2021 Subaru Crosstrek Limited
Class: Compact Crossover
Miles driven: 184
Fuel used: 6.2 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 29.7 mpg
|CG Report Card
|Room and Comfort
|Power and Performance
|Fit and Finish
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
|Big & Tall Comfort
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 27/34/29 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Regular gas
Base price: $27,995 (not including $1050 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Moonroof + Navigation + Harman Kardon amp and speakers ($2395)
Price as tested: $31,440
The great: New-for-2021 2.5-liter engine provides welcome boost in horsepower; Crosstrek delivers all-weather/off-road capability with a more car-like feel than other compact crossovers
The good: Nicely finished interior in top-line trim; nicely designed infotainment system; generous list of available technology features
The not so good: Cargo volume isn’t as good as in most compact-SUV rivals
Automotive improvement is where you find it, and in certain 2021 Subaru Crosstreks you’ll find it under the hood. It comes in the form of a new and more powerful 4-cylinder engine standard in Limited and all-new Sport models.
Consumer Guide editors sampled the 2.5-liter powerplant in a nicely turned-out Limited optioned to $31,440 from a starting price of $29,045 with delivery. This engine—rendered in Subaru’s beloved opposed-cylinder “boxer” format—is tuned to deliver 182 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 176 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm. Those are substantial gains of 30 ponies and 31 lb-ft over the 2.0-liter four that formerly powered the top-line Crosstrek (and remains standard in base and Premium models).
It is added power that is clearly felt. When CG last tried a Crosstrek with the 2.0 engine (in a 2018 Limited), the compact crossover was sluggish down low. With the bigger powerplant, torque reaches its peak a little further up the tachometer, but there is so much more of it to begin with that the Crosstrek is more eager off the line. The extra oats make for easy highway cruising and confident passing power. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) that is the only companion to the 2.5 makes the engine work its way up to speed, but it does come with steering-wheel paddle shifters that simulate an 8-speed gearbox for drivers who wish to take advantage of it. (A genuine 6-speed manual is still standard with the 2.0-liter engine, stickshift fans will be glad to know.)
Aggregate fuel mileage for CG’s test worked out to 29.7 mpg, with 60 percent of miles covered in city-style driving. That’s a little better than the EPA estimates. The feds peg the 2.5 at 27 mpg in city driving, 34 mpg on the highway, and 29 combined.
Aside from the arrival of the Sport model—which features more of an off-roader look outside, a yellow-accented interior with water-repellant upholstery, and dual-function “X-Mode” AWD control with an added “Deep Snow/Mud” setting—there are a few general changes for ’21 Crosstreks. Appearances have been updated with changes to the front bumper cover and grille, new wheel designs for all models, and two new paint colors—Plasma Yellow Pearl and the Horizon Blue Pearl that was on CG’s test vehicle. Of a more-functional nature, the EyeSight suite of electronic safety assists (pre-collision braking and throttle management; lane-departure and sway warnings) standard with CVT-equipped cars adds adaptive cruise and lane centering.
An option package that lumped a moonroof, navigation, and upgraded Harman Kardon audio together made the test a little nicer than the Limited already is. Other amenities include steering-responsive self-dimming LED headlights; blind-spot detection; lane-change assist; rear cross-traffic alert; reverse automatic braking; turn signals integrated into the exterior power mirrors; keyless access and starting; orange-stitched leather upholstery and leather-wrapped steering wheel; heated front seats; 6-way power driver’s seat; automatic climate control; LED fog lights; welcome lighting; 18-inch alloy wheels; Wi-Fi hotspot; and STARLINK multimedia system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone compatibility, connected services, and satellite radio. However, wireless charging is a notable no-show.
The Limited interior displays lots of soft surfaces. Controls are vibrant and easy to use. Audio is simple to program and access on the 8-inch touchscreen. The climate-control system with three external dials is simplicity itself. A 4.2-inch vehicle-information display in the center of the instrument cluster shows up well and is easily configured via buttons on the steering wheel.
Ride is generally well composed and comfortable, and steering is commendably responsive. Head- and legroom are fine in front. For a compact, rear legroom isn’t bad. Most adults—but no more than two at a time—will find sufficient rear headroom. Cargo space doesn’t seem as abundant as in some small SUVs, and liftover to clear the rear bumper is a little high. The 60/40-split rear seats fold flat and very nearly even with the cargo floor.
The current-generation Subaru Crosstrek Limited was a likeable light SUV to start with. Giving it 19.7 percent more power just makes it that much better.
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Limited Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)