2018 Subaru Crosstrek

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MSRP: $21,795 - 26,295

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Review

The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek offers excellent versatility, thanks to loads of cargo space, standard all-wheel drive, and excellent ground clearance for tackling unpaved roads. However, its lethargic engine is a drawback, and the SUV finishes in the middle of our rankings.

Pros & Cons

 

  • Exceptional rear-seat space for the class
  • Generous cargo room
  • Quiet and fuel-efficient CVT
  • Athletic handling

 

 

  • Slow to accelerate
  • Terrible gas mileage with manual transmission

 

Is the Subaru Crosstrek a Good SUV?

Subaru made some significant changes to the fully redesigned 2018 Crosstrek. For example, the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) now shifts like a conventional automatic. Also, it produces less noise than the previous generation's CVT. The Crosstrek’s gas mileage is good, but the engine feels sluggish while accelerating.

The 2018 Crosstrek is a part of the subcompact SUV class, but its roomy back seat and sizable cargo hold make it feel like a compact SUV. Also, its fresh styling and quality materials give it an expensive look that belies its prices tag. The Crosstrek also has one of the best combination of quality and value in the class, making it a finalist for our 2018 Best Subcompact SUV for the Money award.

Should I Buy the Subaru Crosstrek?

If you're searching for a small vehicle that tackles rough terrain with ease, you should consider buying a Subaru Crosstrek. Its generous 8.7 inches of ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive is great for light off-roading, and this SUV can haul more than most of its competitors. If you'd rather have on-pavement athleticism than rugged utility, the Mazda CX-3 is a better fit. If you're looking for something more refined, consider the upscale and quiet Honda HR-V.

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

Should I Buy a New or Used Subaru Crosstrek?

The Crosstrek is fully redesigned for 2018. Styling is all-new inside and out, and the SUV gains about an inch of rear legroom and 3.4 more cubic feet of maximum cargo space. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, which is a nice addition considering they weren't available at all in the 2017 model. Reverse automatic braking is another new available technology. Under the hood, the 2018 Crosstrek's four-cylinder engine sees a bump to 152 horsepower (from 148 horsepower in the 2017), but it still feels lethargic. The available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is smooth and refined, which is an improvement over the previous generation's loud and droning CVT. Finally, all 2018 Crosstrek models gain Active Torque Vectoring for improved and secure handling, and automatic transmission models come with a selectable off-road X-Mode with hill descent control.

It's possible for you to save money by shopping for a used 2017 or older Crosstrek, but you won't get the benefits of the vehicle's redesign. If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2016 and 2017 Crosstrek reviews to decide if missing out on the redesign is worth the potential savings. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Subaru Crosstrek »

We Did the Research for You: 27 Reviews Analyzed

Our comprehensive Subaru Crosstrek review includes the opinions of 27 professional test drivers, helpful specs like fuel economy ratings and cargo space dimensions, a list of safety features, and much more.

Why You Can Trust Us

In addition to guiding our readers to the Best Schools and the Best Places to Live, U.S. News & World Report reviews cars, trucks, and SUVs. Our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To maintain objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Subaru Crosstrek Cost?

The 2018 Crosstrek is one of the more expensive models in our ranking of the best subcompact SUVs. Prices start at $21,795 for the base model and $26,295 for the top trim. For great savings at your local Subaru dealer, check out our U.S. News Best Price Program. 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 is a better choice if you're looking to maximize passenger and storage space. Its innovative Magic Seat allows for various rear seat configurations that make it easy to carry awkwardly shaped items. The Honda also has more rear-seat passenger space than the Subaru. However, if you have more need for off-road capability, you'll be happier with the Crosstrek. 

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

Many subcompact SUVs have lackadaisical acceleration, but the Mazda CX-3 is an exception to the rule. It has more athletic handling, which helps this crossover SUV feel more like a sporty hatchback. The CX-3’s engine is livelier than most, allowing you to merge onto the highway with confidence. If performance is at the top of your checklist, check out the CX-3. If you're looking for more utility instead, go for the Crosstrek.

Which Is Better: Subaru Crosstrek or Jeep Renegade?

The Jeep Renegade is even stronger over tough terrain than the Crosstrek, making it a better choice if off-roading is a top priority. The Renegade has remarkable off-roading abilities when outfitted with four-wheel drive. On the pavement, it’s comfortable and composed, but it has less space and fewer standard features than the Crosstrek. The Crosstrek has a higher base price than the Renegade, but you won’t have to pay extra for features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay like you do in the Jeep. If that isn't a deterrent, go with the Renegade.

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

Crosstrek Interior

How Many People Does the Crosstrek Seat?

You can seat five people inside the Crosstrek. Though most subcompact SUVs have a cramped back seat, this Subaru's offers enough space to accommodate even tall travelers. Visibility is also good. The seat cushioning is adequate for most commuters but may feel too flat when spending a full day on them.

