The second generation of the Subaru Crosstrek compact crossover, which arrived for 2018, continues to offer rugged styling, versatile size, nimble handling, all-wheel drive and an affordable price.
It’s available in well-equipped 2.0i ($21,795), 2.0i Premium ($22,595) and 2.0i Limited ($26,295) models, each with a 152-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.
A new six-speed manual transmission is now standard on the base and midlevel trims, as well as Active Torque Vectoring to help reduce under steer.
A continuously variable automatic transmission is optional for $1,000. The 2.0i with CVT comes with Low Shift Mode and X-Mode with Hill Descent Control, while Premium and Limited (standard CVT) replace Low Shift Mode with a seven-speed manual mode for the CVT, with paddle shifters.
Crosstrek has a smooth, steady ride thanks to a revised suspension and stiffer chassis (by over 70 percent), with a high-quality feel inside due to a much-improved interior.
High-end options such as a premium audio system and a full suite of advanced safety features set Crosstrek apart from other subcompacts.
The Subaru EyeSight option includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning. Higher levels offer automatic high beams and Reverse Automatic Braking.
This five-passenger SUV has the new Subaru Global Platform (the second model to use it) for enhanced performance, driving pleasure, comfort (with less noise, vibration and harshness), safety (crash energy absorption improved by 40 percent) and capability.
The revised 2.0-liter Subaru Boxer engine with fuel injection has enhancements to boost performance and drivability.
New exterior design language incorporates Subaru’s signature hexagonal grille and C-shaped headlights into a more sculptural body, and a more-refined cabin comes with additional features. New driver-assist technology is also available.
A new Subaru StarLink Multimedia system adds Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Near Field Communication to simplify Bluetooth pairing. Harman Kardon premium audio is available in Crosstrek for the first time.
X-Mode, activated by pressing a switch on the console, works below 18 mph to reduce wheel slip on slippery surfaces, steep inclines and rough roads. Hill Descent Control operates up to 12 mph to help maintain starting speed traveling down a steep incline for better control. Incline Start Assist, which briefly holds the vehicle as the driver pulls away from a stop on a hill, is standard for all models.
Prominent wheel arches and flowing side lines emphasize Crosstrek’s rugged stance. Black body cladding, rocker panel cladding, wheel arch cladding, and roof rails along with a gloss-black rear roof spoiler provide a nice contrast to the body color.
The windshield provides extra sound insulation. Rear windows have standard dark-tint privacy glass.
My Crosstrek was the Premium model in Crystal White Pearl with black cloth seats with basket-weave inserts, featuring orange stitching. Seventeen-inch wheels were a new dramatic Y-shaped five-spoke design with black pockets and stems and machined fronts.
Other exterior colors include Cool Gray Khaki (blue-gray), Ice Silver Metallic, Sunshine Orange (bright orange), Venetian Red Pearl (deep) and three more.
Interiors, depending on the model and exterior color, are available in cloth or leather in black, black with orange stitching, gray, and gray with orange stitching.
Welcome Lighting – low beam headlights – came on as the key fob was detected when the light switch was in the “auto” position and it was dark enough to activate the auto on/off headlights. The headlights also illuminated when the windshield wipers were activated.
The Premium adds a shark fin antenna, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter with orange stitching, Subaru Starlink Safety and Security features and an All-Weather Package including heated exterior mirrors, windshield wiper de-icer and heated front seats.
Premium also offers more options, such as EyeSight ($2,395, included on mine) with Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, Lane Keep Assist, and power moon roof.
A power moon roof with Blind Spot Detection/Rear Cross Traffic Alert is available for $1,400, and EyeSight is offered without a moon roof for $1,395.
EyeSight is one of the best active safety packages available in this segment. Subaru models for 2018 equipped with EyeSight receive the highest possible rating for front crash prevention by the IIHS.
The user-friendly interior with straightforward control layout featured higher-quality materials and a more-refined design for a less utilitarian look. Simulated carbon fiber trimmed the center dash and door panel inserts, with gloss black and satin metallic trim on the center stack/console, vents, and instrument panel hood.
Passenger space is slightly up from before, thanks to a longer wheelbase. Although cargo space is down a little, a wider cargo opening does make for easier loading. Rear legroom is up 1.1 inches to 36.5 inches.
Cargo space behind the 60/40 split rear seat is 20.8 cubic feet. With the seatbacks folded flat, cargo space gains 3.4 cubic feet, up to 55.3 cubic feet. The cargo area had grocery bag and tie-down hooks, a retractable/removable shade-type cover, and a removable waterproof/washable cargo tray.
The Subaru Starlink Multimedia system has a 6.5-inch multi-touch high-resolution display screen, four speakers, AM/FM, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming, iPod control, and smartphone integration – Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Aha, and Pandora. It also served as the display for the rear-vision camera. My Crosstrek didn’t have navigation, but the apps for Android Auto compensated very well.
Starlink Connected Services offered SOS Emergency Assistance, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Automatic Collision Notification, Maintenance Notifications, Monthly Vehicle Health Report, Diagnostic Alerts, Remote Lock/Unlock and Stolen Vehicle Recovery Service.
Crosstrek for 2018 has a new platform, which features the latest version of Subaru’s ring-shaped reinforcement frame design, providing excellent occupant collision protection. In fact, the roof is strong enough to bear at least four times the vehicle’s own weight. The new platform absorbs more crash energy -- by 40 percent -- over the previous model. The front-end structure is designed to help provide a level of protection for pedestrians.
A Safety Pedal System allows the pedals to move forward and down away from the driver’s legs and feet, while a driver’s knee air bag protects the knee and lower thigh. Front side thorax air bags and side-curtain air bags with rollover sensors help cocoon outboard passengers.
Brake Assist applies pressure to help increase braking efficiency, while the Brake Override System cuts engine power if the brake pedal and accelerator are pressed at the same time.
The Subaru Crosstrek is sporty yet rugged, with a refined ride, responsive steering, and a quiet, comfortable cabin with firmly padded front seats and increased rear legroom.
Plenty of ground clearance makes Crosstrek fun to drive off road as well as on. Crosstrek is nimble, with excellent all-around visibility for easy maneuvering.
The CVT, EyeSight option and $915 in destination charges brought the delivered price of my Subaru Crosstrek to $26,905, making it a strong value.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at email@example.com