2020 Subaru Crosstrek

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Review: The Rugged Urbanite

by Aiden Eksteen

Whether it's cruising through the urban streets or taking on a rugged off-road trail, the Subaru Crosstrek has both the looks and the capability to naturally do both. It's based on the Subaru Global Platform with the body of the Impreza Hatchback jacked up to crossover levels and given an appropriate level of body cladding to make it look the part, which has proven to be a good recipe thus far. But it's more than just a styling job, and with 8.7 inches of running ground clearance, it's got more claim to being an off-roader than many larger SUVs. Jam-packed with safety features in the form of Subaru's Eyesight suite, as well as the frugality of a 2.0-liter flat-four and a CVT gearbox with 152 horsepower on tap, the Crosstrek is a rugged alternative to the Mazda CX-30 - technically it's only true-to-type competitor in the USA.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Crosstrek?

Subaru applied a lot of advancements and alterations to the Crosstrek for the 2020 model year. To start things off, Subaru's SI-DRIVE selectable drive modes, a new collision-detection automatic door-unlock system, and single-zone automatic climate control are all now standard in every model, all CVT-equipped models now come standard with EyeSight driver-assist technologies and an auto stop-start system. Subaru also relocated the front USB port and auxiliary input jack to a cubby located at the bottom of the center stack. The Limited now comes standard-fit with new LED fog lamps and with rear-seat USB charge ports. Finally, a keyless entry system with push-button start and a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat are now available for the Premium.

Pros and Cons

  • Competent on- and off-road handling
  • Comfortable and refined ride quality
  • Attractive, adventurous exterior design
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Competitive gas mileage estimates
  • Underpowered four-cylinder engine
  • Frustrating CVT automatic
  • Below-average trunk capacity

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
2.0-liter Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$22,145
Premium
2.0-liter Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$23,195
Limited
2.0-liter Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$27,395

Subaru Crosstrek Exterior

Many crossovers carry a very generic aesthetic but Subaru did a great job of making the Crosstrek look attractive while keeping the sleek and sophisticated urban visual along with the rugged outdoorsy demeanor. It's defined by its sleek hood, black wheel arch cladding, raised roof rails, and rear-mounted roof spoiler. The base and Premium Crosstrek features multi-reflector halogen headlights with integrated daytime running lights, and rides atop 17-inch alloy wheels. Halogen foglights are fitted to the Premium model but only the Limited features an all-LED lighting complement, including steering responsive LED headlights. 18-inch alloy wheels better befit the wheel arches of the top-spec trim.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Side View Subaru
2020 Subaru Crosstrek Three Quarter Rear Left Side View Subaru
2020 Subaru Crosstrek Side View 1 Subaru
See All 2020 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior Photos

Dimensions

At a length of 175.8 inches, height of 63.6 inches, and width of 71 inches, the Subaru Crosstrek is a little larger than the average compact hatchback - because it is basically a hatch with beefed-up arches and lifted suspension. For an idea, the Honda HR-V spans only 170.4 inches in length, 63.2 inches in height, and 69.8 inches in width. The Crosstreks wheelbase of 104.9 inches is even longer than the HR-V's 102.8 inches. All this extra size also means the Crosstrek is a little on the heavier side with curb weights ranging from 3,117 pounds with the base model to 3,263 lbs with the top-spec model and the CVT gearbox. Beneficial to the Crosstrek's off-road appeal is its 8.7-inch running ground clearance.

  • Length 175.8 in
  • Wheelbase 104.9 in
  • Height 63.6 in
  • Max Width 71.0 in
  • Front Width 61.0 in
  • Rear Width 61.2 in

Exterior Colors

There are a total of eight cost-inclusive exterior paint colors available for all three Subaru Crosstrek models. Some of the more typical hues include Crystal White Pearl, Crystal Black Silica, and Magnetite Gray Metallic. The more interesting hues include Ice Silver Metallic, Cool-Gray Khaki, Quartz Blue Pearl, Sunshine Orange, and Pure Red. We'd go for either the Cool-Gray Khaki, Sunshine Orange, or Pure Red, or even the Crystal White Pearl for how it accentuates and complements the Crosstreks black exterior accents.

