$20,458 - $23,412

2017 Subaru Crosstrek Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Subaru Crosstrek was new.


Performance: 7.3

The Subaru Crosstrek's sole engine is underpowered and struggles to get the subcompact SUV up to highway speeds. The Crosstrek is available with a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission, which functions like an automatic. The CVT produces noisy engine droning at high speeds. The Crosstrek has a composed, comfortable ride overall, and it performs well in harsh weather and off the pavement thanks to its standard all-wheel drive. Fuel economy is average for the class.

  • "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
  • "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 (2016)
  • "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

The Subaru Crosstrek has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a continuously variable transmission (a type of automatic) is optional.

When equipped with the CVT, the EPA estimates that the Crosstrek earns 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. While that’s about average for a subcompact SUV, it's more impressive when you consider that all-wheel drive is standard.

The Crosstrek's underpowered engine isn't strong enough to easily get the Crosstrek moving, so acceleration is sluggish. The CVT makes the most of the engine’s power, but it produces a noisy drone at faster speeds.

  • "If there's one thing we wish for, it's more power. The little 148-horsepower 2.0-liter boxer engine just isn't enough to move the Crosstrek with any urgency, with either the 5-speed manual or the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The CVT does what it can to provide maximum power at full throttle, but at the expense of holding the engine at very noisy high revs." -- 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 (2016)
  • "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 

With its standard all-wheel drive and low center of gravity, the Subaru Crosstrek has a composed and secure ride, even in harsh weather conditions. The Crosstrek's higher ground clearance aids in ride comfort and off-roading, but detracts from its agility around corners. Additionally, the Crosstrek has fairly precise steering and strong brakes.

  • "The Crosstrek rides higher than its sedan and hatchback siblings, giving it more lean in corners, but also making it better at absorbing bumps along with its off-road ability." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2016)
  • "XV Crosstrek feels agile and handles confidently in corners. The steering is accurate and nicely weighted." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

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