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Subaru Crosstrek: practicality and value

Photo courtesy of Subaru

The ruggedly handsome SUV provides lots of bang for the buck.

Remarkable value is the Crosstrek’s headline virtue. For a starting price right around $23,000, a buyer gets goodies such as AWD with torque vectoring for enhanced traction, hill-descent control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and Bluetooth streaming. 

The Crosstrek was introduced in 2012 as a 2013 model and significantly revised for 2018. Built on the new Subaru Global Platform, the 2018 Crosstrek’s revised bodywork is ruggedly handsome, and a raised suspension provides bad-road ground clearance. The Crosstrek is big enough for four to ride in comfort, but not so large as to make maneuvering in urban traffic a chore. The rear seat backs fold completely flat, providing lots of cargo space. Except for some engine noise from Subaru’s trademark boxer engine, the interior stays admirably quiet. The Japanese automaker’s highly regarded EyeSight advanced safety system with forward automatic emergency braking is available as an extra-cost option. 

Alas, the Crosstrek’s driving dynamics aren’t as noteworthy. The steering is dull and the suspension is soft, taking the fun out of cornering. The 2.0-liter engine provides only modest acceleration, and the base transmission—a 6-speed manual unit—has a rubbery feel when shifting through the gears. (A CVT automatic costs $1,000 extra.) But should a motorist prefer practicality and value to sporty handling, the Crosstrek is a great choice. 

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Model years: 2018–2019
Vehicle layout tested: Compact SUV, 2.0-liter horizontally opposed 4 (152 hp), 6-speed manual, AWD
MSRP: $22,870 (base), $34,000 (well equipped)
MPG, city/hwy/combined: 23/29/25
Crash-test ratings: NHTSA: 5 stars overall. IIHS: good (all ratings). Top Safety Pick
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Spare tire: Compact spare
Final assembly: Japan

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