Subaru Crosstrek gets power boost for 2021
One can make the case that the small subcompact crossover SUV is merely just a slightly taller hatchback. But here in the U.S., hatchbacks don’t sell but SUVs do, so this class, which is led by the Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, Honda HR-V – the one that is least like a hatchback and more like a real SUV, happens to be the Subaru Crosstrek.
The Crosstrek offers high ground clearance and good off-road abilities when compared to the others. Out since 2013 and currently in its 2nd generation, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is the ride of the week.
Based off of the Impreza hatchback, the Outback features some aggressive styling, especially when compared to the others in its class. And like all Subies (except the sporty BRZ) every Crosstrek has all-wheel drive and uses a boxer style engine.
If there was something you could knock the Crosstrek for was its lack of performance from its weak engine. Acceleration from its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine seemed to be tortoise-like, with the engine making just 152 horsepower. That changes for the 2021 Crosstrek.
For 2021, the Crosstrek gets a more powerful engine option. The new 2.5-liter flat-four, used in the mid-size Legacy sedan and Outback station wagon is now available under the hood of the Crosstrek Sport and Limited models; the 2.0-liter engine is still in the mix, but only for the base and Premium models only.
Also new is the above-mentioned Sport trim. Going this route not only equips the Crosstrek with the larger engine, but it adds in unique 17-inch wheels, yellow-stitched upholstery, carbon-fiber trim, advanced driving modes and various settings for the standard all-wheel-drive system.
With the new engine, the Crosstrek delivers 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque – a healthy increase from the base engine. One advantage that the base engine continues to have is the availability of a six-speed manual transmission as the optional engine only comes with the CVT automatic.
As much as I prefer to shift gears myself, in the case of the Crosstrek, going with the new engine is really the way to go. The Crosstreck Sport that I am in feels spirited and lively, leaving the memories of being “a nice little SUV, but underpowered” in the past. When it comes to freeway driving, passing and merging can easily be done without begging and pleading. The added horsepower and torque in the Crosstrek really gives it a huge boost in confidence driving.
The Crosstrek’s interior continues to be simple and clean with easy-to-use controls on the center stack and dash. The cabin is spacious with plenty of room for both passengers and cargo. There is 22.3 cubic feet of cargo space, but when the rear seats are folded flat into the floor, cargo space jumps to a very useful 51.9.
With its all-wheel drive system, raised suspension and 8.7 inches of ground clearance the Crosstrek is capable of tackling off-road trails or plowing through deep snow, which makes it, along with other Subarus, a hit in the Northeast, Northwest and Rocky Mountain States.
Over the week, I drove the Crosstrek through none of that – just plenty of Texas sunshine with no real-life all-wheel drive experiences expected I did discovere it makes for a great commuter car. The extra height means the Crosstrek is easy to get in and out of – you don’t have to step up like in an SUV nor do you fall into the driver’s seat like you would in a low-riding car.
Whether you’re looking for a hatchback, small crossover SUV or just a small car, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport should meet your needs nicely and will gladly accept any adventure you may encounter. It offers an abundance of rugged versatility as well as a level of comfort and refinement perfect for long drives – regardless if those long drives are on the highway or on some dirt trail.
It seems like just a few short years ago no one seemed to take Subaru seriously. But lately, Subaru has gone from a cult-favorite to a mainstream player in the SUV / wagon market, and vehicles like Crosstrek is proving why Subaru should be taken seriously. They are simply that good.
– Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport
Base Price: $26,495.00
Price as Tested: $29,145.00
Layout: front-engine / all-wheel drive
Engine: 2.5 liter horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder
Transmission: CVT automatic
Horsepower: 182 hp
Torque: 176 ft-lbs torque
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