By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 8.9
Subaru’s 2017 Crosstrek may be based on the Impreza hatchback, but it takes things to a whole other level. With its raised ride height, it's able to venture over much more rugged terrain where many subcompact SUVs like the Honda HR-V or Mazda CX-3 would never dare to go. Yet, it's a Subaru, which means it's nicely equipped, affordable and available with a wide variety of high-tech features, such as Subaru's excellent EyeSight driver-assist system. This year, a new Premium Special Edition adds keyless access and push-button start, updated interior trim, and more. Additionally, the Crosstrek Hybrid is gone, and we don't miss it, since its added expense provided only a meager improvement in fuel economy over the standard Crosstrek's city fuel economy.
The Subaru Crosstrek is a fuel-efficient subcompact-crossover SUV, meaning it's easy to park, easy to maneuver and not really expensive. All-wheel drive is standard across the board, it offers enough ground clearance to make off-road adventures a reality, and it offers cutting-edge safety features, too.
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For 2017, the Subaru Crosstrek loses the Hybrid version, as its minor fuel-economy advantage didn't make up for the added cost. Additionally, there's a new 2.0i Premium Special Edition that adds a number of features, such as blind-spot detection, cross-traffic warning and upgraded interior trim.
It's no surprise that the 2017 Subaru Crosstrek feels a lot like the Impreza compact car from behind the wheel, especially when you consider that the Crosstrek...
... SUV is based on that sedan. But there are differences. The Crosstrek rides higher than its sedan and hatchback siblings, giving it more lean in corners, but also making it better at absorbing bumps along with its off-road ability. Steering is electrically assisted, which means it’s responsive enough but feels a bit numb, although you're not likely to notice. If there's one thing we wish for, it's more power. The little 148-horsepower 2.0-liter boxer engine just isn't enough to move the Crosstrek with any urgency, with either the 5-speed manual or the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The CVT does what it can to provide maximum power at full throttle, but at the expense of holding the engine at very noisy high revs.
STANDARD SYMMETRICAL ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Subaru equips all of its cars with standard all-wheel drive, and its Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system is one of the best out there for when the going gets tough or slick. Permanently engaged, it routes power to the wheel or wheels with the best grip. It's also lightweight, minimizing the fuel-economy impact.
The Subaru Crosstrek literally looks down the road for you thanks to its EyeSight safety system. Using two cameras, EyeSight can interpret objects directly ahead of the car, allowing for adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and collision warning and mitigation.
The new 2017 Crosstrek 2.0i Premium Special Edition boasts most of its changes inside. There's push-button start; red contrast stitching on the seats, steering wheel, shift handle and door panel trim. There are also red-illuminated foot wells, and red dial rings on the climate control. Otherwise though, it's much the same. The controls are sensibly laid out, there's comfortable seating in front, and decent cargo space under the hatch. Sadly, rear-seat legroom is in short supply, so it might be best just to max out the 52 cubic feet of cargo space instead. Curiously, power seats aren't available.
The 2017 Crosstrek doesn't hide its Impreza roots, and that's fine. The biggest differentiator of course is ride height, and with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the Crosstrek actually boasts more than the Jeep Cherokee. The ground clearance combines with the dark gray wheel-well trim, not just for looks, but to help minimize paint chips when navigating narrow or rocky off-road trails. The same is true for the lower body panels, which are wrapped in rugged plastic cladding for additional protection against obstacles encountered on unpaved roads. The only noteworthy change this year is the black badges on the Premium Special Edition.
Standard on the 2017 Crosstrek 2.0i are a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and power windows, locks and mirrors, and a 5-speed manual transmission. There’s also Bluetooth, plus cruise control and a multi-function display with fuel-economy information. A 6.0-inch Starlink infotainment system comes with a standard rearview camera, but not satellite radio. That's all fine, but the next step up to the 2.0i Premium model adds quite a bit more, like an All Weather Package with heated seats and outside mirrors, plus a windshield de-icer, leather steering wheel and shifter handle, 6-speaker audio system, and more.
Subaru’s CVT automatic is available only in Premium models and higher. Same is true for options like EyeSight, blind-spot detection, a moonroof, and an upgraded Starlink media system with a bigger screen, SiriusXM satellite radio, dual USB ports and more. The Premium Special edition basically offers the same, but includes push-button ignition and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring. Limited models get an automatic climate-control system and automatic headlights, leather upholstery, nicer instruments, and available navigation. Order EyeSight on a Crosstrek Limited and you also get steering-responsive fog lights, which "look" where you're turning the steering wheel.
The only engine available for any 2017 Subaru Crosstrek model is a 2.0-liter, horizontally opposed "boxer" 4-cylinder engine, which sends 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. That's not a lot of juice, and whether you choose the 5-speed manual or available continuously variable automatic transmission, you won't be going anywhere fast. The all-wheel-drive systems are slightly different, with manual-gearbox Crosstreks getting an AWD system that splits power 50/50 front and rear, and automatic-transmission versions getting a more sophisticated adaptive system that automatically proportions power to the wheels with the most grip. Some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel economy numbers, due to changes in EPA testing.
148 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (manual), 26/33 mpg (automatic)
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the base-level 2017 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i is about $22,600 when you include the $875 destination charge. Surprisingly, prices don't skyrocket, either; a Crosstrek 2.0i Limited starts at a little more than $26,000, and even with navigation and EyeSight it sneaks under the $29,000 mark. Splitting the difference is the mid-range Premium, coming in at about $25,000-$26,000 depending on equipment. Note that the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 with AWD start a little lower than the Crosstrek, but the Honda isn't available with anything like EyeSight, and the Mazda only offers a similar package on its most expensive model. Be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid, and note that resale for the 2017 Subaru Crosstrek will likely be better than the Nissan Juke and Mazda CX-3, and on par with the Honda HR-V.