  • Crystal Black Silica
  • Cool Gray Khaki
  • Ice Silver Metallic
  • Magnetite Gray Metallic
  • Pure Red
  • Sunshine Orange
  • Crystal White Pearl
  • Quartz Blue Pearl

Subaru Crosstrek Performance

The newest Subaru Crosstreks underpinnings are fundamentally based on the Impreza hatchback, but as an SUV, has a little more to prove in terms of performance. The 2.0-liter flat-four is significantly underpowered, and the Crosstrek is a relatively heavy car, so forget about hitting top speed easily. The engine's outputs of 152 hp and 145 lb-ft are enough to propel the Crosstrek with the six-speed manual from 0 to 60 mph in a slow-going nine seconds. The Crosstrek is even slower with the CVT automatic optioned in, stretching that 0-60 mph time to around 9.3 seconds. Both the Honda HR-V and the Mazda CX-30 are a lot faster off-the-line. The Crosstrek is advantaged by its permanent all-wheel-drive, however, as rivals are typically equipped with a front-wheel-drive system as standard. The Crosstrek is afforded a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 pounds, which is considered average for the class.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Three Quarter Front Left Side View In Motion Subaru
2020 Subaru Crosstrek Three Quarter Rear Right Side View In Motion Subaru
2020 Subaru Crosstrek Engine Subaru

Engine and Transmission

A two-liter flat-four Boxer engine whines raucously beneath the hood of every Crosstrek model, and unfortunately, it's nothing to write home about with how much it puts out - a meager 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque that doesn't feel particularly up to the task of powering the AWD crossover. The Crosstrek would benefit greatly from a small capacity turbocharged mill that would liven up its torque yields and have it deliver a more enthusiastic performance overall. While the six-speed manual gearbox, which is standard in the base model and Premium, delivers polished responses overall, it's nothing special and feels more suited to the urban environment rather than on the trails. A CVT automatic is standard fare in the Limited and optional for the lower trims, but it's a terrible configuration, delivering unintuitive and sluggish responses, a result of the engines' lack of torque.

It does feature an X-Mode drive setting, however, which improves control over slippery surfaces by mimicking a low-range gearbox for better offroad capability. The manual gearbox is certainly the better option of the two; some shoppers will, however, find disappointment in the fact that it's not available for the range-topping Limited. The Crosstrek's powertrain, barring its permanent AWD setup, is rather disappointing overall.

  • Engine
    2.0-liter Flat 4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Manual, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Despite its rather mediocre powertrain, the Subaru Crosstrek still exhibits some more than average aptitude in its ride quality and handling dynamics. Its standard suspension setup is tuned firmly, but not so as to deliver a harsh ride. It keeps the ride consistently composed and absorbs most larger road imperfections and undulations with ease. Thanks to its well-weighted steering and composed ride, it also feels sure-footed and firmly planted through the corners, plus, despite its relatively tall ride height, exhibits minimal body lean in the turns. Overall, its ride and handling can be likened to that of the Impreza hatchback; the Crosstrek feels like a car, quite easy and balanced.

It's on the offroad trails where the Crosstrek truly impresses, however. Subaru's AWD systems are renowned, and the Crosstrek's does an excellent job of maintaining confident levels of grip regardless of the surface conditions. Ultimately, Subaru did an exceptional job balancing the Crosstrek's urban-centric ride quality with its semi-off-road capability.

