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2020 Subaru Crosstrek Review

The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek places in the top half of our subcompact SUV rankings. It has a nice interior and a comfortable ride, but its uninspiring powertrain holds it back.

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable ride
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Well-built cabin
  • Good cargo capacity
  • Underpowered engine
  • Lacks the agility of rivals

New for 2020

  • Engines in CVT models now come with a stop-start function
  • Automatic climate control now standard

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek's #6 ranking is based on its score within the Subcompact SUVs category. Currently the Subaru Crosstrek has a score of 7.7 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 32 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 6.6
Interior: 7.3
Safety: 9.5
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Subaru Crosstrek a Good SUV?

Yes, the Subaru Crosstrek is a good SUV. It delivers a smooth ride and provides plenty of cargo space. It looks good inside, with two rows of spacious seats and some user-friendly infotainment features. Don't expect too much athleticism from this small crossover, though. The engine feels weak at times, and there's a lot of body lean when going around turns.

Subaru also offers the Crosstrek Hybrid, which we review separately.

Should I Buy the Subaru Crosstrek?

The Crosstrek makes a good choice for people who want a spacious subcompact SUV and don't care much about performance. Its price tag is reasonable for the class, and this Subaru comes standard with all-wheel drive, a feature that's optional or unavailable in most competitors.

This isn't the only small crossover worth checking out. If you like the Crosstrek, you may be interested in rivals such as the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3.

Compare the Crosstrek, HR-V, and CX-3 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Subaru Crosstrek?

Most shoppers would be better off with a used Crosstrek from the current generation, as there haven’t been many changes since it was redesigned in 2018. You’ll get a very similar vehicle and likely spend less than you would on a new Crosstrek. You’ll spend even less on a Crosstrek from the previous generation, but you’ll miss out on the benefits of the redesign.

The 2018 Crosstrek has more legroom and cargo space than the 2017 model. It also has 4 more horsepower, as well as standard features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which weren't available in the 2017 Crosstrek. The 2019 Crosstrek gained HD Radio, and the Crosstrek Hybrid joined the lineup later in the model year.

For 2020, automatic climate control becomes a standard feature, and Crosstrek models with the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) gain an engine stop-start system to help conserve fuel. CVT-equipped models also now feature a reminder to alert you to check the back seat before leaving the vehicle.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 Crosstrek, 2018 Crosstrek, and 2019 Crosstrek reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Crosstrek »

We Did the Research for You: 23 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This 2020 Crosstrek review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2018.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Subaru Crosstrek Cost?

The Crosstrek carries a base price of $22,145. Most subcompact SUVs start in the $19,000 to $22,000 range, putting this Subaru's price tag just a bit above the class average. Keep in mind that the Crosstrek comes with standard all-wheel drive, which is an extra-cost feature in most rivals. The range-topping Crosstrek Limited starts at $27,395. That's comparable to most competitors' top-trim prices.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

Subaru Crosstrek Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Subaru Crosstrek or Honda HR-V?

The Honda HR-V and the Crosstrek each have some advantages over the other. The HR-V has ample passenger space in both rows, and it's one of the few subcompact SUVs to provide more cargo space than the Crosstrek. This Honda also gets better gas mileage, but its engine is even less powerful than the Subaru’s, and it doesn't have the Crosstrek's off-road ability.

Which Is Better: Subaru Crosstrek or Mazda CX-3?

The Mazda CX-3 is close to the Crosstrek in our rankings. The Mazda is more athletic than the Subaru, with a livelier engine and sportier handling, as well as a nicer interior. On the flip side, the Crosstrek has more passenger and cargo space than the CX-3, and it’s better for venturing beyond the pavement. When equipped with front-wheel drive, the CX-3 gets better fuel economy than the Crosstrek, but an all-wheel-drive comparison gives a slight edge to the Subaru.

Compare the Crosstrek, HR-V, and CX-3 »

Crosstrek Interior

How Many People Does the Crosstrek Seat?

The Crosstrek seats five, and the driver enjoys excellent visibility in all directions. Both rows of seats are comfortable, though some reviewers argue that the front seats don't have enough lumbar support for longer drives. The rear seats provide a solid amount of legroom so adults can ride in the back without issue.

Crosstrek and Child Car Seats

The Crosstrek has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats. There’s also an upper tether for the rear middle seat, which has the ability to borrow a lower anchor from an adjoining seat.

Crosstrek Interior Quality

This Subaru looks good inside, and it features higher-quality materials than you’ll find in some competitors.

Crosstrek Cargo Space

Only a few class rivals have more cargo space than the Crosstrek. The Subaru gives you 20.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, which is enough room for some outdoor gear. You get 55.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

Crosstrek Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include automatic climate control and the Starlink infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and a four-speaker stereo.

Available features include a six-speaker stereo, an eight-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, satellite radio, HD Radio, additional USB ports, a Wi-Fi hot spot, navigation, an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, and a moonroof (CVT models only).

In general, the Crosstrek's infotainment system works well. It comes with a user-friendly touch screen that has crisp graphics and easy-to-navigate menus. Many of the features are great, but a few critics reported some issues connecting their devices using Bluetooth.

