2017 Subaru Crosstrek review with video

The basics:

The basics: Base price: $24,995 + taxes
As tested: $29,795 + taxes
Average fuel economy during our road test: 8.6 L/100 kms (27 US MPG)
Competition: Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3, etc.

The Crosstrek was released in 2013 as a subcompact crossover with some decent ground clearance and a great all wheel drive system. So it’s meant to give buyers a balance between a small city car that can also skip down an old logging road on the weekends.
But the Crosstrek now finds itself in a segment that’s gotten a lot more crowed since it first arrived. It had a pretty substantial facelift in 2016 but its underpinnings are the same as what we’ve had since 2013 and there’s a brand new take on the Crosstrek coming for 2018. So in the meantime, we picked up a 2017 Crosstrek from Subaru Calgary for the week to see if it’s still a relevant choice for buyers or if it’s better to wait for the redesign. Take a look at our full video review above and then scroll through our list or pros and cons below.

Pros:

– The Crosstrek has a clean, minimalist dash with a great balance between real knobs and touch screen inputs. The Outback could learn a thing or two from this layout!
– It’s great that all trims come standard with a manual gearbox which will make this car a bit more interesting to drive (the Eyesight package must come with a CVT however)
– Great fuel economy in our week of driving. Subaru suggest 7.2 to 9.1 L/100 kms (and we averaged 8.6 L/100 kms). That’s a far cry from a compact hatch like the Honda Fit but this has a great all wheel drive system, a bit more space and increased ground clearance. If you’re looking for the Crosstrek hybrid, though, it was discontinued in 2016
– Nice to have a bit more ground clearance than the Impreza (220 mm, same as Forester or Outback)
– It has a Top safety pick rating from the IIHS
– Also has great retained value with the Crosstrek named top compact car for resale recently

Cons:

– While the handling is excellent in the Crosstrek, ride quality is quite rough
– The ride is quite noisy as well – hitting 67 dB at 100 kms/h during testing
– The 2-litre non-turbo engine doesn’t throw down much power. The Crosstrek feels pretty gutless when accelerating from a stop, passing or going up a steep grade. The manual transmission would probably help as CVTs do tend to zap some of the performance out of a car
– There are certain features that we missed. Even on the higher trims, the front seat adjustments aren’t motorized, there’s no auto lift hatch and you only get a proximity key or push button start on the Limited trim with Technology package – all features that are becoming more main strem among comepitors
– Head room in both the front and back seat will max out for taller adults above 6’3. And while second row seating is less cramped than expected, rear facing car seats are a real squeeze
– While the Crosstrek’s 632 L of cargo is larger than the new Impreza’s at at 589 L, it is actually a much less usable trunk. You’ll find it fills us quickly – as our standardized trunk test in the video above demonstrates
– The 60/40 split rear seats don’t offer a pass through option for long items like skis

Family Wheels report card:

Family Wheels driver comfort score: 3/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 4/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 3/5 (67 dB at 100 kms/h)
Family Wheels performance score: 3/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels trunk score: 3/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 4/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels value score: 4/5

Family Wheels overall score: 34.5/50= 69%

5 comments

  • Steve

    Great reviews with one niggle… could you switch to listing milage in Imperial (“Canadian”) Miles Per gallon.

    • pkarchut

      Hi Steve… the US MPG rating is a nod to our viewers to the south (of which there are many). But, of course, my standard measurement is the Canadian default of L/100kms. Thanks for watching!

  • Matt

    Can you do a 2018 Crosstrek review? Subaru just moved it to the global platform, supposed to be much smoother and quieter. I’m torn between a Forester, Outback, or Trek! Thanks!

    • pkarchut

      Hi Matt… we should be getting into the new Crosstrek within the next month. Keep your eyes peeled!

      • Matt

        That sounds awesome. Any chance you could review the 6MT version also? It unfortunately maxes out at the Premium trim which means no cool things like the LED headlights or HK audio (which I’m deeply disappointed about).

        But I’ve heard such good things about the move to the global platform… just don’t know if my two kids in a booster and child’s seat will be squashed in the back. We’ve got a 2011 Outback right now but we also have a third row SUV we picked up a year ago for all our family adventures. So it wouldn’t have to be long distance driving smushed in the rear seat, but would be curious if I can fit an adult between two car seats in the middle seat or three adults in the back if there were no seats!

        Thanks again. Looking forward to your reviews. Biggest complaint I’ve heard is the CVT is underwhelming (2.0 FB20 engine) but the manual makes it a lot more fun.

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