2021 Subaru Crosstrek

2021 Subaru Crosstrek First Look Review: More Power And Style

by Jay Traugott

The second-generation Subaru Crosstrek compact crossover was released in 2018 and this time it's built on the Japanese automaker's new global platform which also underpins the equally popular Subaru Forester and Outback. Overall exterior styling wasn't dramatically different than before though the interior received some much-needed design improvements. Under the hood, however, is the one area where Subaru might have made a mistake. The only engine offered, a 2.0-liter boxer-four, just wasn't powerful enough. Subaru customers, who are among the industry's most loyal, made their complaints known. To the company's full credit, it listened.

Enter the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, the newly facelifted model that now boasts improved exterior styling, a few interior upgrades and, most importantly, a more powerful engine. Because it's been on the market for a couple of years, Subaru has also fine-tuned the Crosstrek in numerous other ways to help keep it competitive until its eventual redesigned successor arrives.

Is the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek a good SUV?

  • Exterior Design 7 /10
  • Performance 8 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 8 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 9 /10
8.4
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2021 Subaru Crosstrek Models

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
2.0-liter Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Other
$22,245
Premium
2.0-liter Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Other
$23,295
Sport
2.5-liter Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Other
$26,495
Limited
2.5-liter Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Other
$27,995

See all Trims and Specs

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Front Angle View Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Side View Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Front-End View Subaru

Familiar Though More Stylish Exterior

The 2021 Crosstrek is instantly recognizable despite some nice exterior styling enhancements. Regardless of trim level, all Crosstreks receive a redesigned front bumper and new trim-specific grille designs. The new Sport trim, however, adds a greater dose of attitude thanks to wheel arch moldings, 17-inch dark grey alloy wheels, and a gunmetal-colored grille.

A total of seven exterior colors are available, including two new choices: Plasma Yellow Pearl and Horizon Blue Pearl (both pictured here).

Regardless of trim, all 2021 Crosstreks come standard with 17-inch wheels (18-inchers are standard on the Limited) in black or machined finish, roof rails, black side cladding, and a rear roof spoiler. There's a total of 8.7 inches of ground clearance that's an ideal height for both on- and off-road activities.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Front View Driving Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Wheel Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Headlights Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Rear Bumper Subaru

Sportier And More Premium Interior

While the general dashboard and console layout remains unchanged from last year, the new Sport trim has some unique elements. In addition to all of the Premium interior's content, Sport tacks on the StarTex lightweight upholstery with yellow stitching, and a leather-covered steering wheel and gear shifter.

All trims come standard with a 6.5-inch Multimedia touchscreen system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, USB ports, automatic climate control, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and keyless entry. If you're willing to spend more, higher trims can be equipped with a push-button start, moonroof, retractable cargo cover, cargo tray, and a power driver's seat.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Dashboard Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Steering Wheel Details Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Infotainment System Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Front Seats Subaru

A New Engine And Added Safety

The most important addition for 2021 is the optional 2.5-liter boxer-four engine with a total of 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, available in only Sport and Premium trims. This is the same engine used in the larger Forester and Outback. The standard engine remains the 2.0-liter boxer-four totaling 152 hp and 145 lb-ft. Both come paired to a CVT which sends power to a permanent all-wheel-drive system. Base models can be had with a six-speed manual gearbox, though fuel economy suffers over that of CVT models.

Fortunately, the new engine not only offers more power but also nearly identical fuel economy as the 2.0. The 2.5 is rated at 27/34/29 mpg city/highway/combined while the 2.0 returns 28/33/30 mpg. The 2.0-six-speed combo returns 22/29/25 mpg.

Standard safety includes the Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist Technology for all CVT-equipped models. This safety suite includes lane departure warning, pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, auto start-stop, and adaptive cruiser control with lane centering, among other features. Top-of-the-line Limited models have standard LED Steering Responsive Headlights with automatic height adjustment, and LED daytime running lights. The Crosstrek remains an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick+, a distinction it's had for the past six years.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Frontal Aspect Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Rear View Driving Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Lateral View Subaru

Pricing And Competition

As in previous years, the Subaru Crosstrek's main rivals are the Jeep Compass, Mazda CX-3 and CX-30, and slightly larger offerings like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. However, the latter two are more directly aligned with the Crosstrek's bigger sibling, the Forester. In many ways, the Crosstrek is a standout in the compact crossover segment because of its highly advanced permanent all-wheel-drive system whereas many of its rivals come standard with front-wheel-drive. Engineering for AWD from the get-go makes a significant difference.

As of this writing, Subaru has not released official pricing for the 2021 Crosstrek but we don't expect it to be dramatically different than last year.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Side Angle Driving Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Side Perspective Driving Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Instrument Board Subaru
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Side View Driving Subaru

Check other Subaru Crosstrek Styles

Subaru Crosstrek Popular Comparisons

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18
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$22,245 - $27,995
Price Range (MSRP)
Subaru Crosstrek