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Subaru Crosstrek (2023 - )

The Crosstrek replaces the outgoing Subaru XV but it’s anything but a mild make-over with an all-new exterior and interior design.

Starting price:
£36,345

Why we love it:
  • Has ‘proper’ go-anywhere off-road ability
  • Spacious, practical and good all-round visibility
  • Plenty of built-in tech as standard
Where it could be better:
  • Not particularly engaging to drive
  • Some quite cheap-looking interior finishes
  • Day-to-day running costs are not great

Introduction

Subaru Crosstrek

If you are looking at the Subaru Crosstrek and think you may have seen something similar before from the Japanese carmaker, then you would be spot on. That’s because the Crosstrek replaces the outgoing Subaru XV but it’s anything but a mild make-over with an all-new exterior and interior design.

The five-door model is available in two trim levels called Limited and Touring with prices starting from £34,345. Beneath the bonnet is Subaru’s trusted 2.0-litre e-BOXER engine but the main USP for this vehicle is the company’s excellent reputation for developing all-wheel drive technology. That means, this family SUV can go to places many of its competitors would never consider attempting.

We opted for the range-topping Crosstrek Touring for our test drive.

Subaru Crosstrek

The five door Subaru Crosstrek certainly looks stylish from any approach with its frameless hexagonal grille, compact headlights with high beam assist, LED daytime running lights, rear privacy glass, roof rails, black wheel arch and lower body cladding and 18-inch alloy wheels on the Touring model (17-inch on the Crosstrek Limited).

The interior boasts a modern and practical design with leather trimmed seats and steering wheel, along with lots of technology to explore. The main focal point is the 11.6-inch multifunction colour touchscreen and this is the access point to most of the car’s infotainment systems. 

These include setting up the wireless smartphone connections via either Apply CarPlay or Android Auto, a navigation system, DAB radio, six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth and plenty more besides. The icons on the touchscreen are really large which makes life easier when trying to select a function while driving along a bumpy road.

There are numerous controls on the steering wheel for fast access to certain systems, separate controls for the seat heaters, along with a voice assistant to help with simple tasks.

The only downside was the number of quite cheap-looking surfaces within the vehicle. While our test car was relatively new, these could prove prone to scratches over time. That said; any spillages would easily be wiped clean making them quite durable.

On The Road

Subaru Crosstrek

Handling & Performance

Powering the Crosstrek is Subaru’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol Boxer engine and this is matched to a CVT gearbox. It delivers 136PS and 184Nm of torque which translates into a 0-62mph sprint time of 10.8 seconds and top speed of 123mph.

Many potential buyers will be looking towards this vehicle’s off road ability and it boasts a revised Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system that has a faster response time for more agile handling and better control both on the Tarmac and when facing more challenging terrain. 

There is a driver-selectable X-MODE with Hill Descent Control for added grip on slippery slopes and all models feature Start Assist which helps when pulling away on a hill. There are also drive modes called Intelligent and Sport.

In addition, the Touring model gains a manual mode along with steering wheel paddles that allows the driver to control the transmission with eight pre-set ratios. 

On twisting lanes, the Crosstrek is well balanced and can be pushed hard into tighter corners with confidence. There is ample grip, the steering is nicely weighted and it’s beautifully agile in busier traffic with great all-round visibility.

All models get adaptive cruise control, along with a wealth of safety features as standard, including rear vehicle detection, pre-collision braking, front and side assert assist, lane departure prevention, autonomous emergency steering and Isofix child seat anchors.

Subaru Crosstrek

Space & Practicality

The Subaru Crosstrek is a very spacious and practical family car stretching 4,495mm in length, 1,800mm across and 1,600mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,670mm.

Up front, a couple of tall adults can sit comfortably and the powered driver’s seat makes it quick and easy to find a great driving position. The slightly elevated seating and raised ground clearance result in excellent all-round visibility, which is always a plus-point on any family car.

In the back, there is ample room for a trio of youngsters, but anyone taller than six foot will find their hair brushing against the headlining. In addition, the back windows are quite small so passengers may find it a little claustrophobic with not much light flooding in. Leg room, however is generous so a big tick to Subaru on that count.

The boot can accommodate 315 litres of kit, which sadly for a family SUV, is not that big with rival models offering far greater capacities. However, the Crosstrek’s boot limit can be increased further to 922 litres by dropping the 60:40 split-folding rear seats flat to the floor and there is a small storage compartment beneath the boot floor too.

A wide-opening tailgate and low lift-over height makes carrying awkwardly-shaped or heavier items that much easier and, elsewhere throughout the cabin are cup holders, a glovebox, door bins with space to hold a bottle, non-slip trays, a central cubby, along with numerous USB ports.

With its permanent symmetrical all-wheel drive, the Crosstrek can tow a caravan or trailer weighing up to 1,270kg.

Ownership

Subaru Crosstrek

Running Costs

The Subaru Crosstrek line-up is beautifully simple with just two trims to select from. The entry-level Limited model costs £34,345, while the Touring version that we tested was priced at £36,290 and there were no added optional extras to bump up the price any further.

According to official figures, under WLTP testing, the vehicle could deliver a combined 36.7mpg with carbon emissions of 174g/km. Unfortunately that fairly high CO2 figure would result in a whopping first-year Vehicle Excise Duty charge (or road tax as it’s more commonly known) of £1,095, dropping to the standard annual fee of £190 after 12 months.

The Benefit in Kind tax rating for the test car is 37 per cent, so it’s unlikely many fleet drivers will be looking at the Crosstrek as a work’s vehicle.

Verdict

Subaru Crosstrek

It might be worth weighing up the importance of four-wheel drive when considering the Subaru Crosstrek. Yes there are plenty of similarly-styled SUVs out there that boast better driving dynamics and cost less, but they would leave you stranded if faced with tougher terrain. The Crosstrek most definitely wouldn’t.

By Maxine Ashford
May 28, 2024

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