One of Geneva's subtlest debuts could end up being the show's best-seller.
We had conservative hopes for the new Crosstrek when Subaru announced that it would debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. All we asked was that it look less dorky. Well, Geneva is here and so is the new Crosstrek. It still looks dorky. That’s the bad news. The good news is that major changes were made underneath the body work, changes which should greatly impact how the jacked-up Impreza five-door handles. The 2018 Crosstrek rides on the Subaru Global Platform (SGP) which will greatly enhance the crossover’s drivability.
The switch to SGP brings enhanced rigidity and strength to both the body and chassis. Subaru says body roll is down an impressive 50% and torsional rigidity is up 70% when compared to the current Crosstrek. The newly added active torque vectoring system further enhances handling. For those who want to go off-road (as in on unpaved roads) there’s the new X-MODE which calibrates the traction control and all-wheel drive systems for peak performance on slippery surfaces. Under the hood is an updated version of the 2.0-liter boxer engine, now with direct injection. It's the same one found in the 2017 Impreza. Power is up slightly from 148 horsepower to 152 horsepower. The only available transmission is a CVT with seven simulated gears to blow through.
On the safety and technology front it sounds as if EyeSight, Subaru’s suite of driver assistance aids, is becoming standard. Don’t quote us on that, though, as the press release was confusingly worded. What wasn’t confusing is the fact that a larger infotainment touchscreen will be on offer; the old model maxed out at 7.0 inches whereas the 2018 Crosstrek will offer an 8.0-inch screen. Ride height is unchanged which means the new crossover will still offer an impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance. When it comes to the exterior the changes are barely noticeable unless you line up the old Crosstrek and the new side by side. The front end features a new design with the most noticeable updates being the grille and headlights.
The roofline is less rounded and more tapered. Those tail lights look nicer too. Other than that there’s not much else new from an aesthetic point of view. Subaru has wisely decided not to drastically mess with the formula for the Crosstrek. It was the automaker’s third best-selling model in 2016 with 95,677 units moved. As we learned firsthand it's an above-average crossover that's also a bit of a discount. Enhanced drivability and standard features should only help sales grow in 2017. Pricing was not announced, but we should know more by the time the New York Auto Show rolls around in April.