Crosstrek Gas Mileage

The Subaru Crosstrek is a competitively fuel-efficient vehicle considering it's equipped with a permanent all-wheel-drive as standard. With the base-spec six-speed manual gearbox in play, the EPA estimates gas mileage returns of 22/29/25 mpg city/highway/combined. With the CVT automatic, those figures will rise to a more impressive 27/33/30 mpg on those same cycles. With its 16.6-gallon gas tank filled to the brim, the Crosstrek can cruise onward for a distance of around 415 miles with the manual gearbox, or around 498 miles with the CVT automatic.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.6 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/29 mpg
* 2020 Subaru Crosstrek Base Manual AWD

Subaru Crosstrek Interior

Despite Subaru utilizing improved soft-touch plastics on key touchpoints and accented stitching on the seats in higher-tier models, the Crosstrek's cabin still exhibits a clear preference for functionality and durability over aesthetics. The overall build quality is great and everything seems optimized for avid adventuring or occasional rugged cargo hauling. Everything is laid-out ergonomically and the driver's controls, infotainment system setup, and A/C settings are all easy to gauge and manipulate. Passenger room is abundant throughout the Crosstrek's cabin and the seats offer ample comfort and support. Though the base 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen may be relatively small, the STARLINK software is user-friendly at least.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Rear Passenger Seats Subaru
2020 Subaru Crosstrek Driver Seat Subaru
2020 Subaru Crosstrek Central Console Subaru
See All 2020 Subaru Crosstrek Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

A total of five passengers will easily fit into the cabin of the Crosstrek. The front seats are really comfortable and feature plenty of bolstering for support through the bends. The driver is positioned with excellent outward visibility and in ergonomic reach of the controls, the seat features six-way manual-adjustability, making it easy enough for the driver to find an optimal seating position. The rear seats are equally as comfortable and are spacious enough for even three small adults, head- and legroom are abundant up front, even with the optional power tilt/sliding moonroof equipped, though headroom in the rear could be better. The Crosstrek's large doors and high step-in height allow for effortless ingress and egress.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 43.1 in
  • Front Head Room 39.8 in
  • Rear Leg Room 36.5 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.0 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Within the cabin of every Crosstrek model are faux carbon-fiber door accents and dark silver dash and door panel trim, while the base model gets a polyurethane-wrapped steering wheel, the Premium and Limited feature a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. The seats in the base model are upholstered in a basic cloth upholstery that's available in either black or a combination of black and gray, but is limited by exterior color paint choices. Basic cloth seating upholstery is also standard in the Premium also available in either black or black and gray but is brought together with orange accented stitching, which is also featured in the dash and door panels - again, upholstery is dependent on which hue you've chosen for the exterior. Seats in the Limited are upholstered in leather, featured in either black or black and gray, the latter availability dependent on the paint job.

Subaru Crosstrek Trunk and Cargo Space

With Crosstrek's underpinnings based on those of a compact hatch, one can imagine that practicality isn't really going to be exceptional. Even so, with 20.8 cubic feet of cargo room available behind the rear seats, the Crosstrek still fares equally in comparison with the competition. The Honda HR-V offers a bit more cargo room with 24.3 cubes offered behind the rear seats, but the Crosstrek tops the Jeep Renegade which offers up only a meager 18.5 cubes. The Crosstrek's 20.8 cubes are enough to contain a couple of hiking backpacks and a small cooler box. Folding down the rear seats expands cargo room to an impressive 55.3 cubic feet, opening up enough room to lay down a mountain bike.

Within the cabin, there's an illuminated lockable glovebox, center console cubby, and small-item storage bin for loose items or your trail mix. All four doors feature sizable pockets capable of holding bottles, there are two cupholders up front and another two in the center rear seat backrest.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Driver And Passengers Seats Subaru
2020 Subaru Crosstrek Three Quarter Rear Left Side View 1 Subaru
2020 Subaru Crosstrek Right Side View Subaru

Crosstrek Infotainment and Features

Features

Specification levels for the Crosstrek aren't too expansive, but the selection itself is suitable nonetheless. In the base Crosstrek, there's a keyless entry system, automatic climate control, and cruise control. The steering wheel is polyurethane-wrapped but it features a tilt-and-telescoping column, the driver's seat is six-way manually-adjustable and the front passenger's seat four-way. The Premium is upgraded with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter and with heated front seats. Only the Limited features a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat and Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and reverse automatic braking. A power tilt/sliding moonroof is available for the Premium and Limited but with the provision of the CVT automatic for the Premium.

