2018 Subaru Crosstrek Pros and Cons

Chidi Ohiaeri
by Chidi Ohiaeri

The Subaru Crosstrek was an early entry into the now hot subcompact crossover segment and this second-generation model offers up a redo of the utilitarian runabout that makes it smarter and more upscale.

New faces pop up in the sub-compact crossover segment all the time and saying it is getting overcrowded will soon become an understatement. The Crosstrek’s success paved the way for other automakers to stake a claim in the segment and now a few years later, the new Crosstrek takes a unique and confidently restrained approach to standing out from the rest of the competition.

We have had a lot of seat time putting the Crosstrek through its paces. Make sure to check out our full review, but here is a quick overview of the pros and cons of this baby crossover.

ALSO SEE: 2018 Subaru Crosstrek Review

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Pros and Cons

Get the Flash Player to see this player.


Unexpected Levels of Refinement: One of the Crosstrek’s main weaknesses when it first arrived was a generally unrefined nature. Engine, wind, and road noise were big issues, but this redo has made the interior much more hushed. Due to clever sound deadening, noise levels are now tolerable. The Crosstrek also glides over bad roads and expansion joints that would normally rattle a solid chassis. In a field where noise, harshness, and vibration are expected by customers, Subaru is overshooting expectations. The interior is also much nicer, more refined, and less boring than it used to be.

Well-Sorted CVT Transmission: Engineering a well-behaved CVT has eluded many automakers, so it’s saying a lot when Subaru has managed to make the CVT in the Crosstrek smooth, responsive, and free from excessive droning. The Crosstrek’s CVT does a commendable job in making the most of the engine’s somewhat lacking output. The aggressive throttle mapping also makes the car feel quick off the line, giving the driver an illusion of speed.

Genuine Off-Road Capability: This crossover is more than just a jacked-up version of the Impreza hatchback with overzealous plastic body cladding — it’s a proper all-wheel drive crossover that can play in the dirt convincingly. The Crosstrek’s standard symmetrical all-wheel drive makes it more capable in sloppy situations than the slip-and-grip systems its competitors use.

CVT-equipped models have a system called X-Mode that optimizes the car for tackling slippery surfaces at low speed. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance, 18 degrees approach angle, 29 degrees departure angle, and 19.7 degrees breakover angle, the Crosstrek pretty much has the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk in its sights in terms of on-paper off-road capability.

Nicely Equipped: A base model in the subcompact crossover segment may make you feel punished for not splurging on higher trim level, but the Crosstrek’s standard equipment list includes 17-inch dark gray-finish alloy wheels, Starlink Multimedia 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, symmetrical all-wheel drive, rear-view camera, and a collection of airbags including a very important driver’s knee airbag.

Confidently Restrained Styling: In a segment where most of the competition is either much too boring or way over-styled, the Crosstrek has a smart, restrained, and confident design that straddles the two extremes. The fully loaded Limited trim level with adaptive/responsive LED headlights, shuriken-inspired alloy wheel design, and bold paint choices could get some unexpected attention from onlookers.

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


It’s Slow: The Crosstrek is powered by a highly taxed 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with just 152 horsepower and 134 pound-feet of torque that makes it painfully slow. Calls for enthusiastic acceleration are met with a seemingly lethargic attitude. Climbing hills in areas with high elevations as well as doing passing maneuvers require some advance planning. The situation is even more pronounced when all seats in the Crosstrek are occupied. There is an easy fix for this Subaru: Put in that turbo!

EyeSight Driver Assist Not Available for Base Model: The base model Crosstrek is impressively equipped, but unfortunately does not offer customers the chance to choose the EyeSight driver assist technology option that includes pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure and sway warning.

Bad Manual Transmission: We love manual transmissions, but the one in the Crosstrek is terrible. The clutch is ultra vague and the bite point isn’t very natural, making it very difficult to drive a manual Crosstrek smoothly. We applaud Subaru for even offering one, but they need to make it better. Until they do, the CVT is the way to go.

Infotainment System Needs Improvement: The new Crosstrek comes with the updated Starlink infotainment system, which is much better than it used to be but is still not up to industry standards. The system is still a bit laggy and the graphics look a few years behind. Luckily, Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto are available.

Discuss this article on our Subaru Crosstrek Forum

Chidi Ohiaeri
Chidi Ohiaeri

Chidi loves talking about cars. He enjoys exploring the limits of new car technology and performance vehicles. When he is not writing features for AutoGuide, you will most likely find him perusing Kijiji or Autotrader listings for unique classic nameplates.

More by Chidi Ohiaeri

Join the conversation
2 of 3 comments
  • Duke Duke on Mar 28, 2018

    I recently bought a new MY18 XV Premium. It now has 5000km on the clock and from new when accelerating slowly up to about 50kmh a noticeable shudder or jurky gear changing sensation is felt. I drove a second MY18 as a lone car and it suffered from the same issue. I mentioned it to the dealer at its first service and I was advised that it is a known issue and Subaru were working on a CVT programming fix. I took the car back to the dealer for a diagnostic check. They hooked it up to a computer and drove it several times to capture data for the engineers in Japan. They also did a CVT relearn back to factory settings. I can report that the relearn did very little to fix the issues and I found out that many if not all of the MY18 have this issues and Subaru Australia cant fix it, they are forwarding as much data to Japan as they can so a software update can be made.

  • Dwango Dwango on Mar 29, 2018

    I really love my '18 Crosstrek Limited, probably the only car I would have traded my '15 Crosstrek Touring for. The new one is like a whole 'nother car, but I have to paddle-down to get the torque to pass, though. It's got enough guts in commuting traffic, but no umph otherwise. I sincerely hope Subaru listens and finally puts in that turbo.