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

Sami Haj-Assaad
by Sami Haj-Assaad

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.”

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.

Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad

Sami has an unquenchable thirst for car knowledge and has been at AutoGuide for the past six years. He has a degree in journalism and media studies from the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto and has won multiple journalism awards from the Automotive Journalist Association of Canada. Sami is also on the jury for the World Car Awards.

More by Sami Haj-Assaad

Join the conversation
4 of 28 comments