2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited with EyeSight

 

Confidence in Motion, redesigned for the growing legion of Treakkies

Words by: Adam Allen

 

So, this Impreza based Subaru waganoid/crossover thing will boldly go where no man has gone before?

Oh, you thought we meant that kind of treakkie. No, in this case we mean all the folks who count themselves among the Crosstrek faithful either by putting one in their respective driveways or those itching to join the swelling ranks of ownership. The redesigned Crosstrek, now built on the Subaru Global Platform, finds itself in the position as the most sought-after vehicle in the Subaru lineup as of this writing; sales are up a scorching 102 percent over March 2017. And while intergalactic travel is still not part of the Crosstrek’s large bandwidth of capability, it will certainly take you most anyplace your active outdoorsy lifestyle demands with ease, thanks to the 220 millimeters of ground clearance and proven Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

It looks like the Impreza you just had in the Carpages Garage, but with its pant legs rolled up.

The Crosstrek and Impreza are very closely related. They share the same drivetrain, many of the interior bits and even some of the exterior styling details, like the headlights and taillights. The key area that they differ in is their respective chassis distance from terra firma. The Crosstrek offers quite a bit more than the Impreza in the ground clearance department- like said, a healthy 220 millimeters worth- and while the AWD system on the two is identical, you’d be wiser to select the Crosstrek if your weekend activities have you going off the beaten path to find that campsite meant to make your Instagram followers jealous of your incredibly adventurous life.

Safety is a priority for the Crosstrek just as it is for all Subarus.

It’s fast becoming the Japanese Volvo, meaning Subaru is taking safety very seriously. They want you to think of occupant protection and well-being just as much as you think of all-weather capability and dominating the IIHS crash tests is certainly a good place to start. Subaru also has EyeSight, a technology that is meant to stop crashes before they happen, though the use of technologies such as adaptive cruise control, emergency braking and lane departure warnings, among others. The system works great under most circumstances, although you’ll need to scrape off every bit of frost from your windshield on cold mornings for it to work. The interior offers a good deal more comfort than you got in the last Crosstrek which means you’ll be more comfortable and hopefully more in tune with driving. The Starlink infotainment system is first rate and super easy to use, so your eyes won’t spend time flicking back to the touchscreen and will stay focused on the road unfurling in front of the LED headlights.

It’s a clear improvement and much better to drive compared to the outgoing Crosstrek.

The last Crosstrek we drove wasn’t a bad car- but the only thing we can recall presently from that Road Test was that it was a manual, and that we like manuals. The new Subaru Global Platform has done wonders for the Crosstrek, making it much more refined as well as more enjoyable to drive which you notice right away. Its generous ground clearance means that handling suffers a smidge relative to the Impreza it’s based upon yet it never feels nautical, instead feeling planted and controlled in all circumstances. It exhibits exemplary highway manners, tracking straight and true- only steering that is a bit too light for our tastes and a slightly mushy brake pedal call attention to themselves. OK, the engine could use a little polish, not to mention some extra horsepower.

What might go wrong?

Seems a fitting segue from above in addressing the issue of horsepower- or lack thereof- and we griped about the same thing during our recent Impreza Road Test. The Crosstrek exudes a quirky, rugged vibe and we think Subaru missed an opportunity to give it an engine that has a bit more oomph than the standard naturally aspirated 2.0 litre four cylinder. A stronger powerplant would be a joy when coupled to the available manual gearbox, and the Crosstrek would almost certainly enjoy an untapped vein of enthusiast buyers that might not have had the wagon on their radar previously. And while the CVT automatic on our tester is proof that the technology is continuing its march towards mainstream acceptability, we wouldn’t mind if Subaru played with the calibration a bit to make it feel snappier and more alert instead of slurring its way across the tachometer.

Should I buy a Subaru Crosstrek?

Well, yes, you should…we told you that we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend an Impreza and because the two are so closely related it wouldn’t make sense to suggest otherwise where the Crosstrek is concerned. It should be noted that the Crosstrek has an advantage over the Impreza with its lofty ground clearance and X-Mode off-road system which means that it can go places its stablemate cannot. We’d bet the lineups at local Subaru dealerships would snake around the building with folks willing to plunk down a deposit on one with the STi’s engine under the hood…we’ll keep hoping for the power boost in the meantime. For those that will wave their hands dismissively at such a possibility, look how long we had to wait before Subaru finally decided to sell the hottest Impreza WRX here in Canada. It could happen, right?

 

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited with EyeSight- Specifications

  • Body Type: 5-door, 5 passenger wagon
  • Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
  • Engine:  2.0 four cylinder, DOHC, 16 valves
  • Horsepower: 152 @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque (lb-ft.): 145 @ 4,000 rpm
  • Transmission: 7-speed CVT automatic
  • Curb weight: 1,498 kg (3,302 lbs)
  • Observed Fuel consumption: 11.5L/100km (20 mpg)