The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is fresh off a complete remake, from the ground up, but you’d be forgiven if you didn’t immediately notice the differences; the design is far more evolution than revolution. Available in three trims (base, Premium, and Limited), pricing starts at $22,710 with a 6-speed manual and can climb north of $31,000 for a fully-loaded Limited.
The Crosstrek rides on the new Subaru Global Platform (the same as the Impreza) that utilizes new framework and strengthened joints to increase rigidity by over 70%. Size is increased in almost every dimension; wheelbase grows 1.2 inches, length is up by a half inch and width is up by an inch. Ride height is an all-weather, off-road ready 8.7 inches with 18 degrees of approach angle and 29 degrees of departure. Four-wheel independent suspension with a MacPherson front and double-wishbone rear setup utilize Stablex dampers to provide the lift. Rear pillow ball bushings, a rear body-mounted stabilizer bar, and hydraulic engine mounts improve ride and NVH. Steering is handled through an electric power-assisted unit while brakes get discs all around with ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, and a brake override system. All trims are capable of towing 1,500 pounds.
Under the hood is a 2.0L horizontally-opposed (boxer) four-cylinder powerplant. Though the size is the same as the outgoing Crosstrek, this engine is 80% new, and now features direct injection. Horsepower is up to 152 (from 148) while torque remains the same at 145 lb-ft, though it comes in earlier in the rev range, at 4000. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual (up from a 5-speed) available on the base and Premium trims. A CVT is available across the line, with the Premium and Limited trims getting a simulated 7-speed manual mode with paddle shifters. CVT-equipped models also get X-Mode, a low-speed cruise control for slippery surfaces and hill-decent control. Fuel economy comes in at 23/29/25 (city/highway/combined) for the manual transmission and 27/33/29 for the CVT.
Outside, the 2018 Crosstrek retains its rugged appearance. Subaru’s hexagonal grille is now prominently displayed, as is gobs of plastic cladding. Base and Premium trims come standard with 17-inch wheels while the Limited gets 18s. The Limited also gets LED daytime running lights, steering responsive LED headlights, and side mirrors with integrated turn signals. Premium and Limited trims also include fog lights as standard. All trims levels get roof rails and rear tinted privacy glass. Two new colors are available, Cool Gray Khaki and Sunshine Orange, that join the more traditional black, gray, silver, white, red, and blue colors.
The size gains from the new platform are felt on the inside with hip room and rear legroom being the biggest beneficiaries. Cargo space is also increased with the 60/40 rear seats folded flat (now 55.3 cu ft), but cargo space behind the rear seats is actually down from the previous generation to 20.8 cu ft. Base and Premium trims come with cloth interior while Limited adds leather. New two-tone gray and black material is available with select exterior colors, black is available/standard with all colors. Both interiors have orange contrast stitching throughout. The base and Premium trim get a 6.5-inch display audio system; Limited bumps it up to 8 inches. All come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Subaru’s suite of safety tech, called EyeSight, is available only with CVT-equipped Premium and Limited trims. The package cost varies between the two but runs between $1,500 and $2,000. The Limited trim has a second optional package that includes Harman Kardon stereo and Navigation.
For our long-term test, we chose a Limited trim with popular package #2. MSRP is $26,295, package #2 is $864, and destination is $915 bringing the total as-tested price to $28,074. Popular package 2 includes an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and HomeLink, rear bumper cover, all-weather floor mats (in addition to the cloth floor mats that are included), rear seat back protector, and splash guards. The color is Cool Gray Khaki with a black leather interior. Other features not mentioned above that are exclusive to the Limited trim include keyless access with push-button start, 6-way power driver’s seat, and blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert.
We’re excited to see how our Subaru performs in its time with us. Aside from the daily grind, we hope to take it off the beaten path, on camping trips, and even plan to do some towing with it, so stay tuned for future updates.