Subaru Crosstrek spices it up with muscular Sport mannequin
Subaru designers modeled a mountain climbing boot after they sat all the way down to form the newest Outback SUV. Rugged entrance finish. Blocky, black side-cladding.
So it solely is smart that the Outback’s little brother, the 2021 Crosstrek, appears like a trail-running shoe.
The brand new Subaru has beefier black cladding throughout. The entrance grille lattice is true off a New Steadiness shoe. The chunky, charcoal fenders mimic a operating sole. Even the 17-inch wheels are wrapped in a higher-profile tire.
All that’s deliberate as a result of, like sporty footwear, the Crosstrek itches to be taken off-road. I obliged, lacing up the Crosstrek and flogging it over the gravel and valleys of center Ohio. Sure, Ohio. Flip south from the pancake flat terrain of Nice Lakes Detroit and Toledo, and Buckeye nation will get extra hillier because it approaches the Appalachians.
That is acquainted nation to your hillbilly West Virginia-born reviewer who spent a lot of his youth trekking backwards and forwards from Charleston to center Ohio to autocrosses, race tracks and hill climbs in the proper seat of my father’s sports activities automobile. Hurtling by the nation, the street journey may very well be as thrilling because the race occasion.
For 2021, the Crosstrek affords a Sport trim for the primary time, following the Impreza Sport hatchback and the Outback Sport (now known as Onyx). The Sport comes after Crosstrek has spent the final eight years crushing it, promoting over 750,000 models as America switched from sedans to utes. Crosstrek gross sales at the moment are greater than double that of stablemate Impreza hatchback.
It’s about time Crosstrek acquired a Sport possibility.
The thought behind the Sport/Onyx trims is to intensify signature mannequin options. The Impreza Sport amplifies the hatch’s sporty taste with low-profile, sports activities car-like wheels, blacked-out grille and tightened suspension. It’s a hot-hatch wannabe.
The Crosstrek Sport (just like the Outback Onyx) is a special animal. That shoe-like cladding tells the story.
Barreling alongside between cornfields on gravel-strewn, pothole-pocked county roads, the Crosstrek Sport is a blast. Its commonplace all-wheel drive claws for grip, whereas the International Platform structure that underpins the Impreza and Crosstrek continues to impress. I grew to become a convert in 2017 after I whipped the Impreza hatch over the difficult twisties of San Diego’s Cuyamaca Mountains.
The Crosstrek isn’t any much less spectacular regardless of mountain climbing up its skirts to three.5 inches larger off the bottom. At 8.7 inches the Crosstrek Sport isn’t fairly a Jeep Wrangler (10.7-inch floor clearance) however it’s the greatest in school — two inches larger than my different subcompact ute all-star, the Mazda CX-30. Which appears nothing like a trail-running shoe.
The modern Mazda can be simply as completely satisfied if it by no means noticed a gravel street. Its athletic stance is extra suited to asphalt the place it devours each different small SUV on the planet.
Nonetheless, the CX-30 acquired Subaru’s consideration. The Mazda boasts a best-in-class 186-horse 2.5-liter 4-banger. Subaru appeared in its toolbox and realized it had a type of, too. Its 182-horse, 2.5-liter has been a mainstay because the Outback’s commonplace engine. True to Subaru DNA, it’s additionally a compact Boxer engine (like that present in a Porsche Cayman) that helps decrease the high-riding SUV’s middle of gravity.
Stuff it within the Crosstrek — and voila! — extra spring within the trail-running shoe’s step.
Subaru says this could fulfill its rising “overlander” buyer base — people who need to hit the paths however are in search of one thing extra reasonably priced (and extra snug) than a Jeep Wrangler. The Crosstrek Sport nonetheless can’t match the Wrangler’s’ 270-horse turbo-4, however the 182 horses is a pleasant step up from the usual Crosstrek’s 152.
The Crosstrek’s improved appears and energy are icing on the cake, as a result of the bottom ute is so dang beneficiant.
Crosstreks get a number of love from shoppers, which interprets into the phase’s highest resale worth. It’s straightforward to see why. This factor is loaded with commonplace goodies. The usual-features struggle is intense nowadays with rivals like Honda and Toyota providing pre-collision brake-assist and blind-spot help commonplace. Subaru takes a barely differ tack with its “Eyesight system” that features each day necessities like pre-collision braking after which provides keyless ignition, adaptive cruise-control and lane-keep assists for 2021.
Readers of this house know I believe adaptive cruise-control a should (and manifestly lacking on some vehicles just like the $78,000 Chevy Suburban I just lately drove).
Managed with two cameras on both aspect of the mirror (no radar brick within the grille), the system is one of the best self-driver this aspect of a Tesla or Mercedes. I’m not making this up. In low-speed site visitors or at cruise on the interstate, the $27,000 Subie self-drives with minimal enter from the motive force. Boosting its off-road cred, the Sport mannequin provides X-mode which enabled me to focus on steering over steep terrain with out touching the pedals — the automobile managing velocity by itself.
I final used that on a Jeep Wrangler. Adventurous Subaru followers will flip over it.
Crosstrek and Mazda are each loaded in the usual options division, including generosity to their ample personalities. Subaru doesn’t try to compete with Mazda’s depraved luxurious inside, however the Sport trim does step up its recreation with yellow-stitched, faux-leather seats embroidered with “Crosstrek.” (Subaru desires you to know no bovines had been harmed within the making of this automobile’s seats.)
The yellow theme is echoed by a gold insert within the steering wheel. The devices are nothing fancy, however the necessities are all right here – large knobs for navigating infotainment, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for navigation, and helpful storage bins within the middle console.
In parallel with its rugged ethic, Subaru is also happy with its 5-star NHTSA security score and inexperienced credentials. Reminders abound. After I turned off the Crosstrek’s default auto-engine shutoff, lane-keep alert and traction-control buttons, avatars for all three lingered within the instrument show — like nannies wagging their fingers.
Small hassle. Above all, Crosstrek Sport desires you to have enjoyable.
Pop the rear hatch and the rear cargo space is roofed in a rubber mat, encouraging you to throw soiled stuff again there. The sturdy roof rails beg for a bicycle or kayak. The rear seat room is beneficiant so you possibly can convey alongside your 6-foot mates.
I wager they’ll might be sporting trail-running footwear.
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport
Automobile kind: Entrance-engine, all-wheel drive, five-passenger SUV
Worth: $27,545, together with $1,050 vacation spot payment
Powerplant: 2.5-liter Boxer 4-cylinder
Energy: 182 horsepower, 176 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Constantly variable automated
Efficiency: 0-60 mph, 8.2 seconds (mfr.); towing, 1,500 kilos
Weight: 3,265 kilos
Gas financial system: EPA, 27 mpg metropolis/34 freeway/29 mixed (1.2-liter)
Highs: Off-road cred; extra energy
Lows: Lags Honda HR-V competitor in cargo/leg room
Total: 4 stars
Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit Information. Discover him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @HenryEPayne.