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2018 Subaru Crosstrek

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$21,795 — $26,295 MSRP
22
Photos
SUV
5 Seats
25-29 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 3 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Excellent steering
  • Copious passenger space
  • Excellent outward visibility
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Available safety features
  • Standard all-wheel drive

The Bad

  • Absurdly slow
  • Lack of onboard Wi-Fi
  • Only one USB port
  • Cheesy gray plastic cladding
  • No off-road underbody protection
  • Overly sensitive lane keep assist
2018 Subaru Crosstrek exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek
  • All-new five-seat compact crossover
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Based on Subaru Impreza hatchback
  • Four-cylinder boxer engine
  • Available EyeSight collision warning/mitigation system
  • Most fuel-efficient highway rating in class

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Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

We pitted our former subcompact champion, the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek, against three newcomers to the subcompact SUV segment. Is the Subaru still king? Watch the video to find out.

By Aaron Bragman
The verdict:

On price, amenities, handling, all-weather safety and versatility, the Crosstrek is hard to beat. At a stoplight, it’s much easier.

Versus the competition:

The Crosstrek was once the biggest vehicle and best value in the class, but the competition has started to copy its formula.

We liked the original Subaru Crosstrek — an Impreza-based, butched-up, soft-roader hatchback — enough that it won our Subcompact SUV Challenge in 2015. Now, a second-generation Crosstrek has arrived, and while it may look similar to the outgoing one, it is indeed an all-new car. Sitting on the new Subaru Global Platform that will form the basis of nearly all of Subaru's future cars, the 2018 Crosstrek is more than 95 percent new. Again based on the Impreza, it's a compact hatchback with exceptional interior SUV-like room and standard all-wheel drive.

Go-Anywhere Looks

The change from Impreza to Crosstrek starts with the parts you can see. The Subaru Crosstrek's sheet metal shares some panels with the Impreza, but gray plastic wheel arches, bumper covers and rocker panels add some durability to the look. It sits visibly higher than the Impreza, with 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

All the changes, like them or not, really do set it apart from the Impreza; it looks like a very different animal, and this is part of what its customers find appealing, according to Subaru. A lot of customers like that outdoorsy, rugged look — even if far more Crosstreks are sold in urban markets than in rural ones. But that higher ride height helps when dealing with broken pavement and the travails of the urban jungle, as well, such as curbs and potholes. And for buyers who are genuinely outdoorsy, the low overall roof height helps when loading things onto the roof ...

We liked the original Subaru Crosstrek — an Impreza-based, butched-up, soft-roader hatchback — enough that it won our Subcompact SUV Challenge in 2015. Now, a second-generation Crosstrek has arrived, and while it may look similar to the outgoing one, it is indeed an all-new car. Sitting on the new Subaru Global Platform that will form the basis of nearly all of Subaru's future cars, the 2018 Crosstrek is more than 95 percent new. Again based on the Impreza, it's a compact hatchback with exceptional interior SUV-like room and standard all-wheel drive.

Go-Anywhere Looks

The change from Impreza to Crosstrek starts with the parts you can see. The Subaru Crosstrek's sheet metal shares some panels with the Impreza, but gray plastic wheel arches, bumper covers and rocker panels add some durability to the look. It sits visibly higher than the Impreza, with 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

All the changes, like them or not, really do set it apart from the Impreza; it looks like a very different animal, and this is part of what its customers find appealing, according to Subaru. A lot of customers like that outdoorsy, rugged look — even if far more Crosstreks are sold in urban markets than in rural ones. But that higher ride height helps when dealing with broken pavement and the travails of the urban jungle, as well, such as curbs and potholes. And for buyers who are genuinely outdoorsy, the low overall roof height helps when loading things onto the roof rack.

