2024 Subaru Crosstrek: First Drive Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
The Crosstrek is a compact 5-occupant crossover that Subaru added to its lineup 12 years ago. Since then, the Crosstrek has become the fastest-growing model the company has ever offered. Even in its last year before being redesigned — usually a time when sales slow in anticipation of the new version — the Crosstrek recorded record sales. Last month Subaru debuted the third generation at the Chicago Auto Show with fresh exterior styling, new high-tech features and a stiffer chassis. The automaker invited us to Palm Springs, California, to test the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNew for 2024
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek rides on the latest version of the Subaru Global Platform, which is enhanced to provide 10 percent higher torsional rigidity. Stronger welding techniques and additional structural adhesive contribute to a more rigid chassis while reducing overall weight. The newfound rigidity improves driving dynamics while creating a quieter cabin.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceDesign Updates
Styling changes for the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek are more evolutionary than revolutionary, but that’s to be expected because Subaru does not want to lose its loyal Crosstrek following. The updated model has a more adventurous look with a new frameless hexagonal grille flanked by sleek headlights that sweep back into the bodywork, highlighted by a sculpted hood.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRugged Styling
Large fog lights and updated cladding over the wheel arches add to the rugged look of this new Crosstrek. A new air outlet at the edge of the front wheel openings is stylish and functional, helping to improve aerodynamics and driving stability. Additional outlets on the sides of the rear bumper are designed to reduce body sway.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBuilt in America
The 2024 model will be the first Crosstrek built in America, with the Sport and Limited trims assembled at Subaru’s production facility in Lafayette, Indiana, alongside the Ascent, Outback, Legacy and Impreza. Base and Premium variants will continue to be produced at the Subaru plant in Gunma, Japan.

© Subaru of AmericaModel Lineup
Subaru offers the 2024 Crosstrek in four trim levels: base, Premium, Sport and Limited. All Crosstreks come with 8.7 inches of ground clearance and full-time all-wheel drive with X-Mode.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBase (Premium pictured)
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek has a starting price of $24,995, making it one of America’s lowest-priced all-wheel-drive crossovers. Standard features on the base Crosstrek include dual-zone climate control, dual 7.0-inch touchscreen displays, a rearview camera, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth connectivity, steering-responsive LED headlights, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePremium
Priced at $26,145, the Crosstrek Premium upgrades the base version with a keyless pushbutton start, multiple USB-A and USB-C ports, a 4.2-inch driver information display, LED fog lights and roof rails. The Premium also gets the new 11.6-inch Multimedia Plus touchscreen display — the largest ever offered in the Crosstrek.

© Subaru of AmericaSport
With a starting price of $28,995, the Crosstrek Sport upgrades the Premium with a larger 2.5-liter engine; dual-function X-Mode; yellow exterior accents; a gloss black grille, mirrors, and roof spoiler; and 18-inch dark gray alloy wheels. Inside, seats are trimmed in gray fabric with yellow accents throughout the cabin. A wireless phone charger is standard, as is an All-Weather Package that includes heated seats, windshield and mirrors.

© Subaru of AmericaLimited
The top-level trim in the Crosstrek lineup, the Limited adds to the Sport with perforated leather-trimmed seats with contrasting orange stitching on most cabin surfaces. Also standard is blind spot detection with lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, reverse automatic braking and upgraded headlights with LED front signals. The Limited also gets unique 18-inch machine-finish dark gray alloy wheels.

© Subaru of AmericaBase Display
Only the base-level Crosstrek features dual 7.0-inch touchscreen displays. The top screen provides typical infotainment information including phone integration, audio and a rearview camera, while the lower display controls climate and vehicle functions.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNew Display
The Crosstrek’s most noticeable change inside is a large 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen display — the largest ever offered in this compact crossover. Standard on all but the base trim, the new screen is bright and has large icons that make it easy to read. The top of the screen is a space dedicated to additional vehicle information, while climate controls are permanently displayed at the bottom. Shortcuts to the home screen, vehicle settings and communications are also static. The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek retains physical knobs for volume and tuning, as well as cabin temperature buttons for quick access.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAndroid Auto
Prior to our test drive we easily connected a Samsung Galaxy S21 to the Crosstrek, and Android Auto became immediately available. Featuring the latest Android Auto display, the static shortcuts remain so it’s simple to go back to the Subaru menu.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFront Seats
Subaru equips the new Crosstrek with stylish new front seats designed to increase comfort while reducing fatigue on longer trips. After spending a day in the Crosstrek, we’d say they accomplished their goal. Decent space can be found between the seats, with a spacious covered storage bin and large cupholders in the center console.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seat
It may be a small crossover, but the rear seat of the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek is surprisingly spacious with appreciable legroom and headroom. The comfortable aft seats have commendable support; however, the middle seat is best reserved for someone who doesn’t need as much legroom. Multiple USB ports in the rear seating area keep devices charged.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCargo Space
With a wide rear hatch and low liftover height, the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek remains a crossover that is easy to load. Cargo space is about 20 cubic feet with the rear seats in place. With the rear seats folded flat, the space increases to almost 55 cubic feet for additional versatility. We also found that the opening is a nice place to sit and have a picnic.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood
Two engine choices are available for the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek. The Base and Premium are powered by a 2.0-liter Boxer 4-cylinder engine producing 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. A more powerful 2.5-liter engine delivering 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque is standard on Sport and Limited trims. Both engines get teamed with a continuously variable transmission with a manual mode available on all but the Base version. Subaru no longer offers a manual gearbox on the Crosstrek.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFuel Efficiency
According to the U.S. EPA, the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek is rated at 27 mpg city / 34 hwy / 29 combined with the 2.0-liter engine. The more powerful unit drops city and highway stats by one mpg but remains at 29 combined. During our drive in the Crosstrek Premium with the 2.0-liter engine we averaged 33.5 mpg, and over the last 37 miles of our trip the display read almost 42 mpg — considerably better than anticipated.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAll-Wheel Drive with X-Mode
A revised version of the company’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system is standard on all 2024 Subaru Crosstrek trim levels. This updated system provides a faster response time with improved handling both on and off pavement; it also features active torque vectoring. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and X-Mode for increased capability in adverse or challenging conditions, the new Crosstrek is quite capable when adventuring off the beaten path.

