$18,717 - $21,861

2016 Subaru Crosstrek Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Subaru Crosstrek was new.


Performance: 7.3

The 2016 Subaru Crosstrek has a weak engine, according to test drivers, and its optional automatic transmission is noisy during hard acceleration. Fuel economy is excellent, however, and critics think the Crosstrek has confidence-inspiring handling, especially in difficult road conditions.

  • "Since power goes to all four wheels, there's a stability to the Crosstrek rivaling the Swiss currency. Admittedly, the engine never taxes it, but the chassis has a talent that can deal with canyon roads and dirt tracks. It's controlled, composed and fairly comfortable." -- AutoTrader
  • "Aside from the tough-looking visual elements and suspension changes, the Crosstrek is virtually identical to the Impreza. That means it features responsive handling that belies its SUV pretensions, along with a fuel-thrifty 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder." -- Left Lane News
  • "But the XV is a solid, all-wheel-drive utility knife with a smooth, satisfying ride - just like most Subarus." -- Autoblog (2013)

Acceleration and Power

All 2016 Subaru Crosstreks come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), a type of automatic, is available. The Crosstrek gets an EPA-estimated 26/34 mpg city/highway when equipped with the CVT, which is very good for the class, especially considering it has all-wheel drive.

Test drivers are disappointed with the Crosstrek’s engine, saying it lacks power and provides sluggish acceleration. A few critics think the CVT works smoothly, but others say it is very noisy.

  • "If the Crosstrek could use improvement in one area, it's under the hood. The 148-horsepower 2.0-liter boxer engine just isn't big on power. Although a 5-speed manual is available, most Crosstreks will go out the door with Subaru's CVT automatic, which is one of the best CVTs on the market. Unfortunately, to gain maximum power from the engine the Crosstrek's CVT holds rpm high, resulting in a lot of in-cabin engine noise." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "For the Edmunds 'B' rated non-hybrid Crosstrek, the problems start with the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Power is underwhelming, and the continuously variable transmission (CVT) makes matters worse with its hair-trigger responses and propensity to keep the engine droning loudly during acceleration. In Edmunds testing, we found the Crosstrek to be one of the slowest vehicles in its class. With a full load of camping gear and companions, it's bound to be even less inspiring." -- Edmunds
  • "Mention the letters CVT to a driving enthusiast and expect a tirade about slow responses and drivetrain drone. Put the same enthusiast in the business seat of a Crosstrek and watch them eat those words. There is no advantage to having the manual transmission. Even if there's an itch to select the occasional gear, this setup includes steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles for clicking through six preprogrammed virtual ratios." -- AutoTrader
  • "As in the new Impreza, the XV's flat-four is a letdown. With only 148 horses, acceleration is tepid." -- Car and Driver (2013)

Handling and Braking 

The 2016 Crosstrek comes standard with all-wheel drive. Due in part to its low center of gravity and all-wheel drive, reviewers say the Crosstrek drives with control and precision. They note it handles tricky road conditions with ease and feels nimble during regular driving. Critics mention that the Crosstrek has a high ground clearance, which helps off-road driving but on pavement allows for some body lean when cornering. They say the steering feels precise and the brakes are strong.

  • "Because of the flat 4-cylinder engine, the Crosstrek's center of gravity is the best in its class. A low center of gravity helps the feeling of stability and brings a liveliness to the ride." -- AutoTrader
  • "Dynamically, the Crosstrek feels confident and composed on slippery roads, where its standard all-wheel drive and stability control systems make its reactions very predictable. The Crosstrek's extra ground clearance also helps it glide along snowy streets and dirt trails. While we wouldn't call it sporty, the Crosstrek can be pretty fun on dry pavement, too, thanks to a nicely tuned suspension. The cabin remains surprisingly well isolated from wind and tire noise on the highway." -- Edmunds
  • The Crosstrek's taller ride height and softer springs allow more body lean in curves, however, but also do a better job at soaking up bumps and off-road ruts. The Crosstrek's electric-assist power steering is responsive to input, but still feels a bit numb when compared to conventional hydraulic systems." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The brakes even took a steep mountain descent without showing signs of fade. Aside from the minimal feedback through the electrically assisted steering, the XV’s chassis is well tuned, and its ride quality falls on the firmer side." -- Car and Driver (2013)
  • "XV Crosstrek feels agile and handles confidently in corners. The steering is accurate and nicely weighted." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

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