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2019 Subaru Crosstrek: New Car Review

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek continues to offer compact car buyers all the elements they’re looking for in an affordable small car, but with the added advantage of 8.7 inches of ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive. While the Crosstrek is categorized as a compact crossover SUV, technically it’s just a lifted Impreza 5-door with some additional cladding, the X-Mode off-road traction system and fancier wheels. As such, the Crosstrek is able to offer off-road performance on par with vehicles like the Jeep Compass Trailhawk and Toyota RAV4 Adventure, but with the ride comfort and amenities of a compact car. And, despite its standard AWD, the Crosstrek’s fuel economy tops the segment in both city and highway driving when equipped with the optional CVT automatic transmission. The Crosstrek’s price is also highly competitive, as is its advanced suite of available EyeSight driver safety assists.

What’s New for 2019?

Changes to the 2019 Crosstrek are limited to some equipment shuffling. The EyeSight system is now available on the base 2.0i with the CVT, while EyeSight with reverse automatic braking and high beam assist is made standard on the Limited trim. The Premium’s 6.5-in Starlink audio gains SiriusXM satellite radio and a single disc CD player. Later in 2019, Subaru plans to release a plug-in hybrid Crosstrek that promises better mileage and performance. See 2019 Subaru Crosstrek models for sale near you

What We Like

Good fuel economy; excellent safety scores and resale value; available EyeSight driver assists; huge rear seat; improved infotainment system; real off-road capability; numerous dealer accessories

What We Don’t

Slow to reach 60 miles per hour; seats lack adjustable lumbar support; EyeSight not offered on manual transmission cars

How Much?


Fuel Economy

The Crosstrek offers only one engine choice: a 2.0-liter boxer flat-4 rated at 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is standard on every grade. On cars with a manual transmission, the AWD system uses a mechanical viscous coupling center differential that evenly distributes power 50:50 front to rear. Models equipped with the CVT automatic use a more advanced electronic system that can vary torque distribution for better traction. CVT-equipped cars also feature X-Mode with hill-descent control.

When equipped with the 6-speed manual, the Crosstrek earns an EPA-estimated 23 miles per gallon city and 29 mpg highway. Adding the optional CVT automatic improves these figures to 27 mpg city/33 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek comes in three trims: 2.0i, 2.0i Premium and 2.0i Limited. A 6-speed manual is standard on the 2.0i and Premium, while the Limited comes standard with a CVT automatic transmission that’s optional on the other two trims.

The Crosstrek 2.0i ($22,870) comes with a 6-speed manual transmission, raised roof rails, 17-in alloy wheels, power side mirrors, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, 6.5-in Starlink touchscreen radio with four speakers and a USB/iPod port, Bluetooth, a rearview monitor, air conditioning, cruise control, multi-function display and a tilt-telescopic steering column. Eyesight and the CVT transmission are the only options.

The Crosstrek 2.0i Premium ($23,870) adds fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, the All Weather package (heated front seats, heated side mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer), auto on/off headlights, illuminated visor vanity mirrors, a rear cargo tray and retractable cover, upgraded Starlink audio with two additional speakers and color-keyed side mirror caps. Optional equipment for the Premium comes only when the CVT automatic is added, which also includes X-Mode. Options are bundled into packages and include the EyeSight driver assist suite (automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist), a power moonroof, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Notable dealer add-ons include a Rockford-Fosgate speaker and amp upgrade, remote start, protective side molding, a rear bumper cover, mudguards and remote start.

The Crosstrek 2.0i Limited ($28,170) adds the CVT automatic transmission with X-Mode, EyeSight, leather seating, a power driver’s seat, automatic climate controls, steering wheel paddle shifters, an 8.0-in touchscreen radio with SiriusXM, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, reverse automatic braking, 18-in alloy wheels, LED steering responsive headlights, high beam assist, integrated side-mirror turn signals, a 4.2-in color LCD display, a 6.3-in color multifunction display, keyless access with push-button start and PIN-code access and a folding rear armrest with cupholders. Options for the Limited trim include a Harman Kardon audio system, navigation and a power moonroof.