Infotainment

While Subaru's STARLINK infotainment software is some of the best in the industry, offering user-friendly interfaces and high-quality images and audio, the 6.5-inch high-res touchscreen display is relatively small by today's standards with an eight-inch unit being the common setup. The Limited, however, does feature an eight-inch touchscreen, so the option is at least offered. A rudimentary four-speaker sound system is standard in the base model, with the Premium and Limited getting an extra two for an improved experience. All models feature an AM/FM stereo and feature inclusive functionality in both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as in Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free phone connectivity. From the Premium, there's a CD player, SiriusXM satellite radio connectivity, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability, the Limited also gets HD radio connectivity. Navigation and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system are available for the Limited.

Subaru Crosstrek Problems and Reliability

No recalls have been recorded for the 2020 Crosstrek in the US as yet, but the 2019 Crosstrek fell subject to four major recalls. Issues included the loss of the electric power steering assist system in some models, improperly tempered window glass, malfunctioning ECM software that would potentially cause a stall, and an improperly secured PCV valve. Fortunately, J.D. Power gives the 2020 Crosstrek a Great Quality and Reliability rating of 77/100. Subaru also covers the Crosstrek with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

Subaru Crosstrek Safety Ratings

Safety ratings for the Subaru Crosstrek SUV are excellent from the IIHS; after review of the Subaru Crosstrek, the IIHS awarded it with a 2020 Top Safety Pick allocation for its top scores of Good in six specified crash tests. The NHTSA also reviewed the Subaru Crosstrek and availed it with a five-star overall safety rating.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

Subaru has established a solid reputation for safety and has carried that penchant for preservation into the Crosstrek lineup well, as echoed in the Subaru Crosstreks safety ratings. Every model comes equipped with seven advanced airbags including a driver's side knee airbag. These complement the standard-fit rearview camera and inclusive cruise control functionality. Along with Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, which includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure, sway warning, and lane keep assist, the Limited also comes standard with blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and with reverse automatic braking, all of which are available for the mid-spec Premium model.

Verdict: 🏁Is the New 2020 Subaru Crosstrek a good SUV?

The Crosstrek is an odd breed. If you want a compact SUV from Subaru, the Forester more than fills the void, so the Impreza-based Crosstrek, with a small trunk and cramped interior, seems a little out of place. But when put to the test, it's more than just a lifted hatchback, and it's a genuinely capable off-roader and a comfortable on-road cruiser. Small dimensions mean it's nimble around parking lots, and the high level of safety features means it's ideal for families. Ultimately, the Crosstrek will have a very specific buyer, though, and if you're after a traditional SUV, this won't quite cut the mustard. But if you're an avid adventurer that spends equal amounts of time in urban and extra-urban situations, the Crosstrek is highly capable at handling both, and that ruggedness is a winning point in our eyes.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek?

Subaru prices the Crosstrek lineup on par with other compact crossovers in the class. The base-spec model comes in at a base price of $22,145, that's excluding any tax, registration, or licensing fees as well as Subaru's destination and handling charge of $1,010. The Premium Subaru Crosstrek carries a price tag of $23,195; it'll cost an additional $1,350 to option either the base model or the Premium with the optional Lineartronic CVT. At the pinnacle of the range is the Limited at a sticker price of $27,395.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Models

Three models make up the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek lineup, the base-spec Crosstrek, mid-spec Premium, and top-spec Limited. Every model's all-wheel drive is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine with a six-speed manual gearbox servicing the base and Premium models, and a CVT automatic servicing the Limited.

The base model is outfitted with multi-reflector halogen headlights with DRLs and rides atop 17-inch alloy wheels. It features a keyless entry system, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering column, manually-adjustable front seats, cloth seating upholstery, single-zone automatic climate control, and cruise control. A 6.5-inch touchscreen, AM/FM stereo, and four-speaker sound system cover infotainment with functionality in both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Auto on/off headlight functionality and fog lights come built into the Premium which also features a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, heated front seats, and cloth seating upholstery with orange stitching. Its infotainment setup is upgraded with a CD player, a six-speaker sound system, and with SiriusXM All-Access radio and 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability.

