The all-new third generation 2024 Subaru Crosstrek updates the company’s subcompact crossover that debuted in the United States in 2012. With upgrades and improvements to the powertrain, structural rigidity, steering, braking, seats, interior sound deadening, infotainment system and driver safety assistance, the Crosstrek moves keep its segment leadership.
The automotive media was invited to Woodstock, New York, in the Catskill Mountains to test the smallest of Subaru’s SUVs. The experience began and ended on mountain and country roads, with a demanding and sloppy off-road drive sandwiched between. What did we learn? If you are looking to own a compact SUV that can tackle the back country with confidence, while also being a comfortable city car, the 2024 Crosstrek should get your consideration.
Two Engines, One Transmission, AWD Standard
The 2024 Crosstrek has two engine options, both of which are 4-cylinder with a boxer design of horizontally opposed pistons. Standard on the Base and Premium trim lines, the 2.0-liter is rated at 27 mpg city/34 highway/29 combined, and puts out 152 horsepower (hp) and 145 pound-feet of torque (lb.-ft.). The optional 2.5-liter found on the Sport, Limited and Wilderness trims, delivers 182 hp and 178 lb.-ft. of torque and 26/33/29 mpg. We spent our day driving the Crosstrek Sport with the larger of the two engines, where active grille shutters, automatic stop/start, a larger chassis undercover and the redesigned fenders and rear fascia all led to improved aerodynamics.
Subaru mates its Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) to both engines with driver-selectable drive modes of Sport and Intelligent. The CVT, delivering power to the symmetrical all-wheel drive system, has X-Mode and hill descent control standard on all trims. The 6-speed manual has been dropped, so if having a third pedal is your thing, best get to your Subaru dealer soon for one of the 2023s.
Clean Fleet Report was not in the Crosstrek long enough to report a fuel economy number, so come back after we have had the Crosstrek for a full week to see what it does in the real world (the 2024 Crosstrek will be in Subaru dealers in the fall of 2023).
Driving Experience: On and Off Road
Vehicles made for city driving, highway cruising and semi-serious off-roading need to find a ride and handling compromise. It can’t be too stiff when on pavement nor sprung too soft when tackling dirt, sand, mud and snow. Subaru has engineered the Crosstrek to be smooth and easy to drive on the open highway and easy to maneuver and park in the city. New for 2024, the dual-pinion electric power steering, first used on the sporty Subaru WRX, delivers a quicker response and a more natural feel of the road.
When the road became a series of moderate speed sweepers and tight corners, the suspension and the Falken 225/55 all-season tires, mounted on 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, required very small steering wheel corrections to find and keep the apex. When encountering tighter twisties, the handling became more confident, utilizing the all-wheel, all-speed traction control and the brake-based active torque vectoring. This combination helped put needed power to the correct wheel, at the correct time, even on the fastest corners where any noticeable body roll was easily manageable. There were no issues feeling planted, and the 3,332-pound Crosstrek Sport never felt heavy or unbalanced.
The Crosstrek isn’t designed or built for rock crawling but is capable of handling some messy and tough situations. When on rutted or washboard gravel surfaces the Crosstrek was not bouncy, nor were we jarred mercilessly, easily handling loose rock and gravel. That type of driving capability provides a sense of security and safety, but the Crosstrek offers far more when it is time to get dirty.
When selecting the dual-function X-Mode setting we had confidence in any surface we encountered, which for us included climbing a ski run at the Plattekill Mountain Ski Center. Arriving at the mountain a day after a heavy rain storm, the ski run was at a minimum damp and, in some parts, deep, gooey, sticky sloppy mud. Exactly what Subaru wanted us to experience.
Opting for the Snow/Dirt mode, we trusted the Subaru engineers and their development of the X-Mode system. Departing the resort at 2,400 feet, the Crosstrek Sport climbed about 1,000 feet to the top of a ski
run, during which we encountered steep sections that were different combination of wetness. Descending, we called on the hill descent control to safely drop us through some serious slop.
Taking it through the mud (videi link)
Possibly, we put the Crosstrek through challenges most owners won’t encounter on a regular basis, but it is good to know it is up to the task. If you live in an area where snow covers your roads each winter, the
traction and grip delivered by the Crosstrek will be reassuring that you will get to where you are going.
The Crosstrek has a 1,500-pound towing capacity, which is good enough for a small camping trailer or boat. If you get the Crosstrek Wilderness, that tow rating bumps up to 3,500 pounds with the added transmission cooler.
Performance wise, the Crosstrek with the 2.5L does 0-60 mph in about 7.9 seconds, which does not make it fall in the sporty category, but will get up to freeway merging speeds safely. Selecting Manual mode and using the paddle shifters can give the impression the CVT has eight gears, but doesn’t offer much extra get-up-and-go. Many people don’t like a CVT, but I do, and Subaru’s is one of the best, if not the best. It is smooth and quiet, and does perfectly what it was designed to do, maximizing fuel efficiency while also providing the necessary power and low-end torque when driving off-road.
