Beneath that no-frills styling is a largely likable crossover. 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is a stable all-rounder. This small SUV is nice sufficient to pilot, even when it is not the best-driving crossover round. Its inside is spacious and premium sufficient to not elicit emotions of regret. Plus, the Crosstrek’s accessible know-how is intuitive and largely practical. It is extra balanced than a nutritionist’s weight-reduction plan.

Like

Spectacular real-world efficiencyStandard all-wheel driveAttractive cabin

Do not Like

Inconsistent lane-centering systemSomewhat tepid performanceUnrefined transmission

To maintain tempo with the Joneses, or slightly, the Hondas, Toyotas and Fords of this world, Subaru enhanced the Crosstrek for 2021, including extra know-how, a brand new engine and even a touch of up to date styling. None of those enhancements are earth-shattering, however they additional burnish an already respectable product.

Arguably the most important change is beneath the hood. A brand new 2.5-liter boxer-four is obtainable in Sport and range-topping Restricted fashions. Clean and fairly responsive, this engine delivers 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque — 30 and 31 extra, respectively, than the bottom 2.0-liter H4. Matched to a typical constantly variable transmission (a six-speed handbook is obtainable with that base engine), my top-shelf Crosstrek has enough acceleration. But In a world the place so many automobiles function turbocharged engines, which usually present ample low and midrange torque, this Subaru’s efficiency is a bit disappointing. Even with this slight enhance in energy, somewhat extra oomph would definitely be appreciated.

The CVT’s habits can also be lower than superb. Usually, I’ve made my peace with these transmissions, even when different gearheads despise them. Automakers like Honda and Nissan have, for probably the most half, figured them out, however the Crosstrek’s CVT feels a bit odd. Not solely does it appear much less responsive than competing models, when it mimics gearchanges — a trick these transmissions usually make use of to cut back engine droning throughout acceleration — the simulated shifts really feel coarse. My tester additionally options paddle shifters, which let you rifle by eight simulated ‘gears’ for a bit extra driving enjoyment.

Gripes apart, this Subaru’s powertrain is no less than economical. The EPA says it ought to return 27 miles per gallon metropolis, a determine that is goosed by a easy and swift stop-start system. Anticipate 34 mpg freeway and 29 mpg mixed. Driving the Crosstrek with a heavy proper foot, I’ve averaged 30.1 mpg in line with the journey laptop, a powerful rating, particularly for one thing with customary all-wheel drive. Other than four-corner traction, the Crosstrek additionally has 8.7 inches of floor clearance, greater than a Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V or Nissan Rogue, that means it needs to be a fairly succesful off-roader. All variants fitted with the CVT additionally function X-Mode, a driver-selectable setting that enhances traction and supplies hill-descent management.

High quality supplies, good consolation and a wise format are hallmarks of this Subaru’s cabin.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Crosstrek’s steering is unremarkable. That is to not say it is dangerous, by no means; it simply appears like virtually another car-based utility automobile on the market. The ratio is not too sluggish and it has respectable heft, however do not count on scalpel-like precision or any highway really feel.

Supporting the motive force and entrance passenger are a pair of fine bucket seats. They’re comfy and accommodating, however like many different points of this Subaru, fall in need of greatness. Even in Restricted trim, my tester lacks any adjustable lumbar help, which is a bit annoying. The backseat is sort of ethereal for adults, providing loads of house for legs, although a whisker extra headroom could be good. All the Crosstrek’s seats function barely elevated decrease cushions, that are roughly chair-height off the ground. This makes moving into and out of the automobile really feel very pure.

As for the remainder of this Subaru’s inside, it is really fairly good. The leather-based used on the seats and steering wheel feels respectable, the delicate plastics are low in gloss and utilized liberally, and the general design is simple. A lot of the switches and knobs really feel sturdy and I admire the tasteful use of a contrasting colour. Orange stitching livens issues up, and a little bit of this energetic hue even shines by the perforations in my tester’s leather-covered seats, a pleasant contact.

Inside cupboard space might be improved, nonetheless. The door pockets and bin beneath the middle armrest are all slightly small. After all, cargo house is way extra beneficiant. With its rear backrests up, this Subaru supplies 20.8 cubic ft of house. Drop ’em like they’re sizzling and that quantity grows to 55.3 cu. ft.

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder is now provided for 2021. Belief me, it is the engine you are going to need.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Crosstreks fitted with a CVT come Subaru’s EyeSight suite of superior driver aids. This consists of goodies like automated emergency braking, lane-departure prevention and extra. A noteworthy addition for 2021, adaptive cruise management with lane-centering can also be included, although, regrettably, it is one thing of a combined bag. The cruise-control portion of this works properly, easily accelerating or decelerating primarily based on site visitors situations, bringing the automobile to a whole cease as vital, even when it solely stands nonetheless for a few seconds earlier than forcing the motive force to intervene. The lane-centering system, nonetheless, has confirmed to be fairly annoying. On a number of events throughout my testing, it is jerked the wheel randomly, inflicting the automobile to swerve abruptly. Yeah, not good. It additionally appears to permit the Crosstrek to wander a good quantity in its lane, and if you go to right this it fights you. Finally, I had sufficient and simply turned the lane-centering function off.

This Subaru’s infotainment system continues the theme of being good however not nice. My Restricted tester has a generously sized 8-inch touchscreen that is colourful and straightforward to succeed in (lesser fashions function a 6.5-inch show). The Starlink software program operating on it’s decently responsive, and pinch-to-zoom on the navigation map is OK, nonetheless, rearranging icons on the house screens is a bit irritating and there are some bizarre enter delays whereas utilizing Apple CarPlay, which, together with Android Auto, is customary gear on each Crosstrek. Likewise, this automobile’s accessible eight-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system is nothing spectacular, although it is, much better than what’s in our Subaru Outback long-term tester. I’ve heard wax-cylinder phonographs that present higher sound high quality than that.

Additional sweetening the pie, Restricted fashions additionally include a great deal of different goodies, from automated excessive beams and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert to adaptive headlamps and keyless entry with push-button begin. There’s loads of gear to get enthusiastic about right here, particularly on the worth.

Icing on the Crosstrek cake is worth pricing. This one checks out for lower than 32 grand.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

An entry-level Crosstrek with a handbook gearbox and no frills begins at somewhat greater than 23 grand, together with the requisite supply charges, which on this case are $1,050. The range-topping Restricted mannequin examined right here is, naturally, a bit richer than that, although it is nonetheless eminently inexpensive. With the $2,395 energy bundle, which incorporates that 8-inch infotainment display screen, a moonroof and the uplevel sound system, it checks out for an extremely cheap $31,440.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is an efficient middle-of-the-road utility automobile. It is OK to drive, has an agreeable inside, gives a good quantity of tech and is lots refined. Is it my favourite SUV on the highway at present? No, by no means. However it’s an undeniably smart choice, one which’s additionally a wonderful worth.

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