By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 9.0
The 2016 Subaru Crosstrek SUV’s additional ground clearance allows it to venture over rock-strewn trails and snow-covered back roads, places no Ford Focus or VW Golf dare set foot. The Crosstrek straddles the line between a compact- crossover SUV like the Nissan Juke and an efficient compact car. While you won’t find such options as power seats or a panoramic moonroof (you’ll have to look to the Hyundai Tucson for those), the Crosstrek is still a nicely equipped vehicle with a very attractive price. Of course, this being a Subaru, safety is paramount, which is why the Crosstrek can be equipped with Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assist technology. While we applaud the effort, the Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer any real advantage in power or fuel economy.
If you’re looking for a fuel-efficient crossover SUV that is easy to park and maneuver plus features full-time all-wheel drive, Subaru’s 2016 Crosstrek SUV is the perfect fit. Advanced safety features put the Crosstrek on equal footing with more expensive competitors, while the Hybrid model appeals to those with green sensibilities.
If there is one thing Subaru’s Crosstrek SUV for 2016 is missing in abundance, it is power. Interior space behind the front seats is also tight, prompting us to recommend those with kids and dogs look to the Forester, or even a larger competitor such as the Honda CR-V.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2016, the Subaru Crosstrek gets a modest styling refresh. LED lighting is added to the interior and, on models with push-button start, PIN code access is made standard. Limited models gain Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
As Subaru’s 2016 Crosstrek SUV is based on the Impreza sedan, it should come as no surprise the two share similar ride and handling characteristics. The Crosstrek’s taller...
... ride height and softer springs allow more body lean in curves, however, but also do a better job at soaking up bumps and off-road ruts. The Crosstrek’s electric-assist power steering is responsive to input, but still feels a bit numb when compared to conventional hydraulic systems. If the Crosstrek could use improvement in one area, it’s under the hood. The 148-horsepower 2.0-liter boxer engine just isn’t big on power. Although a 5-speed manual is available, most Crosstreks will go out the door with Subaru’s CVT automatic, which is one of the best CVTs on the market. Unfortunately, to gain maximum power from the engine the Crosstrek’s CVT holds rpm high, resulting in a lot of in-cabin engine noise.
STANDARD SYMMETRICAL ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
One of Subaru’s strongest selling points is its standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Unlike most other crossover SUVs, the Crosstrek’s AWD is permanently engaged, routing power to the wheel or wheels with the best grip. The system is lightweight and efficient, making foul-weather and off-road excursions a walk in the park.
EyeSight uses twin cameras to “see” objects directly ahead of the car. The system allows the adaptive cruise control to keep a safe distance from traffic, warns if the Crosstrek is departing its lane and, in the event of an impending collision, can apply the brakes and stop the car.
The 2016 Subaru Crosstrek SUV features the newest Starlink infotainment system that emphasizes apps and user-friendliness, putting this little Subaru on more competitive footing. Otherwise it's mostly the same, with rear seats that are sufficiently big for adults, but may be better used when folded flat for nearly 52 cubic feet of cargo space. The dashboard's center stack is home to user-friendly controls and a handy lower storage compartment for mobile phones and other small items. We’d like to see a power-seat option and more backlighting for power window and lock switches beyond the driver’s door.
The Crosstrek doesn't do much to hide its familial ties to the Subaru Impreza, and that's just fine with us. We like the aggressive SUV touches on the 2016 Crosstrek, like the 8.7-inch ride height and the dark-gray wheel-well trim. Not only are they suitably off-road-looking, they also contribute to the little Subie's ruggedness, making it easier to traverse ragged terrain, and less likely to cause paint damage when you misjudge how far off that branch is. Moreover, the SUV's lower body panels are wrapped in rugged plastic cladding for additional protection against obstacles encountered on unpaved roads.
Subaru’s Crosstrek 2.0i for 2016 comes standard with tilt/telescoping steering wheel and power windows, locks and mirrors, and a 5-speed manual transmission. Bluetooth is also standard, as is a multi-function display with fuel-economy information. It also includes the 6.0-inch Starlink infotainment system, which comes with a standard rearview camera, but no satellite radio. The midrange 2.0i Premium model adds an All Weather Package that includes heated seats and outside mirrors, plus a windshield de-icer. Top-line 2.0i Limited models get a larger Starlink display with dual USB ports and satellite-radio capability. Hybrid models get keyless entry and push-button start.
If you want an automatic transmission, you'll have to step up to the 2.0i Premium, since the manual is the only choice in the base Crosstrek 2.0i. Other options include EyeSight on Premium and Limited models, a moonroof, touch-screen navigation on an upgraded 7.0-inch Starlink system, and keyless entry and start. Note that if you want a moonroof or EyeSight, you also have to get the CVT. And if you want added features in your Crosstrek Hybrid, you'll have to get the Touring model, which offers most of the features of the gasoline-only Limited model.
The 2016 Subaru Crosstrek's standard 2.0-liter, horizontally opposed "boxer" 4-cylinder engine offers 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. A standard 5-speed manual or available continuously variable automatic transmission routes that power to all four wheels. Premium models equipped with a manual gearbox feature an AWD system with a 50/50 front/rear power distribution, while automatic transmissions get an adaptive system that automatically proportions power to the wheels with the most grip. The 2016 Crosstrek Hybrid couples a 13.4-horsepower electric motor to the same 2.0-liter engine for a total of 160 horsepower. Interestingly, Hybrid models don't offer a significant fuel-economy advantage over the standard Crosstrek.
148 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg (manual), 26/34 mpg (automatic)
2.0-liter flat-4/permanent-magnet AC synchronous electric drive motor
160 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
163 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/34 mpg
The Subaru 2016 Crosstrek 2.0i has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $22,500 with destination charge. The top-line 2.0i Limited starts at about $26,000 – with options, it can climb to about $28,500. Starting just a little over $24,000, we think the mid-level 2.0i Premium with the CVT automatic and more features represents the best deal. Hybrid models start just over $27,000, and top out a little over $30,000. Size-wise, the Nissan Juke is the closest competitor, and the 2.0i base model brings the two much closer in base price. The Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 with AWD start about $500 below the Crosstrek 2.0i. Be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid, and note that resale for the 2016 Subaru Crosstrek will likely be better than the Nissan Juke and Mazda CX-3, and on par with the Honda HR-V.