Eric's Autos: Reviewing the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek
When everyone makes a crossover SUV, how do you make your crossover SUV stand out?
First, you split the difference between compact-sized crossovers like the Mazda CX-3 and mid-sized crossovers like the Honda CR-V. You give it a roomy back seat -- and a roomy cargo area -- but a small overall footprint. Next, make all-wheel-drive standard. It's generally optional in other-brand crossovers. Then give it class-leading ground clearance -- almost 9 inches -- and make the standard AWD system more capable and performance-oriented than rivals' available, but less-capable, systems. Give it a low center of gravity -- by fitting it with a flat four engine that's hunkered down in the chassis -- so it's not tipsy in the curves, despite being able to ford creeks and handle serious snow. Offer all that with a manual transmission -- something that's becoming as rare in crossovers as smoking lounges at airports.
Result? A crossover that's not "just another one."
What It Is
The Crosstrek is Subaru's entry-level crossover SUV. It is larger and roomier than most of its compact-sized competition, including models like the Mazda CX-3. It also offers much more capability than compacts like the Honda HR-V, which has much less ground clearance (6.1 inches) and an optional AWD system that's not as capable as the Crosstrek's. Crosstrek's prices start at $21,795 for a base 2.0 trim with AWD and six-speed manual transmission. A top-of-the-line Limited trim with AWD and continuously variable (CVT) automatic stickers for $26,295.
The 2018 Crosstrek is new from the wheels up.
It's the only crossover in this class that offers a manual transmission and AWD together. It's significantly more ground clearance than any crossover in this class. It's priced about the same as smaller inside (or less-capable off-road) crossovers like the CX-3 and HR-V.
What's Not So Good