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Surprising Crosstrek is Subaru’s top-selling model.

2024 Crosstrek Is Brightest Star in Subaru Showroom

Subaru improves ’24 Crosstrek’s on-road manners and off-roading chops at an affordable price.

PALM SPRINGS, CA – Given the hundreds of millions of dollars that go into developing a new vehicle, plus the research, studies and consultants to craft a “can’t miss” product – you know, like the Pontiac Aztek, Hyundai Veloster or Mini Paceman – it is almost comical when a vehicle that an automaker thought would be a low-cost, modest-volume, niche vehicle becomes its biggest-volume, fastest seller.

That’s the case with Subaru and the Crosstrek it launched a decade ago as a slightly jacked-up Impreza and not much more. In its second year of sales in 2013, Crosstrek sold 53,741, and by 2022 sales were up to 155,142, surpassing the Outback in sales, according to Wards Data. Now that the Japanese company has remade its top-selling Crosstrek for the ’24 model year, executives say the only thing holding it back is another year of shortages on semi-conductors and other supply chain issues.

The appeal of the Crosstrek from the get-go is its affordable utility, plus Subaru’s impeccable credentials for crash safety and go-anywhere superior all-wheel-drive system. Those features are all carried forward, of course, but in a more modern package.


To give you an idea of Subaru’s quirky sensibilities, geeky engineers and tech folks who attended the press preview in Palm Springs made extra sure that we noticed the company did away with the low profile roof-rack in favor of an old-school rack that protrudes from the vehicle’s roof–one that holds 176 pounds while in motion, or up to 700 pounds when stationery—like at a campsite.

Given the fact that the average new-vehicle transactions are knocking up against $50,000, the pricing structure of the Crosstrek makes it a pretty irresistible choice for people who want practicality, utility, rugged capability off-road, and sure-footedness in winter months. Road manners are quite good, and our test off-road on some pretty steep and rutted hills revealed exceptional off-road manners worthy of a Jeep.

The Crosstrek is priced at $26,290 in the Base trim (including $1,295 in destination fees), and $27,440 for the Premium trim. Both are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. Arriving this summer will be the Sport version ($30,290) and Limited ($32,190), which have upgraded powertrains–a 2.5-liter engine producing182 hp and 178 lb-ft.

Subaru doesn’t spend money it doesn’t have to, and so both of these engines are carryovers from the previous Crosstrek, and are mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and standard all-wheel-drive system. The Crosstrek makeover coincides with the all-new Impreza on which it is based.

Subaru’s Eysight collision-avoidance system has been one of the best and earliest examples of this tech, and it has been upgraded for 2024, with a wider view for the forward-looking cameras and the addition of automatic emergency steering that can swerve within the vehicle’s lane to avoid obstructions, such as a cyclist or someone inside a parked car opening their street-side car door.

What you won’t be able to buy any longer with this redone Crosstrek for love or money is a manual transmission. And though engineers dodged the question about whether a Hybrid version would be offered, consider it 99% likely for the 2025 or 2026 model year. Bank on it. And that will be a good thing because the Crosstrek’s fuel economy is lame by today’s standards and for a vehicle this size. The 2.0-liter is estimated at 27 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined (8.7-6.9-8.1 L/100 km), while the 2.5L slips to 26/33/29 mpg (9.0-7.1-8.1 L/100 km). That’s a drop of 1 mpg (0.4 km/L) across the board compared with last year. To be able to boast a 500-mile (805-km) range, Subie installed a 16.6-gallon (63-L) gas tank, large for a vehicle this size.

Subaru’s infotainment system is pretty easy and useful. The infotainment system is fairly easy to use, with an 11.4-in. (29-cm) portrait layout. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. A wireless charging pad is optional on the Base and Premium trims and standard on higher models, and a feature that is, thankfully, becoming as standard as cupholders on new vehicles. There is an optional navigation system on the top Limited trim.


Takeaways on the ’24 Crosstrek

  • Greater body stiffness compared with previous model makes on-road manners smoother with less body roll.
  • The 2.5L engine, available this summer, will be a good choice for those not wanting to manage the lag of the Subaru CVT when accelerating.
  • Subaru’s almost peerless AWD performance in snowy road conditions has been elevated for legitimate off-roading.
  • Upgraded Eyesight collision-avoidance system with a new rear-seat reminder.
  • Front-seat passengers have large center-console cupholders that can accommodate larger 32-oz. (.94-L) bottles.
  • 19.9 cu.-ft. (564 L) of cargo space behind the rear seats.

According to Subaru’s customer research, carrying bikes, skis, kayaks and other outdoor gear is a real thing. Fishing, hiking and trekking is on the list of things Crosstrek owners actually do. So, the off-road chops are justified. With 8.7 ins. (220 mm) of ground clearance, the Crosstrek can handle more than just raked dirt roads.

In our test, we ascended a pretty steep, rocky, rutted hill trail that suggested we might need a vehicle with a seven-slotted grille. But after we pushed the X-Mode button, which channels maximum traction and gripping to all four wheels as needed, we had no issues ascending or descending. X-Mode operates up to 22 mph (35 km/h) and unlike its predecessor, the system re-engages if you exceed that speed and slow back down. The Sport trim adds Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Sand sub-settings for X-Mode, but again, we didn’t get a chance to sample that version.

Bottom Line: The ’24 Crosstrek is super-capable and a pretty tremendous value.

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