Subaru Crosstrek, Crosstrek Hybrid: Which Should You Buy, 2020 or 2021?

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

Most significant changes: New Sport trim level; new, more-powerful engine for higher trims (including Sport); available lane-centering steering; styling tweaks; different suspension tuning

Price change: $140 to $640 on gas-only Crosstrek for carryover trim levels; $240 on Crosstrek Hybrid

On sale: Now

Which should you buy, 2020 or 2021? On the whole, the improvements to the 2021 are probably worth the increase in price, assuming you can’t find any substantial discounts on a leftover 2020 Crosstrek. And if you want the added power of the 2.5-liter engine, you’ll have to get a 2021 Sport or Limited trim. But shoppers would do well to compare the Crosstrek to its increasing number of competitors, as it recently relinquished its title of Best Affordable Small SUV in our judgment.

Related: 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Review: Bigger Is (Mostly) Better

What’s New

Subaru’s popular Crosstrek and Crosstrek Hybrid small SUVs got some updates for the 2021 model year, with the gas-only Crosstrek getting the most significant one: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine for the range-topping Limited and new mid-level Sport trim, the same used in the larger Outback and Forester SUVs and the Legacy sedan. Meanwhile, the Crosstrek Hybrid is actually a plug-in hybrid with an EPA-rated 17 miles of all-electric range on a full charge.

The added oomph from the 2.5-liter addresses a concern about the lack of power from the Crosstrek’s base 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but it’s still held back by the relaxed and sometimes noisy behavior from its continuously variable automatic transmission. Base and Premium models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but the CVT is standard on the Sport and Limited.

Other changes to the Crosstrek for 2021 include revised styling — most notably a redone front bumper — as well as tweaked suspension tuning and newly available lane-centering steering.

Pros and Cons

Strong suits for the Crosstrek that carry over include a comfortable ride that benefits from the Crosstrek’s relatively larger platform versus similarly priced micro-SUVs, plus a robust set of available safety and driver-assist features Subaru calls EyeSight.

Besides its lack of quickness, we’ve also found the Crosstrek to slip behind the competition when it comes to available technologies. That won’t make a difference for consumers stacking up the 2021 and 2020 models, but it might behoove interested shoppers focused on technology to investigate Subaru’s competitors in this space.

Pricing and Release Date

The 2021 Crosstrek and Crosstrek Hybrid are on sale now. Prices for the base Crosstrek and Crosstrek Premium rise a total of $140 for 2021, with $40 of that coming from the destination fee’s increase to $1,050 from $1,010. The most-expensive trim, called the Limited, gets the new 2.5-liter along with a $640 higher price, while the new Sport trim slots in below it. The Crosstrek Hybrid, meanwhile, increases $240; note its price below excludes federal tax credits, which can return up to $4,502 on the purchase of any 2019-21 Crosstrek Hybrid. 

Full pricing is below, and all prices include the destination fee.

  • Base trim with a six-speed manual transmission: $23,295
  • Base, continuously variable automatic: $24,645
  • Premium, six-speed manual: $24,345
  • Premium, CVT: $25,695
  • Sport, CVT: $27,545
  • Limited: CVT: $29,045 
  • Hybrid: $36,395

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