The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek and the Impreza it’s based on have come a long way in just a few years. In 2012 we said this about our long-term Subaru Impreza Sport: "The stereo still uses a pixelated black-and-white display. Satellite radio is absent from our long-term car. And there’s certainly no center-mounted touchscreen like in some similarly-priced rivals."
And that car remained mostly unchanged until 2017, when the Impreza got a total redo. Tech was always one of the few things we DIDN’T like about Subarus.
However, for 2018, the Subaru Crosstrek shows just how far the company has come. Other than Volvo, there aren’t a lot of new cars with Apple CarPlay that allow you to use the hands-free in-car feature without having to switch back and forth between CarPlay (or Android Auto) and the car’s native controls. In the Volvo vehicles, the Apple screen fits inside the existing touchscreen setup. It’s an elegant solution to a very frustrating problem.
That’s also why it’s all the more impressive that Subaru has found a way to make the most of Apple CarPlay. The dual-screen setup means you can navigate using Apple Maps via iPhone AND keep tabs on your phone call and Apple Music, Spotify or Pandora station. Essentially, you don’t have to flip back and forth every time a new song starts and you want to know the artist name and track title. I do wish the USB port in the center-console storage box was lit so I could easily find it in the dark.
In addition, the available Harman audio system sounds good. It’s not perfect, as the midrange and highs sound like they bleed together too much — I’m betting this is the result of a cost-effective speaker and not the internal hardware/software. Bass response is very good, and it’s that well-controlled punchiness that gives the system a high-end vibe overall.
If low-tech was your reason for not considering Subarus in the past, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the new Crosstrek. For the first time in a long time, Subaru got the tech just right. Find a Subaru Crosstrek for sale
Check out our 2018 Subaru Crosstrek New Car Review