Lyons on Wheels
2021 Subaru Crosstrek
MSRP: $22,245 (base) As Tested: $31,440 (Limited)
Sponsored by Capitaland Subaru
Crosstrek gets a styling refresh, a new model, and an available engine upgrade for 2021. Style-wise, the Subaru’s rugged hatchback vibe remains intact. All models get a redesigned grille and front bumper. From low to high, the trim choices are now Crosstrek, Premium, Sport (new for 2021), Limited and Hybrid. All models are all-wheel drive, and the lineup’s starting prices range from $22,245 – $35,345.
Most notable among the model year changes is the new engine option. Subaru’s 2.0L “Boxer” four cylinder remains the power source for the base and Premium models. The four makes 152 horsepower and 145 lb.-ft. of torque, and is paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or available, CVT automatic. EPA fuel economy is estimated at 28/33/30 (CVT). Sport and Limited models are outfitted with a 2.5 litre four cylinder motor. Borrowed from its Subaru siblings, the 2.5L, is rated at 182 h.p. and 176 lb.-ft. of torque, and is matched exclusively to the CVT. MPG estimates are 27/34/29, and I logged 23 during my test week. The 30 horsepower increase makes a noticeable difference in the car’s performance. Where the base motor’s 0-60 time is rather leisurely (low 9 second range), the 2.5 shaves that to about 8 seconds. So equipped, Crosstrek feels more lively, especially when passing or making highway merges. Both engines are vocal at wide open throttle, but they quiet quickly as you ease off, and cruise easily. Crosstrek’s suspension was retuned for the 2021 model year. It holds the road well and rides comfortably. My test drive coincided with a snowy period here in the Capital District, and Subaru’s AWD system performed admirably. Crosstrek sits a little higher than some of its competitors. Not so high as to be hard to get into, but the added clearance beneath doesn’t hurt when the snow starts piling up.
The interior has a function-first design. The infotainment system is accessed via 6.5″ touchscreen on base and Premium trims. Sport trim and up have an 8″ screen. All systems are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 8-speaker, 432 watt, Harmon-Kardon sound system in my Limited tester was highly impressive, but it’s only available as an option on the top trim. Cargo capacity ranges from 20.8-55.3 cu.-ft., depending on how you configure the seats. That’s about average for the segment, and lift over height in back is comfortably low. There’s just enough room for a six footer to sit behind a like-size front passenger. I found the front seats a little short on lumbar support, but seat comfort is a subjective matter, and reasonable backs may differ.
Eyesight is a package of driver assist technology. Standard on all models equipped with CVT, it includes automatic, pre-collision braking, lane keeping assistance and – new for 2021 – advanced, adaptive cruise control with lane centering. Staying with safety, I’ve long felt that blind spot monitoring should be considered a “must have” for all drivers. On Crosstrek, it’s standard on Limited, optional on Premium and Sport.
A 40 year resident of the Capital District, Dan Lyons is the author of six automotive books, and photographer of more than 200 calendars.