When Subaru promised that it had some big changes planned for the 2021 Crosstrek, we were intrigued especially at the thought of a Crosstrek that could finally have the muscle to go toe to toe with some of its rivals. Subaru has finally taken the veil off of the 2021 version and it appears that this Crosstrek has the goods to truly bring the fight to segment stalwarts.
Before we get into things, we might as well address the lone disappointment that comes with the 2021 Crosstrek, power. When the Crosstrek Sport was unveiled, we were curious to see if it would come equipped with an engine that would finally allow the Crosstrek to be on par with some benchmarks in the segment. Subaru has confirmed that an all new 2.5 liter four cylinder engine will be equipped to the Sport as well as the range topping Limited models. The bigger engine is good for 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, but it’s still a bit short of breaching the 200 horsepower barrier which has become a relatively crowded piece of real estate in the CUV segment. Meanwhile, the Base and Premium grade models prefer to keep things simple, and comes equipped with the carryover 2.0 liter four cylinder from last year’s model, which is good for 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. The Base and Premium models retain the standard six speed manual gearbox, but will still offer the option of being equipped with a CVT. As for the Sport and Limited variants, a CVT will be the only offering available. All models will come with standard all-wheel drive, and the 2.5 liter is also fuel conscious, with the engine capable of achieving up to 29 mpg in combined driving. For those that are curious, the 2.0 liter rates in at 25 mpg combined with the manual, and a whopping 30 mpg when equipped with the CVT.
The CVT also serves as the ticket required to access the bulk of the new technology that has also made its way to the 2021 Crosstrek. Like the larger Outback wagon, all CVT equipped Crosstreks arrive with the off-road focused X-Mode feature, as well as standard hill descent control. The Crosstrek borrows more goodies from its corporate siblings, with an SI drive mode selector also coming along for the ride. This particular dial allows buyers to choose from either Sport or a custom focused Intelligent mode. Safety is also paramount with the Subaru EyeSight system bringing lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning. Opt for the Limited model, and the safety parachute becomes even bigger with automatic high beam assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist and more.
The interior is largely carryover, with the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capable infotainment system carrying over from last year. That’s not a bad thing, with a standard 6.5 inch touchscreen adorning the default system. Buyers can upgrade it to a bigger 8.0 inch unit for sharper graphics, and faster loading speeds. The rest of the interior is mostly carryover, but Subaru designers have added some extra splashes of color, especially on the Sport model with yellow accents being used on the steering wheel, carpet floor mats with the yellow Sport logo, yellow stitching scattered through out the cabin, as well as yellow Crosstrek logos that are stitched into the headrests. The Limited changes things up a bit, and brings orange contrast stitching with black or gray leather being splashed through out the cabin. The exterior has not changed very much, but tweaks have indeed happened. Sport models in particular amp up the Crosstrek’s playful demeanor, with extra cladding around the wheels, all new 17-inch wheels finished in dark grey, gunmetal accents on the front grille, side mirrors, and badging.
Subaru did not reveal pricing for the 2021 Crosstrek lineup, but the company did reveal that the model will go on sale later this spring. We suspect that pricing will not change too drastically much from the 2020 model, and that should help the 2021 Crosstrek still be a formidable sales force for Subaru especially when it comes to reaching young buyers. The 2021 Crosstrek will have its work cut out for it though as it tries to ward off threats from Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.