2018 Subaru Crosstrek Review – Long-Term Arrival

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I’ve owned seven Subarus over my years of driving. That might sound like a lot, but I used to go through cars fast. Even though it’s been about three years since my last Subie, it felt natural that my first long-term tester would be one, too. And although this might be my first Crosstrek, I have owned first-, second-, and third-generation Imprezas—and the Crosstrek is basically a raised Impreza hatchback. This gives me a first-hand opportunity to see how Subaru has advanced its latest compact offering.

Already, the Crosstreks we have tested on a short-term basis have been warmly regarded by our staff. The Crosstrek won a three-way comparison that included the Jeep Compass Trailhawk and Nissan Rogue Sport AWD. Then, in one of the most competitive 2018 Motor Trend SUV of the Year fields to date, it was named a finalist, and even snared one first-place vote among our judges.

In the three-way test, we noted: “In a segment looking for the Goldilocks fit, the second-generation Subaru Crosstrek marries the off-road capability of the Jeep with the on-road ride quality of the Nissan while bringing an impressive level of refinement and value to this emerging segment.” As our long-termer rolled up to the Motor Trend garage, I knew I had been given a competent vehicle to chaperone.

The Crosstrek was developed to be a comfortable and economical urban vehicle offering plenty of technology and safety while having the capability to navigate through the roughest of weather and take you safely and confidently to your favorite trailheads, camping spots, and light-duty dirt trails. If you look at the success of the outgoing model, the 2018 Crosstrek has a good chance of delivering on its promises.

Our Crosstrek is the 2.0i Premium model (the midlevel trim) in a Cool Gray Khaki color, which looks more like a light blue matte. Regardless, it’s an attractive color. Standard features include 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, foglights, roof rails, a 6.5-inch Starlink multimedia system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a USB port with smartphone connectivity, a six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, and a rearview camera. For an extra $800 our premium-grade trim level adds standard heated front seats, cloth upholstery with orange stitching, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with orange stitching, remote keyless entry, automatic headlights, and the StarLink Safety system (SOS emergency assistance button, automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle recovery, etc.). Optional features include a package consisting of a power moonroof and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist for $1,400, the $1,000 continuously variable transmission (a six-speed manual is standard), , a $499 Rockford Fosgate audio system upgrade, a crossbar set, a rear bumper cover, a rubber seat back protector, and all-weather mats that added another $490.

For the next year we’ll see what it’s like living with the redesigned Crosstrek and how the little lifted Subaru braves L.A.’s infamous traffic and dated road and highway networks. With the beach, mountains, and desert nearby, we expect to assess how the Crosstrek handles the snow, sand, and off-road trails, utilizing its standard Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system, impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and optional off-road mode with hill-descent control. The Subaru’s slow acceleration was the biggest complaint by our editors, so I will evaluate how much of an issue that might be both on- and off-road.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i (Premium)
BASE PRICE $23,510
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.0L/152-hp/145-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve flat-4
TRANSMISSION Cont variable auto
WHEELBASE 104.9 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 175.8 x 71.0 x 62.6 in
0-60 MPH 9.0 sec (MT est)
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 125/102 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.66 lb/mile