New Car Review

2016 Subaru Crosstrek: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader October 2015

The 2016 Subaru Crosstrek puts a rugged twist on the popular Impreza 5-door platform. It's a pretty simple idea, actually. Take one standard all-wheel-drive Subaru car, lift it 8.7 inches, adorn it with body cladding and racy wheels, and finish it with unique paint and interior trim. Rather than making this vehicle part of the Impreza family, Subaru has created a new nameplate, a strategy that appears to have paid off big in the past.

What's New for 2016?

For 2016, Subaru drops the XV from the Crosstrek's name and adds a revised front end, grille and headlights. All models add LED illumination to the center console, and models with push-button starting gain PIN code access. The Limited trim is fitted with a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert, while the Hybrid models receive a new gloss black grille. Subaru's Starlink Safety and Security services are now available on Premium and Limited trims.

What We Like

Cool styling; plenty of ground clearance when the snow gets deep; good fuel economy; well-equipped base models; available with EyeSight collision-avoidance system

What We Don't

Not much power under the hood; hybrid fuel economy not much better than gasoline model; no power driver's seat option; satellite radio only available with 7-inch audio upgrade

How Much?

$22,445-$33,000

Fuel Economy

The Subaru Crosstrek is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine (instead of pistons moving up and down inside an engine, flip the image 90 degrees and imagine them moving side to side). This engine develops 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. When the Crosstrek is equipped with the standard 5-speed manual, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy ratings stand at 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) ups those figures to 26 mpg city/34 mpg hwy.

The Hybrid trim uses the same 2.0-liter engine but adds an electric motor between the engine and transmission. The electric assist adds another 13 hp and 18 lb-ft of torque, bringing the Hybrid's total output to 160 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy improves, as well, earning an EPA-estimated 30 mpg city/34 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Subaru Crosstrek comes in five trims: 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Limited, Hybrid and Hybrid Touring.

The 2.0i ($22,445) includes a 5-speed manual transmission, power function for the windows, door locks and mirrors, AM/FM/CD stereo, USB/iPod connectivity, Bluetooth with music streaming, a rear backup camera, steering wheel audio controls, 17-in alloy wheels, rear wiper/washer, cruise control, air conditioning and a tilt-telescopic steering column.

The 2.0i Premium ($23,245) adds the Cold Weather package (heated front seats, heated mirrors and windshield de-icer), fog lights, two additional speakers (for a total of six), a rear cargo cover, a sliding center armrest and a lighted ignition key ring.

The 2.0i Limited ($25,945) adds the CVT automatic, leather seating, automatic climate control, upgraded audio with a 7-in display screen, SiriusXM and HD Radio, auto on/off headlights, a sound-insulation windshield, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, welcome lighting, exterior mirrors with turn signals and a rear-seat center armrest with cup holders.

The Hybrid ($27,245) includes keyless entry with push-button starting, automatic climate control, cloth seats and unique wheels and color choices. The standard Hybrid Touring ($30,845) includes the Limited's standard and optional equipment.

Options for the Premium trim with the CVT automatic include the EyeSight and Starlink packages (EyeSight collision-avoidance system, adaptive cruise control, steering-responsive fog lights and upgraded 7-in audio display) and a power moonroof.

The Limited can be equipped with EyeSight, navigation, a power moonroof and keyless access with a push-button start.

Safety

The Crosstrek comes standard with an anti-lock braking system, electronic traction and stability control and electronic brake assist. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Crosstrek an overall 5-star rating; it earned four out of five stars in the front crash test, five in the side-impact test and four in the rollover test. The Crosstrek also ranks at the top of its class in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests and was chosen as a Top Safety Pick.

Behind the Wheel

Since power goes to all four wheels, there's a stability to the Crosstrek rivaling the Swiss currency. Admittedly, the engine never taxes it, but the chassis has a talent that can deal with canyon roads and dirt tracks. It's controlled, composed and fairly comfortable.

Ground clearance is 8.7 inches, which is pretty good and comes into its own when mud and ruts replace paved roads. Because of the flat 4-cylinder engine, the Crosstrek's center of gravity is the best in its class. A low center of gravity helps the feeling of stability and brings a liveliness to the ride.

Mention the letters CVT to a driving enthusiast and expect a tirade about slow responses and drivetrain drone. Put the same enthusiast in the business seat of a Crosstrek and watch them eat those words. There is no advantage to having the manual transmission. Even if there's an itch to select the occasional gear, this setup includes steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles for clicking through six preprogrammed virtual ratios.

The drive isn't without its negatives. As well as the aforementioned lack of oomph, there's a sense of detachment to the controls, like numb steering (though nicely weighted) and a numb accelerator pedal, plus some road noise coming into the cabin.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Kia Sportage -- This latest generation of Sportage is already a hit, thanks to smart styling, generous equipment levels and decent pricing. There's also a turbo version.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport -- Somewhat underappreciated, the Outlander Sport has clean lines, better audio and navigation systems and comparable standard equipment to the Crosstrek.

Used Subaru Outback -- A 2010-2015 Outback will give you similar year-round traction and good fuel economy of the Crosstrek with more interior room.

Autotrader's Advice

Go for any CVT-equipped model, and it will ultimately have better resale value. The entry-level model starts under $23,000 including destination charges, so checking the box marked CVT is probably within a potential customer's budget. For the added measure of safety, we'd also recommend going for the Premium or Limited trim with EyeSight, which also brings the 7-in audio system and SiriusXM radio.

Find a Subaru Crosstrek for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Subaru Crosstrek: New Car Review - Autotrader