Why the 2nd-Generation Subaru Crosstrek Is Better Than the First

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The new 2018 Subaru Crosstrek just debuted at the Geneva Motor Show, but it might not look all that different. The most significant changes, it turns out, are underneath the slightly tweaked sheetmetal.

Speaking to Kazuhiro Abe, Subaru Project General Manager and General Manager of Design, he explained that the automaker made several important changes to the car, but the most important ones are things you won’t ever see… or hear.

“Noise reduction is a huge area of improvement,” explained Abe-san. He says that a lot of common complaints with the previous car have been addressed, including wind noise. “This plastic panel by the A-pillar is now raised and more flush with the body, reducing wind noise that was found on the old model.” He also pointed out an interesting change where the windshield meets the hood. “There’s this elaborate design, which helps reduce wind noise as well.”

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The outgoing model was notorious for being noisy and a little less refined than some of its competitors. The noise issues seem curbed, and there’s also thicker windows that will help keep the cabin quiet.

In addition to the noise concerns, Subaru says it has also addressed the Crosstrek’s handling. While past Subarus were a bit sleepy to drive (not including the STI, of course), the new car uses a new global platform that is stiffer, which helps to improve the responsiveness of the car. “On our test circuit, we use the same kind of emergency maneuver handling test that Consumer Reports would,” said Abe-san. “The Crosstrek performs far beyond our benchmarks, and way better than other SUVs.”

ALSO SEE: 2018 Subaru Crosstrek Debuts With Better Off-Road Capability

One other area of criticism was the power of the vehicle — the old model made just 148 horsepower and could feel sluggish in comparison to other vehicles in the segment. The new model gets a slight boost in power and 80 percent of the parts on the engine were completely revamped. The new engine is around 26 pounds lighter too, while now delivering 154 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, which Abe-san says is noticeably smoother than the outgoing model.

When asked if a more powerful engine is on the way, Abe-san said that the platform is going to be used for bigger, more powerful models, but such powerplants likely wouldn’t find their way into the Crosstrek.

The car also has a number of new features including an X-Mode for improved off-road capability and hill descent control, which continue to give this Subaru its “go anywhere” personality. One final important change for the car that is now a trademark of Subaru vehicles is improvements to crash safety. Like the Impreza, the Crosstrek has improved the crash absorption of the vehicle by 40 percent, without adding any extra weight.

While Subaru has always been a brand with rugged, capable vehicles, it’s clear with the second-generation Crosstrek that it is also improving the refinement and safety aspects of their vehicles, even if it’s not very obvious on the surface.

  • Jonny_Vancouver

    Cool, good write up, I want a light blue one.

  • Seth T Wilson

    I’ll take anything but bright blue 🙂

  • Scott Stewart

    Gets panned for being too sluggish. Subaru tweaks motor for 4% more power and no more toque. Has DI 2.0, 2.5, 1.6 turbo and 2.0 turbo that fit sitting on the shelf…

  • Jake McCoy

    Real men want better fuel economy, not better acceleration at stop lights.

  • Miatascooter

    …and we lost the manual transmission (crosses off list)

  • Sultry_Llama_Of_Doom

    Needs more STi powertrain swap…

  • Scott Stewart

    I’m not asking for a race car, I just want to be able to merge onto freeways more easily. A direct injection 2.0 or 1.6 turbo may well be more economical as well. The 2.0 turbo diesel would certainly do the job. I had one of those in a Forester and could get 6L/100 km. (40 mpg).

    Not sure how that is relevant to being a real man. Do you advise buying a Prius or a bicycle?

  • Jake McCoy

    Have you actually driven one of these Crosstrek’s? They have good pep. I currently have a 4 cyl Honda Accord 2016. If I didn’t tell you, you would think it is a V6. It accelerates faster than I need, even when it is fully load with luggage and people. You want a more power, but I want better fuel economy. The current Crosstrek gets worse fuel economy than my Honda Accord. I will have to get over the let down if I get a Crosstrek. By the way, that is great you get 40 mpg out of your Forester, but everybody else is getting about 29 or 30 mpg on average. Don’t fuck up your credibility just to try to win an Internet argument. Man up.