Read more about interior »

Crosstrek Performance

Crosstrek Engine: Not Exactly Muscular

The Crosstrek features a 152-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is available.

Many class rivals are more powerful than this Subaru, and they feel more energetic. In high-stress situations like highway passing and merging, the Crosstrek often leaves you wanting more power.

Crosstrek Gas Mileage: Decent but Hardly Impressive

The Crosstrek's fuel economy ratings are pretty typical for the subcompact SUV class – as long as you opt for the CVT. With that setup, this Subaru gets 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Ratings are less rosy with the manual transmission: 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Crosstrek Ride and Handling: Better Ride than Handling

Ride quality is a decided plus for the Crosstrek. It rides smoothly over most road surfaces and absorbs road imperfections with little trouble. Handling is less impressive. Though the steering feels sharp, the Crosstrek leans a lot around turns and generally doesn't feel as agile as many competitors. On the bright side, the Crosstrek can hold its own when the pavement ends thanks to its standard all-wheel drive.

Read more about performance »

Crosstrek Reliability

Is the Subaru Crosstrek Reliable?

The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Subaru Crosstrek Warranty

Subaru covers the Crosstrek with a three-year/36,000-mile warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Crosstrek Safety

Crosstrek Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 Crosstrek an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. The Crosstrek earned five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover evaluations.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2020 Crosstrek.

Crosstrek Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard in the Crosstrek. Available driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure and sway warning, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and reverse automatic braking. Some of these features are part of Subaru's EyeSight suite of active safety technology.

Read more about safety »

Crosstrek Dimensions and Weight

The 2020 Crosstrek is about 14.7 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,117 to 3,263 pounds.

Where Is the Subaru Crosstrek Built?

Subaru builds the 2020 Crosstrek in Japan.

Which Subaru Crosstrek Model Is Right for Me?

The Crosstrek comes in three trims: base, Premium, and Limited. Every model comes with a 152-horsepower four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. The base and Premium trims come standard with a manual transmission, and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is available. The top-level Limited trim comes standard with the CVT.

Features are scarce in the lower trims, so you’ll have to move up the ladder if you want more comfort and convenience tech. The Premium trim comes with a nice list of features that includes heated front seats, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hot spot, and it only costs about $1,000 more than the base trim.

The range-topping Limited also makes a good choice. It offers a few driver assistance and tech features that you can't get in the lower trims.

We review the Crosstrek Hybrid separately.

Subaru Crosstrek

The base Crosstrek starts at $22,145. It comes standard with cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, a rearview camera, and the Starlink infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a USB port, Bluetooth, and a four-speaker stereo. You can add a CVT for $1,350.

Subaru Crosstrek Premium

The Crosstrek Premium has a starting price of $23,195. In addition to the base trim's features, the Premium comes with heated front seats, satellite radio, HD Radio, a six-speaker stereo, additional USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

You can add a CVT for $1,350. In models equipped with the CVT, there are two packages available. One costs $1,600 and adds a moonroof, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. The second package is $1,995. It includes the contents of the previous package and adds a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat.

Subaru Crosstrek Limited

The Crosstrek Limited starts at $27,395. The Limited comes with a CVT, leather upholstery, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, an 8-inch touch screen, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, reverse automatic braking, and the EyeSight suite of driver assistance features.

You can add a moonroof for $1,000. There's also a $2,395 package that includes a moonroof, navigation, and a Harman Kardon audio system.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

See 2020 Subaru Crosstrek specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek is far from an athletic SUV on twisty roads, but it compares favorably to its classmates on most other fronts. The Crosstrek has standard all-wheel drive – a rarity in this class – and a spacious, inviting cabin with plenty of technology. It's easy to see why this Subaru finishes in the top half of the subcompact SUV rankings, and it's a solid choice for small crossover shoppers.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "We've always loved the idea of an off-road-able compact wagon, and Subaru hit the bull's-eye again with the 2018 Crosstrek. If you loved the last one, you'll love this Crosstrek just the same or even more." -- Motor Trend (2018)
  • "Supplying value, quality, safety, capability, utility, advanced technology, and plenty of colorful character, the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is likely to continue delighting the people who have made this model one of the company's best-selling vehicles. And though it faces a new onslaught of competitors, including the upcoming Ford Ecosport, Hyundai Kona, and Kia Stonic, it is also likely to remain a standard-bearer within its segment." -- New York Daily News (2018)
  • "As small SUVs go, this is a pretty good deal for a well-equipped, fun-to-drive, highly useful little machine. The fact that it's painfully slow just isn't important to the hundreds of thousands of buyers who've snapped them up in the past five years. All of the other attributes that have made the Crosstrek so popular have only been improved." -- Cars.com (2018)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: January 30, 2020

Class-Leading Sales: After another class-leading year, the Subaru Crosstrek was the best selling subcompact SUV in 2019. Even though dealerships moved 9.2 percent fewer Crosstreks last year, the small Subaru still outsold its closest competitors, the Kia Soul and Chevy Trax, by over 10 percent.

Research more buying advice »
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