© Subaru of AmericaEyeSight
Every 2024 Subaru Crosstrek comes with EyeSight, the latest version of the company’s advanced driver-assist system. Improvements to the system provide a wider field of view and an electric brake booster for quicker, smoother operation. The automatic emergency braking system can detect bicyclists and pedestrians under a wider range of conditions. Crosstrek is also available with reverse automatic braking, blind-spot detection with lane-change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNo 2.5-liter Engine Yet
Subaru brought us to Palm Springs, California, to test the new Crosstrek. Production is ramping up in Indiana for the Sport and Limited with the 2.5-liter engine, so our drive was exclusively in the Premium with the smaller 2.0-liter engine. (We expect to drive the Crosstrek with the 2.5-liter engine later this spring). Our drive in the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium took us from Palm Springs to Joshua Tree National Park and included a mix of highway, back roads and dirt roads.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
Although it may occasionally feel low on power — during acceleration to highway speeds, for example — in most cases the 2.0-liter engine provides acceptable performance. On the freeway the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek has no problem moving along at 70 mph, and the ride is solid and surprisingly quiet. The adaptive cruise control works well, keeping a steady distance from the vehicle ahead and providing some lane-keeping ability. This system is not designed to be hands-free and will warn the driver if hands are not detected on the steering wheel.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHandling
As a compact crossover with raised ground clearance, the Crosstrek might have ended up being a bit much to handle when roads get twisty, but the small crossover holds its own. Steering provides excellent feedback, and the all-wheel drive and updated chassis deliver a confident ride — but a bit more power would certainly be welcome. The CVT simulates shifts under hard acceleration but doesn’t do much to improve performance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRough Roads
Part of our press drive with the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek took us along some rough dirt roads with large holes the occasional washboard surface. Through it all the grip remained excellent, even when we took a few corners a bit too fast. The washboard surfaces shook the cabin a bit, but overall the ride stayed comfortable and predictable. When venturing into some softer sand, the Subaru showed its abilities by continuing to move forward without getting bogged down — impressive considering the tester was riding on all-season tires.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOff-Road
To properly showcase this small crossover’s capabilities, Subaru set up an off-road course for attending journalists to navigate. We put the Crosstrek into X-Mode, which keeps the car in a lower gear, delivers torque more smoothly, and maximizes traction by keeping power better distributed between the four tires. We were able to easily climb a trail of loose dirt and rocks and never lost traction while making steep turns over uneven surfaces.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHill Descent
As part of X-Mode, the Crosstrek automatically engages Hill Descent Control. Heading down steep, slippery trails, the Crosstrek uses the brakes and gearing to keep the speed at 3-4 mph — the driver simply needs to steer. Although this small Subaru doesn’t have a low gear and certainly isn’t designed to do what a proper off-road vehicle such as a Jeep Wrangler could do, it is perfectly capable of adventuring off the beaten path — something its Crosstrek owners tend to do.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRight for You?
The compact crossover segment is one of the most competitive in America, and the Subaru Crosstrek has always performed well against its main competitors. With styling and technology updates for the 2024 model year — as well as improved driving characteristics and a quicker-reacting all-wheel-drive system — the new Crosstrek should only enhance its standing. Whether used for the daily commute or weekend adventures away from civilization, the Crosstrek is a great compact crossover choice.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 8.5
Pros: Off-road capable in small doses; fuel efficient; comfortable ride.
Cons: Base engine underpowered; no manual gearbox anymore.
Bottom Line: With improvements in styling, features and drivability, the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek makes a great daily driver capable of adventuring off the beaten path.

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