It didn’t take long for the Crosstrek to prove popular with customers.

Launched back in 2013, Subaru decided to debut the second-generation for the 2018 model year. The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek isn’t much different, building on the success of the original. Based on the same global platform as the Subaru Impreza, the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek is a CUV that feels more like a car than a crossover – in fact it looks more like a car than a crossover too. That’s because in many ways it really is just an Impreza with a lifted suspension and some more Outback-esque body cladding.

In true Subaru fashion, the 2019 Crosstrek is only available in all-wheel-drive and gets power from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

Thanks to the shared platform, the Subaru Crosstrek has a lot of the same driving dynamics as the smaller Impreza sedan and hachback. The engine can feel underpowered for this much vehicle, though it still has a persistent, plucky feeling. This five-passenger, five-door CUV, comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission while a CVT is available. The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek has a stiffened chassis over the previous model. These improvements should improve handling and boost fuel economy.

One of the most affordable models in the Subaru lineup, it’s roughly $2,500 more than an Impreza, making it an attractive offering against many compact crossovers on the market today – especially when you consider base price for those competitors is often listed for front-drive only models.

The Crosstrek is also available as a plug-in hybrid model, with a fully-electric range of 17 miles and a total range of 480 miles.

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek is made in Japan and exported to the United States.

Subaru Crosstrek fuel economy

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek is equipped with a pair of transmission options and a single-engine option. When equipped with the continuously variable transmission, you should expect the estimated fuel economy of 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway for a combined 29 mpg. The standard 6-speed manual isn’t quite as fuel-efficient, with an estimated 23/29 mpg city/highway.

Regular 87 octane gasoline is the recommended fuel in all 2019 Subaru Crosstrek models.

Subaru Crosstrek Safety rating

Subaru introduced several new engineering changes to the Crosstrek in the 2018 model redesign, and those changes have paid off. The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek has earned a Top Safety Pick Plus from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, or IIHS. When equipped with the optional LED headlights and collision prevention system, the 2019 Crosstrek earns top marks across every test.

Available optional on all trims is the Subaru Eye-Sight® suite of driver aids. This includes forward collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, lane-keep assist, and lane departure warning. Upgrade to the highest-level Limited trim and get automatic reverse braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alters.

Subaru Crosstrek features

There is a good selection of features available across three different 2019 Subaru Crosstrek trims. Some of the standard features include steering wheel-mounted controls, Bluetooth® connectivity, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, USB charge ports, and cloth seating.

In addition to the safety and driver aids mentioned above, the 2019 Subaru Crosstek can be upgraded with an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, a power moonroof, a 6-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, leather seats, power-adjustable seats, and auto on/off headlights.

Subaru Crosstrek pricing

Before the applicable destination fees, the entry-level pricing for a 2019 Subaru Crosstrek is $21,895. Being sub-$25,000 should make this an attractive value-buy for many shoppers. Upgrading from the 6-speed manual to a CVT bumps the price to $22,895. That also happens to be the same starting price as the Crosstrek Premium trim. The 2019 Crosstrek Limited trim, only available with a CVT, comes in at $27,195.

Subaru Crosstrek competitors

The subcompact crossover, or CUV, the segment is still a relatively new one. But, there is a list of competitors that the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek goes up against. Other CUVs include the Hyundai Kona, Toyota CH-R, Kia Nero, Honda HRV, and Mazda CX3.

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek has much of the same exciting styling many others in the CUV segment have and performs with many of the same car-like driving characteristics. What sets the Crosstrek apart is the X-Mode off-road system and full-time all-wheel-drive. Both are exclusive to Subaru and perform very well in a variety of conditions.

Subaru Crosstrek Review

by Sami Haj-Assaad

There’s something to be said about making do with what you’ve got. 

Whether it’s turning lemons into lemonade or using a wrench to hammer some nails, getting that end result is the ultimate goal. And when you’re at a disadvantage or have limitations to deal with, you have to be clever to deliver.

And while the new 2018 Subaru Crosstrek isn’t handicapped in any way, it still packs a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine with 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. It’s a perfectly adequate engine for everyday commuting, but when you’re sitting at the bottom of a 72 percent grade uphill climb, a few doubts will creep into your mind.

ALSO SEE: Where Is Subaru From and Where Are Subarus Made?

Mat the gas pedal, and the small crossover attacks the hill, but somewhere past the halfway point, its momentum is feeling less effective. Doubts are had. Breaths are held. “Will it roll back? Can it finish the climb?” But with the gas pedal still firmly planted on the floor, the car inches forward bit by bit. It’s Bizarro-Gandalf in the Fellowship of the Rings. “You SHALL Pass!” it says as it urges forward and triumphantly reaches the summit. This interesting situation really highlights the plucky strength and charm of the new Subaru Crosstrek.

