2018 Subaru Crosstrek Review: First Impressions and Photo Gallery
The Subaru Crosstrek, showing at the 2017 New York International Auto Show, is a curious beast. It's in a class that includes smaller offerings like the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Nissan Juke and Chevrolet Trax.
Most of those cars bill themselves as small SUVs, but the Crosstrek is really more of a lifted compact hatchback. It feels a segment or two bigger than those competitors on the inside but competes with them directly on price. That advantage went a long way toward it winning our Subcompact SUV Challenge in 2015, besting six other competitors.
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This new version is based off the redesigned-for-2017 Impreza hatchback, and the 2018 Crosstrek has updates throughout. The main differences are in height and cladding: The Crosstrek gets 3.6 inches more ground clearance than the Impreza, bringing it to a healthy 8.7 inches, which is more than many larger SUVs have. It's easier to get into and out of the Crosstrek than the lower Impreza, with less of a step down.
Once inside, the interior is remarkably spacious, especially for backseat passengers who are gifted some truly surprising legroom. The new interior — which is shared with the Impreza — is quite sharp, especially with the matching stitching everywhere. Visibility is typically Subaru-good, with tall windows and a low beltline making it easy to see your surroundings.
The new styling is attractive, but as we've stated in the Preview of the Crosstrek, if you don't like cladding, look elsewhere. We're starting to achieve Pontiac levels of gray plastic cladding here, as it surrounds the wheel wells, side sills, lower bumper and foglights. It's meant to look like it's protecting things when you take the Crosstrek off-road, but given the Crosstrek doesn't have a true off-road four-wheel-drive system (just Subaru's standard and capable all-wheel drive) and its all-season tires, it's unlikely to get far off the beaten trail.
Our biggest complaint about the Crosstrek from previous experiences has been its lack of power — the previous generation's 148 horsepower gets bumped to 152 hp with the new iteration, but there's nothing wrong with the Crosstrek's engine that a good turbocharger wouldn't fix. Or perhaps the 175-hp motor from the Outback would work. We'll have to wait for some time behind the wheel before we can see if the performance has been improved as much as the rest of the car.