Subaru equips every Crosstrek with anti-lock brakes, electronic traction and stability control, a rearview monitor and seven airbags including front, front side-impact, front and rear side curtain and driver’s knee airbag. The Crosstrek features a wealth of available safety options, including Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist that includes adaptive cruise control, automatic pre-collision braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. Steering-responsive headlights and high-beam assist are available to help drivers see in dark conditions, while reverse automatic braking helps avoid accidents when backing up.

In crash tests, both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) give the 2019 Crosstrek top marks in almost every category, with a 5-star overall rating from the government and a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS when equipped with the EyeSight system.

Behind the Wheel

In addition to last year’s visible restyling inside and out, the 2019 Crosstrek actually consists of 95 percent new parts over the original XV Crosstrek that debuted back in 2013. The 2019 Crosstrek is also the fourth vehicle built off of the Subaru Global Platform structure, with the other three being the 2019 Impreza, Ascent and Forester.

While the Crosstrek isn’t a track star, it has just enough muscle to get you where you need to go. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter directed-injected 4-cylinder boxer engine providing 152 horsepower to the wheels. While 152 doesn’t sound like a tremendous amount of horsepower, at no point in the mountains of South Dakota did the Crosstrek feel like it was straining to conquer steep inclines — even in the higher elevations.

Behind the wheel, Subaru’s tiniest SUV failed to disappoint once again, as it felt nimble and ready for whatever the winding mountain roads could throw at it. Even the steering wheel felt perfectly designed and comfortable in my hands as I transitioned from secluded rural roads to the tourist congestion of Mount Rushmore.

Off-road is where Subaru’s tiny crossover really shines. We had an opportunity to test out the Crosstrek’s symmetrical all-wheel drive and X Mode’s prowess at a rock quarry while driving some of the sketchiest hills I’ve ever traversed. Admittedly, the experience was exhilarating, and even somewhat shocking. At no point did the Subaru feel loose or unsure as it steadily climbed the mini-mountains of loose rock, giving the driver confidence in a situation that was far from ideal. But what goes up must come down, and in turn the Crosstrek and myself were forced to descend a hill consisting of small stones that were constantly tumbling, shifting and sliding. In addition, the grade was so steep that when I approached the edge of the precipice, I could no longer see the descending path in front of me. This is where the capability of the Crosstrek’s hill-descent control came into play. As I let my foot off the brake gently, the tiny crossover slowly made its way down a hill that I was unable to navigate on foot without falling. The descent was careful, agile and downright awe-inspiring.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Jeep Compass — The Compass offers similar power, interior room and features, plus the trail-rated Trailhawk trim. But the Compass’ fuel economy, reliability and resale numbers are not as good, nor are its available driver assist features.

2019 Honda HR-V The HR-V offers a choice of front– or all-wheel drive, has a lower base price and holds its value nearly as well as the Crosstrek. However, the HR-V doesn’t offer the Crosstrek’s extensive list of driver assists on every trim, and it can’t venture too far off road.

2019 Hyundai Kona — The Hyundai Kona offers a turbocharged engine, loads of standard and available equipment plus a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. The Kona’s interior is much smaller than the Crosstrek’s, however, and it’s still too new to talk about reliability or resale numbers.

Used Subaru Outback A 2015-2016 Subaru Outback offers more power, more interior room and more features, but the same 8.7 inches of ground clearance, Subaru AWD setup and excellent safety and resale figures.

Autotrader’s Advice

While we love the idea of the Limited trim’s rocking Harman Kardon stereo, leather seats and a power driver’s seat, we think the best value is the 2.0i Premium with the EyeSight and Moonroof package, Rockford-Fosgate speaker upgrade and CVT automatic transmission. However, if you’re a lover of auto high beams, built-in navigation or automatic climate control, you’ll have to pony up some extra cash and opt for the Limited. Find a Subaru Crosstrek for sale

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