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Up Close With the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek: Small Tweaks, Happy Campers

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You wouldn’t know by looking at it, but this is actually an all-new Subaru Crosstrek. When the Impreza compact sedan on which it’s based got a full redo for 2022 and switched to a new platform, we knew a new Crosstrek wouldn’t be far behind — and here it is on the floor of the 2023 Chicago Auto Show. And the legions of loyal Crosstrek fans (it’s Subaru’s bestselling model) will be pleased to know that despite it being all-new, it’s not all that different from the outgoing one. It’s a little bit bigger, a little more comfy, slightly more rugged-looking, but not more expensive … though we have to wonder if maybe Subaru missed an opportunity to improve some things that needed it.

Related: More 2023 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

It Certainly Looks Crosstrekky

You’ll not mistake the 2024 Crosstrek for anything else even at a distance — the new wheel arch cladding will pretty much guarantee that. It’s arguably the vehicle’s worst styling element, oddly shaped plastic extensions that evoke some kind of strange Lamborghini Countach, Marcello Gandini-styled look that doesn’t work here. It’s really the only oddity on a fairly conventional restyle.

The Crosstrek still has that rugged, off-road-capable Subaru look, with a high stance, knobby tires and ready-for-anything attitude. Gold accents are also available on some models, but there’s no Wilderness trim (yet). Frankly, given the styling changes to the Crosstreks on display at the Chicago show, I’m not sure what more could be done to make the thing even more ruggedized — but I’m sure Subaru will figure something out.

Mild Changes Inside and Underneath

The Crosstrek’s interior is also nothing new despite being completely new. It looks like the bigger Outback in there, with seats that are more comfortable than the outgoing model’s and upholstered in some interesting fabrics with contrasting stitching. The switches, gauges and screens, however, all look like traditional Subaru stuff from the past decade.

The new Crosstrek doesn’t bring anything truly new-looking or any more advanced than the prior models. The interior packaging is largely the same, with the same amount of space for people and things. There’s some updated screen tech in the form of Subaru’s 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen that replaces the 8-inch display on top trim levels, but even the base models get dual 7-inch touchscreens replacing the old single 6.5-inch display. This adequately brings the Crosstrek into modern competitiveness.

One area that isn’t seeing much attention is the powertrain department. Two four-cylinder horizontally opposed engines are still on tap, a 2.0-liter or 2.5-liter, which are both mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission that Subaru says gets some refinements for better performance. It needs it, as the powertrain combination wasn’t an area that wowed us in prior versions of the Crosstrek. But customers don’t seem to mind its merely adequate performance; they’d rather focus on the car’s mix of go-anywhere ability, excellent safety systems, smart interior packaging and “just right” exterior footprint.

Still a Good Value

The Crosstrek has won past Cars.com comparisons due to its value position; it’s sized like a big compact crossover but priced like a much smaller one. That doesn’t change for 2024, either, with a base price no different than the outgoing 2023 model: $26,290 for the base variant, stretching up to $32,190 for the top Limited trim (including destination). That still represents a screaming value for an all-wheel-drive compact SUV.

We’ll have to wait a few more weeks before we know how the new 2024 Crosstrek drives, but if the formula that’s been winning for Subaru in the past continues to hold, the new model should easily continue the brand’s winning ways.

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Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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