Some people want a smaller footprint, enough space for two for adventure or anything life throws at them.
So far in 2023, sales for the Subaru Crosstrek sales are almost on par with the Outback and Forester. It is now the second-best selling model in the lineup.
Surprised? I’m not. Let me explain.
While the Outback and Forester offers the space to do anything anywhere, some folks don’t need the space they offer. Some people want a smaller footprint, enough space for two for adventure or anything life throws at them. Therefore, the Subaru Crosstrek is the right vehicle for active lifestyle consumers who live a right-sized life.
Understand that “right-sized” does not mean smaller every time. However, I can infer that the Crosstrek offers a smaller option for those looking for the capability of the Outback and Forester without the massive space.
The sales charts tell a different story. The Subaru Crosstrek is no longer the alternative. It is now the norm.
For 2024, Subaru updated the Crosstrek to meet this increased demand head on. They have done so with aggressive new front and rear clips and the addition of their 11.6-inch Starlink touchscreen. Not to mention the addition of the Wilderness model to the lineup that offers more off-road capability than your run-of-the-mill Crosstrek.
The tester I have been working with could be considered the trim one would buy if they just wanted something that offers plenty of features without breaking the bank. That is the Premium trim in a nutshell – something under $30,000 that has all of the good attributes the Crosstrek offers.
OK, let’s dive deeper into the updated Crosstrek…
First off, the front end is all new with a larger grille area, improved lighting units, and a sharper bumper skin. Out back, a pair of claw-like taillamps give it more personality – as well as aligning itself with the Outback and Forester design-wise. These two exterior updates transform the Crosstrek into something more serious to consider.
This Premium tester is finished off with a set of 17-inch alloy wheels and a set of roof rails. However, the Sapphire Blue Pearl paint job is what makes this particular tester extremely attractive. It gives this Crosstrek an upscale look.
Stepping inside, you will notice the aforementioned 11.6-inch portrait-oriented Starlink-driven infotainment touchscreen. As seen on the Outback and Legacy, this helps to move the bar for the Crosstrek as far as functionality and technological maturity.
The instrumentation binnacle is clean, with an informative digital screen in-between the two analog dials. The steering wheel adds more – and much improved – tactile controls. The shifter is short in throw – for a continuously variable transmission. Overall, the driver gets a good set-up behind the wheel.
The front seats are comfortable. The cloth seats offer great cushioning, alomg with sup[poprtive bolsters. Rear seat room is good, accommodating up to five people inside the Crosstrek without any fatigue. Cargo space starts with a 19.9 cubic feet space behind the split-fold rear seatbacks. Dropping those seatbacks offer up a flat loading floor with up to 54.7 cubic feet.
There are two engines available on the 2024 Crosstrek. My Crosstrek Premium tester has the standard 152-horsepower 2.0-liter “Boxer” four-cylinder engine. This is connected to the aforementioned continuously variable transmission and Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. I was pleasantly surprised how well the Crosstrek scooted. Certainly, the CVT can whirl up, but there are “shift points” that will drop it down to a cruising RPM. There is an X-Mode, which is accessible through on the center stack touchscreen. This is mainly for additional traction, and not primafrily for off-road use.
As far as fuel consumption goes, I observed an average of 29.7 MPG.
Driving the Crosstrek is a mix of fun and comfort. The ride quality is very good, probably helped by the 8.7 inches of ground clearance. The taller ground clearance helped absorb rougher road surfaces and maintain a smooth ride on the highway. Overall, cornering is good with nominal roll and lean, as was overall maneuverability.
The main positive point on the Crosstrek’s ledger is its smaller size. That translates to tighter turns from a responsive steering rack. On-center feel is solid with exacting weight. Brake pedal feel is strong with a solid response to the wheels. Stops were very good in normal and panic situations.
The one thing that points to the Subaru Crosstrek’s popularity is its value. Pricing for the 2024 Crosstrek starts at $24,995. My Premium tester came with a sticker price of $29,685. There are now five Crosstrek trim levels to choose from – including the upcoming Wilderness model. That model features the uprated 2.5-liter Boxer engine, also found on the Sport and Limited models.
Subaru people own vehicles that fit their lifestyles. Their loyalty is among the best in the business. The reason is in the product lineup and how they are being used every day.
All of this points to why the Crosstrek has gained ground in the past few years in sales. This joyful compact crossover earned a strong following of active lifestyle enthusiasts who want their Subaru more concentrated with enough space for activities.
The Premium tester represents a strong value proposition. You get a comfortable all-wheel drive vehicle with a high ground clearance and plenty of equipment for under $30,000. You really can’t beat that these days!
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Subaru of America
All photos by Randy Stern