Here’s a quick trivia item the next time you want to impress your car-nerd friends. The Subaru Crosstrek is the fastest-selling car the company has ever built, eclipsing more than 1.1 million units since its debut as a 2013 model. And the owners of Subaru’s smallest crossover/hatchback/thing are more likely to recommend it to friends than any of its key competitors, including the Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V, and Toyota Corolla Cross.
So with a new Crosstrek arriving for the 2024 model year, Subaru had to be very careful to add to the crossover’s appeal without alienating its loyal fans. TL;dr, if you like your current ‘Roo, you’ll have little to complain about with the new one. With nearly identical pricing, performance, and dimensions as the outgoing model, the 2024 Crosstrek maintains its predecessor’s value-oriented appeal.
Verdict updated in May 2023 following a seven-day loan. A vehicle's ratings are relative only to its own segment and not the new-vehicle market as a whole. For more on how Motor1.com rates cars, click here.
|Quick Stats:||2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium|
|Output:||152 Horsepower / 145 Pound-Feet|
|Fuel Economy:||27 City / 34 Highway / 29 Combined|
|Base Price:||$24,995 + $1,295 Destination|
Gallery: 2024 Subaru Crosstrek: First Drive
Same Flavor, New Wrapper
It might be hard to pick a 2024 Crosstrek out of a lineup due to its slightly revised styling, but there are a few clues. The grille is now frameless, allowing the wing motif under the Subaru badge to break free of its former hexagonal mold. It now reaches out to the headlights, which are smaller than before to balance out the larger taillights. Proportions are largely the same as the old Crosstrek, with wheelbase, width, and length changing very little and height remaining identical.
Perhaps the most “Subaru” thing about the Crosstrek is that it was designed from the outset to look good with roof accessories mounted. The company is proud of its eye-catching roof rack, which deliberately stands out rather than appearing sleek and streamlined. Whether that’s a good thing or not depends on how much the beholder likes mountain man drag – I dig the cantilevered roof rails, not gonna lie.
Inside, the Crosstrek is a more significant departure from its predecessor. All trims save the base model get an 11.6-inch, vertically oriented touchscreen display in the center stack, which dominates the dash design with a monolithic, tech-forward focus. But the rest of the cabin follows a more outdoorsy tack, with tough-feeling seat upholstery and liberal use of hard plastics except on the door armrests and center console lid. It’s not luxurious in the slightest, but it is class-competitive and has a sort of functional flair, like Carhartt workwear.
And like cargo pants, there are tons of big, deep pockets throughout the interior. Subaru says that 24-ounce Hydroflask bottles fit in the doors, while you can squeeze two 32-ounce Nalgenes in the armrest storage. The rear seat gets a pair of big door pockets, and the corners of the cargo area are intended to serve as bowls – dog-tested, dog-approved indeed. Speaking of, even the 19.9-cubic-foot luggage compartment gets some design thrown at it; a miniature Crosstrek climbing a mountain is embossed on the hatch trim, while the standard cargo floor liner is styled to look like a rushing river.
Take The Scenic Route
The 2024 Crosstrek will be available in four trims, with two engines. The base and Premium models come only with a 2.0-liter flat-four, while the later-availability Sport and Limited get a 2.5-liter unit standard. Both mills have been revised for the new Crosstrek with a new engine cover, some redesigned internals, and lighter-weight oil. The seemingly minor changes had a palpable effect on the refinement of the Premium model I drove on- and off-road, with far less of the high-rpm thrashing that I’ve come to expect from naturally aspirated Subarus.
But try as they might, those revisions can’t overcome the penalty of lugging around 3,296 pounds of all-wheel-drive crossover with only 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. The base engine does fine around town, but ask it to climb a big hill or merge onto a freeway and you’ll soon learn the value of patience. Although the Crosstrek 2.0 isn’t dangerously slow, it’s not anything close to athletic either. At least the CVT goes about its business smoothly, with simulated gear changes and no tendency to drone.
If you’re willing to avoid the interstate, you’ll have a lot of fun in the Crosstrek, especially if those alternate routes turn to dirt and rocks. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and excellent approach and departure angles, the Subaru is a natural on rough roads. Subaru representatives said the car isn’t really intended for folks who love off-roading itself, instead serving as a tool to get them to their actual hobbies of hiking, camping, biking, etc. But in spite of that tepid vote of confidence, I came away very impressed with the Crosstrek’s capabilities on a rough, tank-trapped stretch of dirt and loose rock.
The company’s X-Mode off-road drive setting lives in the center touchscreen, and when it’s active, the Crosstrek does an excellent job of routing torque to the wheels with grip. The system actively brakes a spinning wheel to imitate a limited-slip differential, which means there’s some lag between encountering an obstacle and actually crossing it, but if you keep your foot on the accelerator, the system will sort out what to do and grapple its way over. It’s simple, accessible off-road fun, and I can only imagine how entertaining the Crosstrek would be with some all-terrain tires and aftermarket underbody protection.
Still A Value Proposition
With a base price of $26,290 including $1,295 destination, the 2024 Crosstrek costs the same as its predecessor when equipped with a CVT – the cheaper and rarely optioned six-speed manual is no longer available. That’s also true of the $27,440 Premium model, which Subaru expects will be the volume trim. It makes me happy to see that price creep isn’t welcome in the Crosstrek camp, especially since the new model comes with more standard features than its predecessor, including useful items like adaptive LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, and EyeSight driver assistance.
Speaking of, the active safety suite worked very well in my day on the road, with a wider field of view for the monocular camera than before. That means it can tackle freeway curves and keep tabs on traffic in adjacent lanes more accurately, providing a smoother driving experience than before. EyeSight also includes automatic steering collision avoidance – if a car comes to a stop on the edge of your lane, the Crosstrek will scan for approaching traffic using the standard blind spot monitors and actively avoid the offending party ahead. I didn’t test it out, but it sounds like a sophisticated piece of tech for a sub-$30,000 car.
I also found myself repeatedly impressed with the amount of equipment my Premium tester had. Equipped with the $2,245 all-weather package, my car’s sticker price slotted in at $29,685. That seemed like a great value for something with heated seats, a full suite of active safety, and a big touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Adding to the value is EPA-rated fuel economy of 27 miles per gallon city, 34 highway, and 29 combined.
The leather-equipped Honda HR-V EX-L AWD is a bit pricier at $30,695, offering a more spacious cabin but a smaller infotainment screen and less ground clearance, as well as worse fuel economy at 27 mpg combined. The $29,800 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE is another spacious foil for the ‘Roo, but it too has a less impressive tech suite and limited off-road appeal.
Subaru knows it has a good thing going with the Crosstrek, which is why so little has changed in the transition from second to third generation – including the price. With small-but-comprehensive improvements appearing throughout the vehicle, the automaker has given its famously loyal customers all the more reason to return. As for my inner hoodlum, I genuinely had fun behind the wheel of the Crosstrek when the going got dirty. Although not even slightly logical, that’s the best reason I can think of for picking a Subaru instead of something else.
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2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium