Car Review: 2021 Subaru Crosstrek gets new nose and power boost under the hood

Subaru has been making the small Crosstrek crossover for some time now, and it has proven to be a popular ride.

With rugged styling, flared fenders and better-than-normal ground clearance, it promises a little more off-road ability. For 2021, there is an updated look with a new grill design and even some snazzy new wheels.

Under the hood is perhaps the single biggest change — a more powerful 2.5-liter boxer engine for the Crosstrek Limited model that I drove. Now with 182hp, it was easier to merge in  traffic.

Better yet, the cabin didn’t feel cramped with all the seats filled as it did in previous Crosstrek models. It’s surprisingly spacious for such a small crossover, but while the passengers have room, the rear cargo space is not as large as others in this class.

The 2021 version excels with its comfortable ride — the suspension will soak up a lot of punishment. The AWD system makes this a very sure-footed small crossover, too. The EyeSight system impresses with safety and technology in this price class.

Inside, the Subaru Crosstrek Limited has a nicely-equipped interior. The leather seats are supportive and the orange stitching adds a splash of color. There is an easy-to-use multimedia system with an 8-inch touch screen. There are even knobs for tuning and volume control.

Cost: $27,995; as tested $31,440.

MPG: 27 MPG City; 34 MPG Highway. I managed 25.6 in 207 miles of mixed driving.

Options: $2,395 power tilt/sliding moonroof with Starlink 8.0” multimedia NAV and Harmon Kardon premium audio.

Safety: Rear vision camera; X-mode with hill descent control; EyeSight driver assist technology with advanced adaptive cruise with lane centering; high beam assist; steering responsive LED headlights; brake assist and brake override system.

Things to know: Subaru keeps its popular Crosstrek up to date with a styling refresh and some extra power under the hood. The Crosstrek Limited gives buyers a more upscale vibe in this small Subaru.


  • A welcome bump in power for the Limited trim level
  • Has good ground clearance and AWD for some light off-roading
  • Good space for front and rear seat riders


  • Not as much cargo space as some other small crossovers
  • Some road noise at highway speeds but better than in the past
  • Fuel economy is a bit disappointing and less than the sticker
Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up