Crosstrek and Car Seats

The back seat of the Crosstrek has three tether anchors (one for each seat) and a set of lower anchors for both outboard seats.

Crosstrek Interior Quality

The Crosstrek leans toward modern simplicity for its interior styling. Its clean layout features a centrally located infotainment screen and a handful of large audio and climate knobs. The materials feel upscale, and higher trims come with orange contrast stitching throughout the cabin.

Crosstrek Cargo Space

The Crosstrek can haul more gear in the back than almost every other subcompact SUV and, with its seats folded down, even some compact SUVs. It has 20.8 cubic feet of cargo room, and the rear seats fold almost completely flat, opening up 55.3 cubic feet of space.

Crosstrek Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Smartphone users will feel at home using the Starlink infotainment interface. It has a similar menu layout to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (both of which come standard), so you can access many of your favorite apps directly on the 6.5-inch display. There are also redundant buttons around the screen, within easy reach of the driver. You only get one USB port – two on higher trims – but the midlevel six-speaker system sounds good, so you don't need to spend extra for the upgraded Harman Kardon system.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Crosstrek Performance

Crosstrek Engine: Hesitates to Accelerate

Before test-driving a subcompact SUV, it's important to remember that few are built to deliver brisk acceleration, and the Crosstrek is no exception; it takes time for its four-cylinder engine (rated at 152 horsepower) to get up to speed. Once you're cruising on the highway, the engine is pleasant enough, and this Subaru's engine and automatic transmission (CVT) are quieter and more refined than the previous generation's.

The Crosstrek is also powerful enough to tow up to 1,500 pounds, which is an unusually high towing capacity for this class. In most trims, you get a six-speed manual transmission in the standard setup, with the option to upgrade to a CVT.

Crosstrek Gas Mileage: CVT Is Thriftier

Many test drivers prefer the Crosstrek's CVT because of its quiet, well-timed performance and its fuel efficiency. With this transmission, you get 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, both of which are above average for the class. If you stick with the standard six-speed manual transmission, fuel economy drops to 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway (one of the lowest in the segment).

Crosstrek Ride and Handling: Confident On- and Off-Road

Much of the new Crosstrek's charm is due to its excellent handling, both on pavement and on gravel. It's smooth and stable, backed by responsive steering, strong brakes, and standard all-wheel drive. You also get an exceptional 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

Read more about performance »

Crosstrek Reliability

Is the Subaru Crosstrek Reliable?

The 2018 Crosstrek gets a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power. That score is considered average for all new cars.

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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awards the Crosstrek the highest rating of Good in five crash tests and a 2018 Top Safety Pick designation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Crosstrek four stars in frontal and rollover crash tests and five stars in side crash tests with a five-star overall rating.

Crosstrek Safety Features

All Crosstrek models come with a rearview camera. Available advanced safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warning, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, and reverse automatic braking.

Read more about safety »

Which Subaru Crosstrek Model Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Crosstrek has three available trims: 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, and 2.0i Limited. All feature the same four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. The first two trims come standard with a manual transmission (a CVT is available), and the top-level Limited has a standard CVT.

The biggest differences between the trim levels are the interior amenities. If you're looking for the best value, we recommend the 2.0i Premium. It costs only $800 more than the base model and upgrades the vehicle with extras like heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and contrast stitching on the upholstery. Subaru offers more packages with this trim than the base model, allowing you to add safety features like rear cross traffic alert or interior enhancements like a moonroof.

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i

Standard features in the base trim include cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, a rearview camera, four speakers, the Starlink infotainment interface, a 6.5-inch display, smartphone integration (via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Pandora, and Aha apps), a USB port, and Bluetooth. The 2.0i trim has a starting price of $21,795, which includes a six-speed manual transmission. You can upgrade to a CVT for $1,000.

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium

Prices for the 2.0i Premium trim start at $22,595 with the manual transmission (add $1,000 for the CVT). Heated front seats and heated exterior side mirrors, a six-speaker audio system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and automatic on/off headlights are included.

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited

The 2.0i Limited comes with a CVT, leather seats, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, an 8-inch infotainment display, two USB ports, keyless access, single-zone automatic climate control, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Its enhanced infotainment system expands smartphone integration to include apps like Yelp and iHeart Radio. Pricing starts at $26,295.

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 2018 Subaru Crosstrek specs and trims »

The Final Call

The redesigned 2018 Subaru Crosstrek delivers decent overall performance, with an improved available CVT (say goodbye to engine drone and hello to a superior driving experience). Inside, there's a user-friendly infotainment system and advanced smartphone integration. Its ample rear-seat and cargo area give you more space to bring friends and gear than most SUVs in this class, and its athletic handling and standard all-wheel drive make the Crosstrek the perfect partner for an active lifestyle.

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
  • "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
  • "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
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