Fun, But Not Fast

Along with the new platform comes a new engine, although its specs will be familiar. Like the last Crosstrek, the new one comes with a 2.0-liter flat-four engine, this one making 152 horsepower and 145 pounds-feet of torque. That's up slightly in the horsepower department from the past model. Though not turbocharged, it does now feature direct injection. It can be mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission (one gear more than last year's five-speed) or a continuously variable automatic with a stepped-gear function meant to make it feel and sound more like a traditional geared automatic. All-wheel drive is standard for both transmissions.

I sampled both transmissions and have come to the rare conclusion that the CVT-equipped model is the one to have. This is odd given my penchant for enjoying shifting on my own, but the problem here is the engine, not the transmission: My biggest beef with the old Crosstrek was that it couldn't get out of its own way — it was woefully underpowered with both the manual and automatic. This has not been solved with the new vehicle, as the 2.0-liter engine is still anemic. The engine is just gutless; merging onto a swift-moving highway will be challenging, and don't even think of attempting to pass anyone on a hill or with a full load of passengers or cargo.

From a standing start, it feels like acceleration can be measured with a calendar. If you've already got some momentum built, it's not quite so bad; the Crosstrek responds quickly when you power through a corner. The CVT is well-matched to the engine, always keeping it on boil if you're driving aggressively, but you'll need to be prepared for it to rev its heart out as it tries to deliver what little power it has. There's little oomph below 2,500 rpm, and it seems to run out a little after 4,000 rpm. If you opt for the manual transmission, you'll be shifting it like mad to try and keep your speed up even on slight grades. Save yourself the angst and go for the CVT; it's a much more pleasant experience.

The upside of the underwhelming acceleration is top-of-the-pack fuel economy. The Crosstrek is EPA-rated 27/33/29 mpg city/highway/combined with the CVT, 23/29/25 mpg with the manual. Its 33-mpg highway rating is tops for the AWD class, even besting competitors' front-wheel-drive models. I question whether anyone will get those numbers in practice, however, as they'll all likely drive with a heavier foot than normal just to keep up with traffic.

The engine performance is the only blemish on what has become a polished, quiet and surprisingly refined vehicle. Base and Premium trims come with 17-inch wheels, and if you plan on doing any rough-road driving or off-road exploring, this is the combination to have (though you can skip the larger 18-inch wheels, whose lower-profile tires aren't nearly as bump-absorbing, especially off-road). It's remarkably compliant on two-track rough roads, soaking up bumps and not transmitting any unpleasant vibrations through the steering wheel. Credit the dramatically stiffer structure of the Subaru Global Platform, which has allowed Subaru to get more creative with its suspension and steering tuning.

On-road or off, the Subaru Crosstrek's steering is excellent. It uses a quick, 13:1 ratio — much sportier than most vehicles in its class and closer to the BRZ sports car than anything else in Subaru's lineup. This gives the Crosstrek entertaining handling: It's eager to turn into curves, communicative when it's in them and easy to control when you get a little over-eager on dirt roads. Just like the BRZ, it's slow, but once you build some speed, the car's handling characteristics make it highly entertaining. Maintain momentum in spirited driving, and it's actually fun to drive.

Maybe You Don't Really Need a Jeep?

The Crosstrek is surprisingly capable off-road. Subaru included its X-Mode low-speed off-road feature on the Subaru Crosstrek for the first time (it's already on the Outback and Forester). When activated at speeds below 13 mph, X-Mode changes throttle, stability control, traction control and all-wheel-drive settings to let you get out of sticky off-road situations, or descend slippery slopes with electronic hill descent control. I climbed some steep quarry slopes and descended them again with the computer controlling much of the car's powertrain and braking actions.

It was an impressive performance for a vehicle that's not really an off-road machine. It has no underbody skid-plate protection, no true creeper gear and no locking axles, plus it wears all-season on-road tires. But if you have to cross some rough terrain to get to your favorite trailhead or river entry, the Subaru Crosstrek will be perfectly capable of getting you there.

