There are only a handful of cars that make me look forward to bad weather. The Jeep Wrangler, most full-size 4×4 pickups and the Chevrolet Tahoe are just a few. The Subaru Crosstrek is on that list too, but at a lower price than the others on my list. The starting price is about $22,000. That includes all-wheel drive. It’s that AWD plus the Subaru Crosstrek’s elevated ride height that make me enjoy running through puddles. Occasionally, I can feel the AWD system working as it sends power to the wheels that are slipping. Granted, the Crosstrek isn’t up to Jeep Wrangler or Chevy Tahoe levels of off-road performance. Standing water or big puddles on I-285 are more within the Crosstrek’s core strengths. 8.7 inches of ground clearance helps and means even a little mud, snow or mild off-road trails are easily tackled by the Crosstrek.
Some owners (including our own staff) have mentioned they wish the Crosstrek had more power. I think it’s adequate. Sure, a 2.5-liter turbo would be fun, but I’m getting 28.8 miles per gallon in combined driving (the EPA estimate is 29 mpg combined) and not having to get gas all the time is really great bonus. That being said, I think the power in the Crosstrek is fine. It has a lot of power right off the line (or maybe it’s geared like that) and if you really do keep your foot on it, it’s true, the power does drop off a bit. Still, it’s good for passing and hills and I find the sound of the engine reassuring.
If there’s a weak link in the chain, it’s the transmission, which is a continuously variable transmission. Most of the time, the transmission, combined with the flat-four engine, adds to the Crosstrek’s lively feel. However, in parking lots and other low-speed situations, the transmission seems confused, not knowing if it should hold the engine at a higher RPM or allow the engine to move the car using a lower engine speed. It only comes up once in a while — mainly, in crowded parking lots.
In the real world, the Crosstrek does everything a small SUV should: It hauls cargo, handles inclement weather, provides a decent level of comfort and tackles the unpaved trail with a little more attitude than a more “on-road” oriented small SUV. Find a Subaru Crosstrek for sale
Check out our 2018 Subaru Crosstrek New Car Review