2023 Subaru Crosstrek

2023 Subaru Crosstrek
2023 Subaru Crosstrek Rear Angle View
2023 Subaru Crosstrek Dashboard

2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review: All Four Paws Lagging Behind

by Nikesh Kooverjee

The Subaru Crosstrek keeps things simple by offering a naturally aspirated flat-four gas engine in 2.0- and 2.5-liter displacements. All trims employ Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel drive system. Whereas most of the Subaru Crosstrek's competitors such as the Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona, and Kia Seltos are separate model lines, the Crosstrek is very clearly an Impreza hatchback that has been raised, turned into a compact crossover in the process, and given a different name, so its car roots are clear, even though its more obviously crossover rivals are similar in concept. It maintains the Impreza's hatchback proportions and the raised suspension and body cladding mean that the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek's can do the same job as any of these other compact crossovers - while adding genuine all-road ability thanks to its standard AWD on all trims. The Koreans are a lot lighter on fuel and the CX-30's faster and better to drive, so does the Crosstrek provide the perfect middle ground or does it fall between two stools?

Read in this review:

  • 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
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2023 Subaru Crosstrek Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 Crosstrek?

The 2023 Crosstrek sees few changes because an all-new generation model is due in 2024. Celebrating its final year in the market, the second-generation model gets a Special Edition package for the Premium trim. This gives the compact SUV a Desert Khaki paint finish, bespoke 17-inch wheels, dark-gray detailing, and two-tone black and red upholstery.

Pros and Cons

  • Impressive dirt-road capability and plush ride
  • Ample ground clearance
  • Drives like a car, with sharp handling
  • Good interior space
  • All-wheel drive standard across the range
  • Base 2.0L engine is underpowered
  • Drab interior design
  • Infotainment display on the small side
  • Unresponsive CVT

What's the Price of the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek?

Definitely among the more affordable subcompacts out there, the price of the Subaru Crosstrek starts at just $23,645 for the Base model. It's a slight bump up to the Premium at $24,795, while the Sport is quite a bit more expensive at $27,995. Coming in just under $30k, the Limited asks for $29,495. To unlock the green benefits of the Hybrid, you'll have to fork over a hefty $36,845. Adding the CVT to the Base or Premium increases the cost of the Subaru Crosstrek by $1,350. These prices are MSRP and do not include the $1,225 destination charge or any other ancillary fees.

Best Deals on 2023 Subaru Crosstrek

2023 Subaru Crosstrek Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0L Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
2.0L Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
2.0L Flat 4 Plug-in Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Trims and Specs

2023 Subaru Crosstrek Handling And Driving Impressions

Fully independent suspension, sharp steering, and active torque vectoring bless the new Subaru Crosstrek crossover with precise handling, yet the ride remains comfortable, despite its disciplined damping. Symmetrical all-wheel drive and raised ground clearance give it respectable capabilities off the beaten track and although the X-Mode available on the 2.5-liter and PHEV cars boost confidence, it's no off-roader. Where the Crosstrek falls short is in its drivetrain options. The Base and Premium trims use a 2.0L engine with 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, while the 2.5-liter gives the Sport and Limited 182 hp and 176 lb-ft. The Crosstrek gas-electric hybrid generates a combined 148 hp and 149 lb-ft. The gas 2.0-liter can be had with a six-speed manual or CVT, while the 2.5s and Hybrid can only be had with the CVT. All engines are naturally aspirated and while the 2.5 provides adequate performance, the 2.0L feels flat, especially when mated to the CVT.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek A Good SUV?

Acknowledging that this is the final model year of this generation model being sold in the USA, a quick review of the Subaru Crosstrek reveals that it is an adequate crossover but not necessarily a compelling option against the likes of its turbocharged rivals. The drivetrain options are its biggest weakness, as the naturally aspirated powertrains and CVT feel dated and uninspired by modern standards. The list of standard features available to all trims reflects good value in relation to their asking prices with the standard fitment of all-wheel drive across all models being one of the standout inclusions. It's also a versatile crossover that feels at home in urban dwellings and on country roads alike. There is enough interior space too, but the Crosstrek does not come together as a complete package in the same way the class-leading Mazda CX-30 does - a rival that really dates the Crosstrek in terms of performance dynamics and ride/handling. Compared to the Koreans, it's thirsty and you have to opt for the expensive Hybrid to get decent economy.

What 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Model Should I Buy?

Though the manual transmission is more engaging and less clunky than the CVT, it's saddled with the weakest engine and returns the worst fuel economy figures. As such, skip straight over to the Sport trim, which includes a stronger power plant and the more efficient transmission. While it may be considerably more expensive than the Base, it's worth the money. For safety-conscious drivers, we'd suggest the Optional Package, too, for the added driver-assistance features. Altogether, this comes to $30,820, destination included, which we feel is reasonable value.

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