Of course, a huge part of this particular equation is the X-Mode drive setting that was introduced this year on Crosstreks with automatic transmissions. X-Mode helps the car maintain traction and grip in slippery conditions. It’s just one part of the Crosstrek that has been seriously improved in order to maintain the car’s adventurous personality while also raising its refinement levels and day-to-day livability.

New Architecture, New Look

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Now entering its second generation, the big story with the Crosstrek is that it’s built on new architecture. This didn’t lead to massive changes dimensionally, as the car is only slightly longer and wider than before. These slight increases deliver more space in the cabin, specifically the rear seats, which are more livable than before. Behind those seats, there’s enough space to stack three golf bags (for all the golfers out there) or exactly 20.8 cubic feet (for all the non-golfers out there). Slap those rear seats down and the cargo capacity expands to 55.2 cubic feet, which is downright cavernous compared to subcompact crossovers out there.

ALSO SEE: 2017 Subaru Forester Limited Review

Style wise, the car has body cladding that makes it look rugged and adventurous in the same way you’d look at someone with a barbed-wire tattoo and assume, “Yeah he’d be helpful when I need to move my furniture around.”

With its 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the Crosstrek will easily tackle muddy, gravelly and snowy roads with ease. Higher trim level models come with flashy 18-inch wheels that look like ninja stars.

Completely New Interior

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While the exterior design isn’t anything radical, the interior has been thoroughly redone for this generation. The previous Crosstrek always seemed a bit Spartan and low-rent, but this model comes with a fantastic design and plenty of high-end-feeling materials. Stylish two-tone leather seats are also available.

The dashboard design is all new and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support come standard. The new Subaru StarLink infotainment system is now easier to use and much more responsive. In addition to that, there are other bright and easy-to-read screens that provide more useful information.

Subaru also updated the EyeSight suite of safety equipment that’s offered on the Crosstrek. It has adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane-keep assist and reverse automatic braking. There’s also a new high-beam assist function to prevent you from blinding oncoming motorists. The automaker believes that the car will earn the coveted Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the IIHS like the new Impreza did earlier this year.

The Track and the Trails

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But the big news with this year’s crossover is the new platform. It’s stiffer and the suspension has been completely redone, which really helps the car’s on-road manners, which was a point of criticism with the last-generation model. It’s the second product built on Subaru’s new global, scalable architecture that will expand to the rest of the brand’s lineup.

To prove its point, Subaru brought us to a track just to show how much more responsive and agile the car is. And true to form, the small crossover was surprisingly well behaved. In particular, the steering response was nice and quick, as the car features the same ratio rack as the company’s BRZ sports coupe. Body roll was decently controlled, considering we’re talking about a crossover on the track.

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The powertrains have been reworked too, but it might not seem that way based on their power ratings. Now making 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque, Subaru says it changed 80 percent of the components in the 2.0-liter boxer engine. While it doesn’t feel particularly powerful or fast, the engine is more responsive and those ponies come on about 500 rpm sooner. The Crosstrek can still feel a little sluggish and the engine sounds terrible when taxed. The new manual transmission gets an extra gear, bringing the total to six, but it never feels engaging or fun. The CVT model has been retuned and gets the previously mentioned X-Mode drive setting, which provides hill descent control and optimizes a number of settings for better off-road capability.

In an off-road test that Subaru set up for us, the car didn’t seem at all fazed by rough terrain or intimidating downhill segments. It even handled a see-saw and river crossing obstacle with ease. That’s really the beauty of this car, as it can go from driving on the roads to riding on the trails without a compromised ride quality.

Buyers in this segment are usually looking for good fuel economy and should be happy with the 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway ratings that the CVT model gets.

The Verdict: 2018 Subaru Crosstrek Review

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The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek arrives as a versatile, do-anything kind of crossover. With its excellent size and capability, it has become a good choice for many buyers.  Now more advanced and refined, this car is priced right in that sweet spot of $23,000 in the U.S., meaning this small crossover should be on every buyer’s shortlist.

Detailed Specs

Engine / 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder
Horsepower / 152
Torque / 145 lb-ft
Transmission / 6-speed manual / CVT
Seating Capacity / Five
Cargo Capacity / 20.8 cubic feet / 55.3 cubic feet maximum
Towing Capacity / 1,500 pounds

Our Final Verdict

Thanks to a redesign in 2018, the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek is a capable, fun-looking, comfortable CUV that does very well off-road. Subaru builds on its new global platform to create a CUV that’s a bit bigger than most, and the only one with all-wheel-drive standard. While the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is a bit lacking, it still has many of the driving dynamics of a car. An entry-level price point just shy of $22,000 makes this a must-look for CUV shoppers.