With 8.7-inches of ground clearance the Crosstrek Sport (9.3-inches on the Wilderness) features wide arches on the aluminum fenders. Along with the rockers and front and rear facia, all are trimmed in cladding for protection when going off-road. Toss in the roof rails, which are raised a bit higher than most others, and the Crosstrek tells you immediately what is in store when owning one. Whether it’s camping, kayaking, skiing or just backroad adventuring, the Crosstrek is designed to get you there. The ladder-type roof rack is load-rated for 176 pounds when driving and 700 pounds when parked, which makes it versatile for loading cargo, but also for mounting a tent.
If you like color options, depending if you get the Base, Premium, Sport or Limited, the Crosstrek comes in 11 different shades—Crystal Black Silica, Magnetite Gray Metallic, Ice Silver Metallic, Chrystal White Pearl,
Horizon Blue Pearl, Pure Red, Sun Blaze Pearl, Offshore Blue Metallic, Sapphire Blue Pearl, Lithium Red and our favorite, Alpine Green.
Thin A-pillars and tall windows provide excellent forward and side visibility. If the rear seat head rests folded, it would increase rearward visibility, but it isn’t a big deal as most people will drop the 60/40 back seat to increase the cargo space to 54.7 cubic feet. While the rear seating area is ample and comfortable for two adults and can easily accommodate child safety seats, the Crosstrek is ideal for two on those long road trips. The power moonroof was a welcome option as was the removable rubber mat in the rear cargo area.
Depending on the model, the Crosstrek has cloth, Sport Cloth or leather-trimmed seats. The front seats are heated, with the driver getting 6-way power adjustments on all but the Base model. The front cabin is comfortable and the gauges positioned for easy viewing. A head-up display is not available.
The Crosstrek Base model comes with dual 7-inch touchscreens for audio and vehicle information, while the Premium, Sport and Limited come with an 11.6-inch multimedia touchscreen. A Harmon Kardon, 432-watt 10-speaker system is optional on the Limited and Wilderness. All the screens house the StarLink in-vehicle technology with voice-activated Tom Tom navigation. Multimedia offerings include SiriusXM/AM/FM HD radio/CD, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. USB ports front and rear and a wireless phone charger complete the connectivity features.
Safety and Convenience
The 2024 Crosstrek comes with front, seat-mounted and full side pelvis/torso airbags, along with curtain airbags with a rollover sensor, and a driver-side knee airbag. The EyeSight system, consisting of dual
cameras mounted behind the windshield and on both sides of the rearview mirror, is standard on all models. The cameras monitor forward-facing traffic conditions and help the driver see what they may miss. Either standard or available as a package on certain models, advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) include adaptive cruise control with lane centering, automatic pre-collision braking and throttle management and lane departure prevention. Additional safety features include reverse automatic braking, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2023 Crosstrek five stars, its highest overall safety rating, which should carry-over to the 2024 model. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also gave the 2023 Crosstrek its highest safety rating of a Top Safety Pick and should be the same for the new Crosstrek.
Additional safety and convenience features include automatic climate control, rear vision camera, push button start/stop, remote keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth control switches, exterior power mirrors, a tire pressure monitoring system, compact spare and 4-wheel disc anti-lock brakes.
Pricing and Warranties
The 2024 Crosstrek comes in five trim levels of Base, Premium, Sport, Limited and Wilderness. Base prices, including the mandatory destination and delivery charge, range from $26,290 to $32,190.
The 2024 Crosstrek comes with these warranties.
· Basic – Three years/36,000 miles
· Powertrain – Five years/60,000 miles
· Rust Perforation – Five years/Unlimited miles
Observations: 2024 Subaru Crosstrek
Garrick Goh, manager, carline planning for Crosstrek told the assembled automotive media that “we are happy what Crosstrek has done for us. With the car having been around for almost 12 years now, and as we are finishing up the second generation, it has been one of the most successful cars we have ever had. It has been our quickest growing model to a million (cumulative) sales.”
The Crosstrek is also the best-seller in the subcompact SUV category, offering standard AWD, two gasoline engines and a reputation for safety. The Crosstrek has a loyal customer base that sees a Subaru in their future for a long, long time.
The 2.5L Crosstrek Sport, Limited and Wilderness are built in Lafayette, Indiana, while the Base and Premium come from Gunma, Japan. The Base and Premium will begin arriving in Subaru retailers this spring, the Sport and Limited will follow in the summer and the Wilderness in the fall.
If you are the adventurous type, are single or a marriedcouple with no kids, then the Crosstrek should be high on your shopping list. You will be planning the next weekend trip even before the one you are on is finished.
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Story by John Faulkner. Photos by John Faulkner and Subaru. Video by Subaru.
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