Admittedly, it was a bit of a stretch calling the ruggedized Subaru Impreza Crosstrek a crossover utility, but it has sure behaved and sold like one. And now for ’18, it gets an all-new chassis that debuted last year in the redesigned Impreza. So let’s find out if there’s more for us to like in one of our favorite little Subarus.
Ever since we first drove the all-new Subaru Impreza last year, we’ve been counting the days until this one arrived, the all-new 2018 Subaru Crosstrek.
It still has the same basic look of an Impreza hatchback with added ground clearance and cladding; but riding on a longer 104.9-inch wheelbase, its overall length is now ½ an inch longer. It is also almost a full inch wider, which gives it more presence and stability, plus helps it feel much roomier inside.
So we were a little surprised to see that some interior measurements are actually down; but the extra wheelbase does allow for more rear seat legroom which is much appreciated.
It seems to have come at the expense however, of cargo space, as it falls from 22.3 cubic-ft. to 20.8. Max volume is way up however, from 51.9 to 55.3 cubic-ft.; and it’s all accessed via a wide opening hatch that allows for super easy access.
We’ve spent a lot of time in the outgoing Crosstrek, as we’re wrapping up a 12-month long term test. And if you were following along at home, you’d know that some additional power was high on our wish list.
And indeed we did get it, but just barely. It’s the same 2.0-liter flat-4, but it adds direct-injection among other tweaks to raise output by all of four horsepower, to a still modest 152, with the identical 145 lb-ft. of torque. The result is perhaps a little more adequate, though still far from thrilling; but hey, we’ll take anything!
Standard transmission is now a 6-speed manual; but most will be Cross trekking with an updated CVT automatic as in our test car. All-wheel-drive remains standard.
At our test track, it all translated to a leisurely 0-60 time of 10.0 seconds flat. That’s actually 2-tenths slower than the original XV Crosstrek we tested.
It feels strong off the line, but quickly settles into its eco-minded CVT mediocrity. Eventually, we cleared the ¼ in the same 17.5-seconds as before, at 79 miles-per-hour.
On the handling front, all Crosstreks now get Active Torque Vectoring, and it certainly helps things on curves; feeling brisk and grippy through the cones. We had to push plenty hard before finding notable understeer; and as soon as it arrived, it was swiftly dealt with by stability control. Steering is light and quick with just enough feel through the wheel.
With an average stopping distance of 110-feet, brakes are quite good; despite some mild fade after repeated runs.
Like the updated exterior, the interior looks much better as well; with the same basic layout getting a redo with nicer materials and much easier to use standard Starlink multimedia system. Our only wish, and this is a repeat, a little more seat comfort.
As before, the Crosstrek feels solid and capable; whether eating miles on the slab, or tackling some light off road terrain. But like most Subarus, they could have gone a little farther with noise control.
The Active Torque Vectoring helps it feel better on curvy roads as well; and when combined with the noticeably quicker steering, it makes for a much nimbler driving experience.
And of course, Subaru’s comprehensive and highly-regarded EyeSight Driver Assist Technology is available.
Base pricing is up about a hundred bucks over last year, starting at $22,710 for a base 2.0i; with top level Limited starting at $27,210.
Call it an SUV if you must, but the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is a great little hatchback that delivers exactly what most people are looking for in a compact utility; go-anywhere capability with enough room for taking along the necessities. It may not be measurably better in every way, but then it didn’t need to. Now, if luxury is high on your wish list, look elsewhere. But, if you’re a typical small-car buyer, with lots of exploring to do, and need a rugged runabout to do it in; the Crosstrek should be at the top of your list.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 145 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 10.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 17.5 seconds @ 79 mph