2018 Subuaru Crosstrek Limited, Cool Gray Khaki
2018 Subuaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited in Cool Gray Khaki

2015 Audi Q52018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited

Class: Compact Crossover

Miles driven: 361

Fuel used: 14.3 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 25.2 mpg

Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 27/33/29 (city, highway, combined)

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortC+
Power and PerformanceC
Fit and FinishB
Fuel EconomyB
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 GuyB
Tall GuyB
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.

Base price: $26,295 (not including $915 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: equipment package that includes EyeSight driver-assist technology, reverse automatic braking, high-beam assist, sunroof, navigation system, and Harmon Kardon audio system ($3445)

Price as tested: $30,655

More information about the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek


Quick Hits

The great: Offers off-road/all-weather capability with a more car-like feel than other compact SUVs

The good: Nicely finished interior in top-line trim, well-sorted infotainment system

The not so good: Middling acceleration


John Biel

The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is brimming with “new” right down to its core. The compact crossover sport-utility vehicle is built on a new corporate platform that is a little bigger in terms of wheelbase, overall length, and width than the previous-generation Crosstrek, and it sports updated styling. There’s a tiny bit more power, and some more flexibility from the two available transmissions. Finally, there are added tech features because, well, there always are these days.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek
The Crosstrek is essentially a beefed-up version of Subaru’s compact Impreza hatchback. The SUV-esque features apparent here are the raised ride height, rugged body cladding, and roof rails.

Consumer Guide® got to test the top of the redone line, the 2.0i Limited—other models being the base 2.0i and the step-up 2.0i Premium. The Limited takes such Crosstrek standards like all-wheel drive, 4-wheel disc brakes, a rearview camera, roof rails, active torque vectoring, and “X-Mode” (with hill-descent control), and adds to them steering-responsive LED headlights, blind-spot detection, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, turn signals integrated into the exterior power mirrors, keyless access, push-button starting, orange-stitched leather upholstery, heated front seats, 6-way power driver’s seat, automatic climate control, fog lights, a sound-insulating windshield, welcome lighting, and 18-inch alloy wheels. STARLINK multimedia systems newly include Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, and the Limited comes with STARLINK connected services, satellite radio, and a larger color vehicle-information display in the instrument panel.

Test Drive: 2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport

2018 Crosstrek Cabin
The Crosstrek 2.0i Limited’s interior ambiance offers an appealing mix of sturdy, sporty, and upscale. The orange contrast stitching is a nice touch that adds to the outdoorsy vibe. The large, clear graphics and user-friendly nature of the latest STARLINK multimedia system is another plus.

The Limited starts at $26,295, but CG’s test vehicle added the EyeSight suite of electronic safety technology, moonroof, navigation, and upgraded Harmon Kardon audio in a single package. With the option group and delivery, the bottom line came to $30,655.

As before, a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder “boxer” engine powers the Crosstrek, but now it has direct fuel injection. Horsepower is rated at 152 at 6000 rpm, a pickup of four ponies. Torque holds at 145 lb-ft, but it peaks at 4000 rpm, 200 revs sooner than previous models. The sole drive for Limiteds is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with the availability of 7-speed manual control via steering-wheel shift paddles—a gain of one speed for 2018. (The 6-speed manual standard in the other models also gains a gear for ’18.) Even with the bump in power, the Crosstrek is no ball of fire down low, but it will rise to and maintain efficient cruising speed. EPA fuel-economy ratings with the CVT are 27 mpg in city driving, 33 mpg on the highway, and 29 combined. This driver didn’t do anywhere near those estimates, however, averaging 25.18 mpg from a 269.6-mile test stint that featured 49 percent city-type driving.

2018 Crosstrek Cargo Area
Since the Crosstrek is technically a compact hatchback masquerading as a compact SUV, its passenger and cargo capacity doesn’t quite match “true” compact-crossover rivals. Still, there is good, usable space here: 20.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and 55.3 cu. ft. with the rear seats folded.

Test Drive: 2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Touring

Ride is well composed and comfortable for the most part. There is no untoward pitching or side motion, but then any halfway decent road crack will register, especially with a jolt from the rear axle. Steering is easy and fairly direct, and braking is prompt.

The 1.2-inch wheelbase expansion (to 104.9 inches) permits some added rear-seat legroom. Head- and legroom are fine in front, and rear legroom isn’t bad for a compact vehicle. Rear headroom may be a bit better than it was in prior Crosstreks. The rear seat will sufficiently accommodate three youngsters or two adults. The Limited makes ample use of soft surfaces on the dash and doors, but the tops of the rear doors are covered in hard plastic in contrast to the front doors that have some spongy material there. Driver sightlines are good throughout the cabin.

2018 Crosstrek Wheels
Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are standard on the Crosstrek 2.0i Limited.

Controls are vibrant and easy to use, especially the 3-dial climate-control arrangement. The touchscreen for audio, navigation, and app display in the Limited is the biggest available at eight inches. Audio was simple to program and access. A second smaller window atop the dash reports climate settings and vehicle dynamics. The 4.2-inch vehicle-info display between the tachometer and speedometer dials shows up well and is easy to manage via the control buttons on the steering wheel.

Crosstrek rear cargo space is ample when judged against the trunk in a small car, but it’s not as impressive for a hatchback—and it has receded somewhat with the 2018 model. When additional space is needed, rear seatbacks fold in a 60/40 split. The seats fold flat, but slightly above the level of cargo floor, so attempts at straight-through loading will take some care.

Passenger amenities are consistent with past Crosstreks. The console still has two open cup holders and a modestly sized covered box that houses a USB port and a plug-in for electrical devices. A small open bin is situated under the instrument panel. The glove box is useful when not carrying the owner’s manual. Big map pockets inhabit the front doors, but rear doors just have bottle holders molded in. The armrest that pulls down from the center of the rear seat has twin cup holders. Curiously, only the right-rear passenger can take advantage of a pouch attached to the back of the seat ahead.

The Crosstrek isn’t perfect, but all in all it is an easy-to-use and easy-to-live-with light SUV with some off-road features.

2018 Crosstrek Cool Gray Khaki
Just like its predecessor, the redesigned-for-2018 Subaru Crosstrek should hit the “just-right” button for shoppers who are torn between a compact car and a subcompact or compact SUV.

First Spin: 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Share this: