Long-Term Review

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Ownership: Dogma

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author photo by Rob Nestora May 2019

It's almost time to return our 2018 Subaru Crosstrek, and with that in mind I decided to test the diminutive crossover's dog-friendliness with my own oversized pooch, Baloo. Going into this I was skeptical as to whether or not it would be prudent to place a massive Italian Mastiff such as my own into what seems to be a cramped rear cargo area. However, after checking out the dimensions of the cargo area in comparison with Baloo's large frame, I was confident it wouldn't hurt to try a quick ride to the market for fresh dog treats.

Bred For This

Subaru is well known for the dog-friendliness of their vehicles, and thankfully the Crosstrek is no exception. With the all weather rear cargo mat, there are no worries of muddy paws staining the cargo area floor at all. That's not to say it's the perfect pup patroller, though. The rear cargo area is a bit high for most dogs to hop in and out of without assistance. Baloo needed a bit of a boost getting in, and he's about two and a half feet tall. Medium sized, more athletic dogs might not have any issues with ingress and egress, but smaller or older dogs will most likely need assistance.

Size Matters

To say Baloo is a big dog would be a bit of an understatement -- he weighs a little over 120 pounds and his neck is as big around as a grown man's waist. That being said, my gargantuan canine bestie was able to find enough room to stand, sit, and even lay down in the Crosstrek's cargo area. I had to remove the rear cargo cover to get him in there, which required taking out the rretractable rear cover, but the entire process was completed in less than a minutes Once inside, there wasn't much room for him to comfortably move around, but the rear passenger seats did come up high enough to prevent him from jumping over the seats and moving forward into the cabin. If he was able to get past the rear passenger seats, I'd likely have to invest in a divider to keep him in the rear cargo area. Unfortunately, this would likely reduce the amount of space in the cargo area, and might make the Crosstrek's storage area no longer a feasible location for Baloo to sit in.

The Verdict

The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek performed admirably given its compact body and Baloo's full-size frame, but truth be told a slightly larger cargo area would be ideal for owners of large breed dogs. The rear seats can be folded down to create a larger cargo area, but it then reduces the amount of space for additional passengers and creates more access to the front of the cabin, which is the last place you want your pooch to end up while driving. Still, for quick trips around town the Crosstrek is adequate for my big bear of a dog, though we might not consider any road trips with my puppy pal in the near future. Find a Subaru Crosstrek for sale

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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.
2018 Subaru Crosstrek Ownership: Dogma - Autotrader