On the Limited, there are steering responsive LED headlights with high beam assist technology, and 18-inch alloy wheels. Standard features include a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, leather-trimmed seating upholstery, and Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist Technology plus blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and reverse automatic braking. An eight-inch touchscreen with HD Radio connectivity takes over infotainment.

See All 2020 Subaru Crosstrek Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Unfortunately, there aren't many optional packages available to the Crosstrek lineup, and no comprehensive packages can be added onto the base model. But there are a few options available to the other trims.

In order to equip the Premium with the $1,695 Optional Package that contains keyless access with push-button start, a power tilt/sliding moonroof, and a blind spot detection system with rear cross-traffic alert, the optional CVT automatic will first have to be optioned in at $1,350. This will also allow access to another 'Optional Package' that contains all of the aforementioned features plus a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat at a cost of $1,995.

A power tilt/sliding moonroof is optional for the Crosstrek Limited as a standalone option at an additional charge of $1,000. There is also a $2,395 package that bundles the power tilt/sliding moonroof with a Navigation system for the Multimedia setup and with an eight-speaker Harmon Kardon premium surround-sound audio system. A Rockford Fosgate audio upgrade is otherwise available as a standalone option for $573.

🚗What 2020 Subaru Crosstrek Model Should I Buy?

With the Premium Subaru Crosstrek costing only $1,000 more than the base-spec model and with extended availability to a couple of optional packages, albeit with the provision of the optional CVT, we believe it's the ideal Crosstrek worth paying for. The leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter and orange accented stitching that it features altogether vastly improve the overall cabin impression, aesthetically and in its quality. The heated front seats, six-speaker sound system, and the addition of SiriusXM All-Access radio and 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability are great upgrades too. Unlike the base model, the Premium also gets access to the Optional Package containing features such as a power tilt/sliding moonroof, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and a selection of advanced driver-assist technologies.

Check out other Subaru Crosstrek Styles

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Comparisons

Subaru Outback Subaru
Subaru Forester Subaru
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Subaru Crosstrek152 hp22/29 mpg$22,145
Subaru Outback 182 hp26/33 mpg$26,645
Subaru Forester 182 hp26/33 mpg$24,495

2020 Subaru Crosstrek vs Subaru Outback

Another one of Subaru's well-balanced offerings, the Outback, is a larger off-road wagon. It comes equipped with a more powerful base engine and with the option of an even more powerful turbocharged four-banger, both of which make the Outback the better option in terms of outright performance and both are also reasonably fuel-efficient. As the larger vehicle, the Outback also offers more passenger room, way more cargo room, with 32.5 cu-ft. behind the rear seats, and a whole lot more capability with a max towing capacity of 2,700 lbs. The Outback is the more polished Subaru here, featuring a better powertrain overall, greater practicality, and a selection of more luxurious features and technologies. Subsequently, it is the more expensive vehicle, but one that is well worth the extra money, especially considering its more powerful engine options.

See Subaru Outback Review

2020 Subaru Crosstrek vs Subaru Forester

The Forester is Subaru's bona fide compact SUV and is priced only a little higher than the Crosstrek with the base model carrying an MSRP of $24,495. It features a more powerful 182-hp 2.5-liter engine, which, while beneficial to acceleration and being pretty much as fuel-efficient as the Crosstrek's mill, doesn't do much to improve capability, as the Forester's maximum towing capacity equals the Crosstreks at 1,500 lbs. The Forester is a lot more spacious, however, it accommodates passengers with more room overall and offers up 31.5 cu-ft of cargo room behind the rear seats. Apart from those differences, the two Subaru's are otherwise very similar in every other regard, from the cabin design to the standard features list. Ultimately, the Crosstrek would be the better option for those who'd appreciate its nimble car-like driving dynamics, while the Forester would be better for those who want the extra passenger room and practicality.

See Subaru Forester Review

Subaru Crosstrek Popular Comparisons

See All 30 Comparisons

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Video Reviews

Check out some informative Subaru Crosstrek video reviews below.

52
Photos
$22,145 - $27,395
Price Range (MSRP)
Subaru Crosstrek