping entry to most of the Crosstrek’s driving aids.

The brand new Sport mannequin

The 2021 mannequin yr ushers in a brand new Crosstrek Sport trim with some attention-grabbing efficiency and amenity enhancements. Visually, the Sport has a extra pronounced entrance bumper and wheel arch cladding, in addition to a darkish end for the grille and exterior trim. The Sport’s 17-inch wheels are finished up in a darkish grey end, too.

Inside, you will discover seats upholstered with water-repellent StarTex material and Sport-embroidered ground mats fabricated from 25% recycled materials. Shiny yellow trim items and distinction stitching go properly with the Sport’s unique Plasma Yellow Pearl paint, which I personally suppose is a incredible hue. My girlfriend, nonetheless — who is often an enormous fan of the Crosstrek — thought it was a bit an excessive amount of, calling it “vomit-y.” I suppose there isn’t any accounting for poor style.

Sport fashions come normal with the brand new 2.5-liter engine, however improve to a dual-function model of Subaru’s X-Mode terrain administration system, including Snow/Dust and Deep Snow/Mud applications for the all-wheel-drive system and brake-based traction management. Different CVT-equipped fashions characteristic single-mode terrain administration — principally, on or off. Hill-descent management provides a little bit of surefootedness to steep grades and is a part of the X-Mode tech whether or not or not you go for the Sport.

EyeSight, normal for many Crosstrek fashions, good points a brand new trick this yr.

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Security tech

Nearly each Crosstrek (at the least, each one with a CVT) comes normal with Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assistance security suite. This yr, EyeSight good points adaptive cruise management that now contains lane-centering help. The steering help works properly; it is not as robust as some methods I’ve examined, but in addition not as intrusive, which lends to the Subie’s relaxed on-road demeanor. In the meantime, pre-collision braking, pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning all carry over from final yr.

This Sport tester is provided with an elective $1,600 package deal that provides blind-spot monitoring with lane-change help and rear cross-traffic alert, in addition to an influence sunroof and upgraded dashboard tech. For the most effective driver-aid expertise, step as much as the Restricted mannequin the place you will get high-beam help and reverse automated braking normal.

I form of anticipated the EyeSight improve to incorporate Subaru’s DriverFocus attention-monitoring system, which watches the driving force’s face and alerts them in the event that they’re distracted or drowsy, however alas, it is not included on the 2021 Crosstrek. For now, that system can solely be discovered on Subaru’s bigger Outback and Forester crossovers, in addition to the Legacy sedan.

Sport fashions characteristic yellow inside trim and matching distinction stitching.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Starlink infotainment

Subaru’s Starlink infotainment suite carries over largely unchanged, right here in its upgraded Multimedia Plus spec with an 8-inch touchscreen and TomTom-powered navigation software program. It is a respectable setup with a properly organized menu construction and responsive interface, but in addition nothing to jot down dwelling about. That mentioned, I actually suppose I want this smaller, easier system to the huge, vertical display screen you will discover within the new Legacy and Outback. The extra petite choice is simply simpler to wrap my head round. Moreover, with normal Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, I do not suppose anybody who carries a contemporary telephone might be left wanting for media streaming apps or wonderful navigation software program, even when they forgo the tech improve and follow the Crosstrek’s normal 6.5-inch display screen.

The Crosstrek additionally options Subaru’s subscription-based Starlink telematics companies. Starlink Security Plus and Safety Plus grant distant management and automobile monitoring through a smartphone app, permitting drivers to lock/unlock the doorways, distant begin the Crosstrek with pre-set local weather controls on chilly or scorching days and obtain notifications when the automobile’s alarm is triggered. Collision notifications, emergency SOS help and roadside help are the form of options you hope to by no means use, however might be glad to have once you do. Dad and mom can reap the benefits of options like geofencing and extreme pace notifications — useful when lending the Crosstrek to a youthful driver. 

There’s additionally a Starlink Concierge Bundle that unlocks “in-vehicle help with restaurant and lodge reservations, buying tickets for sporting/theater occasions and scheduling service appointments,” based on Subaru. That sounds cool, nevertheless it’s additionally considerably redundant to anybody with a functioning telephone of their pocket.

The 2021 adjustments solely make the Crosstrek a extra compelling choice.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Pricing and availability

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek stays a robust and sensible selection for drivers searching for combine of sunshine off-road functionality and wonderful on-pavement manners. With extra normal options and extra obtainable energy, you possibly can count on a worth enhance, however not as a lot as you may suppose.

Together with a $1,050 vacation spot cost, the beginning worth for the bottom 2021 Crosstrek is simply $23,295 with the six-speed guide, which is simply $100 greater than final yr. Go for the CVT and also you’re $24,645 — a rise of $140. Contemplating the CVT additionally comes with EyeSight security tech and X-Mode terrain management, it is in all probability the extra lifelike place to begin for many drivers. The brand new Sport trim begins at $27,545 and Subaru would not even cost additional for the flamboyant yellow paint. With the sunroof and tech upgrades, my instance pictured right here is available in at $29,145. 

Ever since its launch, the Crosstrek has carved out a pleasant little area of interest for itself and continues to match favorably in opposition to different autos at this smaller finish of the compact SUV house. The 2021 Crosstrek is hitting dealerships as you learn this and it is a extra well-rounded selection than ever.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek


2.5-liter H4


182 hp


176 lb-ft



Gasoline economic system

27 metropolis / 34 hwy / 29 mixed mpg


176.5 in


71.0 in


63.6 in

Curb weight

3,265 kilos

Max cargo capability

55.3 cubic ft

Base worth


As-tested worth


On sale



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