2021 Subaru Crosstrek: 5 Things We Like and 5 Things We Don’t

2021 Subaru Crosstrek: 5 Things We Like and 5 Things We Don’t


The Subaru Crosstrek gets some subtle updates for 2021, including styling changes and additional driver-assistance technology — but for the price, this popular entry-level SUV is still missing a few key features.

Related: 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Review: Bigger is (Mostly) Better

The Crosstrek is a small yet practical SUV. By our comparison testing, it’s the No. 2 affordable small SUV on the market, second only to a brand-new entry to the category, the 2021 Kia Seltos. Related to the Impreza sedan and hatchback, the Crosstrek has a lot going for it; in fact, we ranked this current-generation Crosstrek the top subcompact SUV in 2018. But lately, other competitors in the class are offering cutting-edge technology and more cargo space, among other features.

Need to know everything about the latest Crosstrek? Click the related link above for our full review. But for the quick hits (and misses), below is what we like and what we don’t about the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek: 

Things We Like

1. Comfort Orientation

With softly tuned springs and shock absorbers, the Crosstrek offers a pretty comfortable ride for a subcompact SUV. The suspension provides high-speed isolation that’s comparable to vehicles in the larger compact class of SUVs.

2. Available Safety Features

Hands-on lane-centering steering is newly available in the Crosstrek, and it’s included in Subaru’s EyeSight bundle of safety and driver-assist tech, which comes on almost all variants of the car. It works alongside adaptive cruise control, and both features work from highway speeds down to a stop. Other available safety technologies include reverse automatic braking and curve-adaptive headlights.

3. Room for Riders

The front seats are large and comfortable. Ample headroom and legroom leave enough space for adult passengers in the backseat, and the backseat fits even the bulkiest child-safety seats, which are easy to install thanks to easily accessible Latch anchors and seat belt buckles.

4. Quality Cabin Materials

Interior styling may not be to everyone’s liking, but at least Subaru didn’t skimp on the interior, something other manufacturers tend to do with their entry-level SUVs. Most of the Crosstrek’s cheap plastics are down below arm level, and the points where your elbows or arms touch are well padded.

5. Top-Rated Visibility

Of all the small SUVs we tested, the Crosstrek scored best on visibility. Large windows and small roof pillars make for a relatively unobstructed view all around.

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Things We Don’t

1. Low Driving Position

Don’t be fooled by the 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the driving position of the Crosstrek seems really low to the ground — so low, in fact, that it feels more like riding in a car than an SUV.

2. The CVT

Most continuously variable automatic transmissions have outgrown a lot of the issues they’ve had in years past, but not so with the one in the Crosstrek. You can get adequate acceleration off the line, but it’s slow to raise rpm if you need to accelerate while already in motion.

3. Outdated Tech

The user interface on the 8-inch touchscreen in our test car — an optional unit, supplanting the standard 6.5-inch screen — is a bit laggy, and the display itself is somewhat low-resolution. The steering wheel is cluttered with far too many buttons, including drive-mode selectors. What’s more, all your connections will be wired: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but only the wired versions, not the wireless integration proliferating industrywide. Wireless phone charging isn’t available, either.

4. Stingy on Cargo Space

There’s plenty of room for people in the Crosstrek, but not as much space for their stuff. By Cars.com measurements, the SUV has 13.0 cubic feet of cargo space behind the backseat — not much considering the Kia Seltos boasts 16.2 cubic feet. 

5. Adaptive Cruise Control

Although the available adaptive cruise control works down to a stop, it can only hold the vehicle at a stop for a few seconds before the driver has to step on the brake. Most vehicles with such functionality these days have an electric parking brake that can engage automatically, thus holding the car at a stop for longer periods; the Crosstrek, on the other hand, has an old-school mechanical handbrake.

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