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2018 Subaru Crosstrek

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2018 Subaru Crosstrek Expert Review

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The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is a rugged, all-wheel-drive hatchback packed with value and an adventurous spirit. The Crosstrek is all-new for 2018, which marks its second generation after it became a surprise success in the automaker's lineup. Though it's based on a 5-door Impreza, the Crosstrek is very much its own model, blurring the lines between a hatchback and compact SUV thanks to its ample ground clearance, tough looks, and outdoor-oriented features like a standard roof rack. This all-new version is enhanced with more safety features and driving aids, better refinement and premium options. The Crosstrek isn't as powerful or as athletic as the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, but its reputation for practicality, reliability and high resale value make this Subie a standout.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want an all-wheel-drive compact car that's as adventurous as it is economical, the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek hits the bull's-eye. It's an enticing automotive amalgamation, blending hatchback versatility, the higher ride height and enhanced visibility of an SUV, and sedan-like driving manners.

You May Not Like This Car If...

For all the things a Crosstrek is, it isn't all that powerful or athletic. If you prioritize fun-to-drive dynamics, check out a Mazda CX-3 subcompact crossover SUV or the slightly larger and pricier Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. If you seek a more traditional Subaru compact SUV, look to the Forester.

How It Ranks
2018 Subaru Crosstrek Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

The Subaru Crosstrek is all-new for 2018. Following the Impreza on which it's based, the 2018 Crosstrek is built on a new platform that touts enhanced refinement and safety. Other improvements include standard tech like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility and upgraded driver-assistance features.

Driving the Crosstrek
2018 Subaru Crosstrek Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

The new Crosstrek is a step up from the outgoing model. Overall ride quality is more comfortable, and the drone of the engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT) has been...

... tempered. One aspect we most appreciate is the quelling of throttle tip-in that's been an issue on past Subarus. That's the tendency to lurch from a stop if you're not easy on the accelerator pedal, but thankfully that has been addressed with the all-new Crosstrek. Power remains only adequate at best. The 4-cylinder engine's 152 horsepower is efficient for sure, but acceleration isn't a strong point, and high-speed passing requires plenty of open road. The Crosstrek has surprising off-road chops. In our test, the Subie's standard all-wheel drive and new torque-vectoring system easily ate up miles of unpaved roads. A manual transmission is available on base and mid-trims, but we didn't find it all that satisfying to use.

X-MODE WITH HILL DESCENT CONTROL
Subaru's off-road system has now made its way into the Crosstrek. A push of a button optimizes the vehicle for descending steep, slippery slopes. Once engaged, you can take your foot off the brake pedal and focus on steering the Crosstrek down its intended path.

CARPLAY & ANDROID AUTO
These Apple and Android smartphone interfaces are making their way into more and more new cars, but they're not always standard. In the new Subaru Crosstrek, they are. Even a base 2.0i model with manual transmission is ready to play with your Apple or Android phone.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Details
2018 Subaru Crosstrek Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Like the Impreza on which it's based the Crosstrek has two rows and seating for up to five passengers. We found the front seats perfectly acceptable after a long day's drive, but did wish for adjustable lumbar support. Rear-seat room is respectable considering this car's compact size, and the view out is better than average. One of the best things about this Subie's interior are its fold-flat seats. In this case, flat truly means that, as their angle is much flatter than the seats found in most rivals. As such, the Crosstrek makes the most of its cargo space, swallowing over 55 cubic feet of your shopping bags or outdoor gear.

Exterior
2018 Subaru Crosstrek photo

This 2nd-gen Subaru uses an all-new platform, but its exterior design hasn't strayed far from the original. Compared to the previous edition, the new Crosstrek is slightly longer and wider. Among the biggest distinctions on the new model are its wider taillight housings and more prominent, upward-sloping side creases. Up front, the 2018 Crosstrek gets Subaru's "hawk-eye" headlight treatment and a tweaked grille. Roof rails are standard equipment, so go ahead and strap on that bike. Like its Outback big brother, the Crosstrek boasts an above-average 8.7 inches of ground clearance, enabling it to better tackle trails and snow.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Crosstrek remains available in three trims: 2.0i (base), 2.0i Premium, and 2.0i Limited. The least-expensive Crosstrek includes all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring, cruise control, 17-inch wheels and a rearview camera. Also standard is Subaru's Starlink multimedia system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, AM/FM stereo, USB port with iPod control, Bluetooth audio streaming, and an auxiliary jack. We think you're better off spending the additional $800 for a Premium trim. It adds heated front seats, fog lights, a windshield wiper de-icer and heated side mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 6-speaker audio system, vanity mirrors on the sun visors, and it opens the door for more options.

Optional Equipment

The top-line Crosstrek Limited includes leather interior, a CVT automatic transmission as standard, power driver's seat, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, automatic single-zone climate control, an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system with AM/FM/HD Radio, CD player, dual USB inputs and voice-activated controls, plus keyless access with push-button start, 18-inch wheels, and color multifunction dash display. A moonroof is optional on Premium and Limited trims, as is the EyeSight driver-assist and active-safety system with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist package. Limited trims can also add a harman/kardon premium audio system, navigation, and reverse automatic braking.

Under the Hood
2018 Subaru Crosstrek Engine photo

All 2018 Crosstreks use a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder flat (horizontally opposed cylinders) engine. Now with direct injection, this revised engine has a slight bump in power over the outgoing one, but at 152 horsepower, it's still modest. Base and Premium trims come with a 6-speed manual transmission, but most buyers will choose the CVT automatic, which is optional on those trims and standard on the top-line Limited model. The Crosstrek's fuel economy remains impressive, especially considering it is all-wheel drive. Unlike some subcompact crossover SUVs, the Crosstrek is rated to tow, though at 1,500 pounds, capacity is modest.

2.0-liter flat-4
152 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/29 mpg (manual), 27/33 mpg (automatic)

The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $22,710, including destination, for a base model with manual transmission. Again, we think you're better off spending $800 more for the better-equipped Premium model. If you want an automatic transmission on either of those models, as most buyers will, plan to spend an extra $1,000. Crosstrek Limited models begin at $27,210. Fully loaded, a Crosstrek can reach just beyond $30,000. Would-be rivals like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Trax and Fiat 500X start slightly lower, but they also don't have all-wheel drive standard. Though a bit larger, the VW Golf Alltrack is a more direct rival to the Crosstrek, and it starts a few thousand higher. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying. As with other Subaru vehicles, the Crosstrek's resale value is expected to be among the highest in its segment.

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