  • James Odell

    they will still ship with the manual in the USA apparently

  • Sandy Andina

    It’s possible to milk outrageous fuel economy out of almost any engine, but it takes an unhealthy degree of obsessiveness. I had a Fusion Hybrid that was rated 34mpg. Best I was ever able to average was a bit over 37 before I gave it to my husband when I got the Outback; he prides himself on averaging 43, often getting >50 on a trip. But he never fills the tank more than halfway (too heavy), never uses A/C, turns off the engine at long-traffic-light intersections, and coasts whenever he can. He thinks that the reason people honk, cut him off and flip him off is what his bumper stickers say!

  • Jake McCoy

    Sandy, true, but we have to talk about averages for normal driving. Otherwise, there is no point in having this conversation. By the way, you should NOT coast in an automatic transmission. Otherwise, prepare for major repair costs, thereby negating any fuel savings.

  • Pablo Sanchez

    You’re Accord is not AWD. Apples and oranges.
    I agree with Scott. The Crostrek would benefit by receiving the WRX engine.

  • Pablo Sanchez

    Please explain, in detail, why “coasting” is hazardous to an automatic transmission.
    How do you go downhill, without ‘coasting’?

  • dw

    Really you are comparing an accord to a suby? what a laugh . first off that accord is 2wd and the suby is 4wd, fuel economy is going to be different as is the acceleration.

    If you ever get off your high horse and read what Scott wrote about his forester you would pick up on his forester being a diesel engine. Since you probably don’t know, diesel engines (not sold in the US) get much better mpg than unleaded gasoline engines.

    Go read up on cars, how they work, and come back a real man with knowledge, until then I think you should refrain from making yourself look like a moron.

  • dw

    This is perhaps the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

  • Jake McCoy

    dw, you are taking my comment too personal. Calm down. This is just guys talking about cars. Also, YOU need to do some reading on cars. The diesel version is unavailable to me in the USA. Why would I naturally know about a basic car that will never exist in my world? We are not talking about a Ferrari here. I do not need to know about the diesel versuon. Also, the comparison to an Accord is valid. The ONLY reason I would buy a Subaru is for its performance in the snow. For ever other feature, I like my Accord better. There are so many people in the USA who buy SUVs when they do not need them at all.

  • Jake McCoy

    If you do not know you are not supposed to coast in an automatic, then you need to read up on cars, little guy.

  • Jake McCoy

    I am talking about putting an automatic in neutral and coasting at high speed. It is bad for the transmission.

  • Jake McCoy

    dw, you are taking my comment too personal. Calm down. This is just guys talking about cars. Also, YOU need to do some reading on cars. The diesel version is unavailable to me in the USA. Why would I naturally know about a basic car that will never exist in my world? We are not talking about a Ferrari here. Also, my comparison to an Accord is valid. The ONLY reason I would buy a Subaru is for its performance in the snow. For almost every other feature, I like my Accord better. I was literally test driving SUVs for months, test drove an Accord in the rain, and decided I did not need a Subaru right now. There are so many people in the USA who buy SUVs when they do not need them at all.

  • StewPidasol

    Jake, I had to sign in just to tell you that you have no idea what you are talking about.
    one solid example is that diesel engines, no matter whether they are available to you or not in the USA, are far more fuel efficient engines.
    Then, you go on to make other uneducated claims and at the same time, calling in to question the manhood of others.
    You might actually have a vagina based on what you have stated.

  • Jake McCoy

    Stew, work on your reading comprehension. Your post is non-responsive. Obviously, I did not realize the original poster was talking about diesel. You are flailing wildly, basically chiming in to argue with yourself. Go get laid, little guy.

  • StewPidasol

    Mr. McCoy, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul

  • Jake McCoy

    I gave you some rather easy suggestions, and here you are, still lacking reading comprehension and still needing to get laid. I will no longer treat you like a rational adult, little guy.

  • StewPidasol

    My penis is just shy of 8″. I’m talking like 7 3/4″.
    How big is yours? Be honest now Jakey Cakes. We should compare them. Do you know what “docking” is?

  • Jake McCoy

    What the hell? You just confirmed all my posts toward you, little manlet.

  • StewPidasol

    I just jizzed all over your avatar pic on my phone. Your steeley eyed glare got me right over the edge. You literally have jizz on your face from my point of view right now.

  • StewPidasol

    Fuck you Jake!

  • Kenneth

    Base and Premium trims will offer a 6-speed manual. The Limited trim will come only with a CVT (offering manual control with 7 pre-determined steps).