Bigger and Better Inside

The new Crosstrek's cabin is bigger than the last one. Nearly every dimension has been increased, and while it looks familiar, it's all-new and much improved. The traditional benefits of Subaru interiors remain: a very low beltline and slim pillars, meaning outward visibility is outstanding in every direction. This is helpful on the highway but also useful off-road, as it allows you to see over the hood easily when negotiating tricky terrain.

The Crosstrek is exceptionally roomy compared with competitors like the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V. It's far more comfortable, especially for those passengers in the rear seats, but newer competitors like the Jeep Compass and Nissan Rogue Sport are starting to really challenge it in this department.

The same thing is true when it comes to cargo space comparisons. The Crosstrek features 20.8 cubic feet of cargo room, expandable to 55.3 cubic feet with the backseat folded. That's less than the Honda HR-V, which features 24.3/58.8 cubic feet, but the Honda pays for that with decreased backseat space. The new Nissan Rogue Sport and Jeep Compass both outgun the Crosstrek in cargo space, offering 22.9/61.1 and 27.2/59.8 cubic feet, respectively. The Crosstrek's advantage is in backseat passenger room, where its width gives it a comfort advantage over any of these competitors.

New Tech, But Not Much of It

Like the Impreza, the new Crosstrek receives Subaru's next-generation multimedia system. A 6.5-inch touchscreen display is standard and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Subaru's Starlink suite of apps that you probably shouldn't use while driving. Upgrade to a higher trim and you can get an 8-inch display and add navigation by TomTom, as well.

It's finally a fully modern multimedia system, too. It no longer looks like it's behind the times, but for a brand that's going after millennial buyers, it's curious that there isn't more tech in this interior. There's no 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot for passengers' personal electronics, and there's only one USB port in the whole car. Those seem like curious oversights in an all-new vehicle targeted specifically at younger buyers.

What tech the Crosstrek does have comes instead in the safety department, where the company's EyeSight system is optional and include adaptive cruise control. It includes lane departure warning and lane keep assist, as well as forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking. All-wheel drive is also standard in the Subaru Crosstrek, as it is in every Subaru except the BRZ. There are also adaptive LED headlights with high beam assist available.

Prices Remain Appealing

The Subaru Crosstrek is sized like a compact SUV but priced like a subcompact SUV. Its starting price is just $22,710 (including destination fee) for a base 2.0i model with a manual transmission; opting for the automatic transmission adds $1,000. The mid-level Premium trim starts at $23,510, while the top Limited begins at $27,210 and is available only with a CVT. Add all the options, and you'll top out at $30,655 for a loaded Crosstrek Limited with EyeSight and navigation.

Competitors used to belong just to the subcompact crossover category, including vehicles like the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3, Fiat 500X and Nissan Juke. They're vehicles priced the same as a Crosstrek, but a little bit smaller — some much smaller. That's starting to change as automakers expand their offerings. The Nissan Rogue Sport is now a very viable direct competitor in size, content and abilities, as is the all-new Jeep Compass. Compare some of them here.

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 it up in the past five years. Now, all the other attributes that made the Subaru Crosstrek so popular have only been improved.

Cars.com's Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.9
299 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(5.0)
Value For The Money
(4.8)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Excellent car

by Jordan Collier from Portland, OR on December 11, 2018

My car is way better than I expected. It has everything I needed and more. I couldn't be more happy with it. Back up camera is very helpful, living in Portland I'm always having to parallel park and ... Read full review

(5.0)

Love my crosstrek

by Kevin from Sacramento on December 10, 2018

My first Subaru and I love the car. Wasn?t looking for a lot of frills and for the price I?m satisfied. Looks sporty, especially in black and with my bike racks on top. I drive to Tahoe to bike and ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
good

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Headlights

Overall Rating
acceptable

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good
acceptable

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Subaru

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    5 years/80,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    Coverage available for purchase

  • Powertrain

    7 years/100,000

  • Dealer Certification Required

    152-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2018 Crosstrek Stories

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All Model Years for the Subaru Crosstrek

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Crosstrek received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Latch or Latch system

A

Infant seat

A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A

Booster

(second row)

B
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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