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If you are looking for a subcompact SUV that does not compromise on performance in both on road and off-road settings, look no further than the Subaru Crosstrek. The Crosstrek has gained attention over the course of the last few years with lovers of the crossover genre in the United States for its fantastic value for money, versatility and nifty Impreza-esque handling.
 

The 2020 Crosstrek proved to be a massive success for Subaru in the States. However, with options for a larger engine than last year’s model, Subaru promises that its 2021 model will be the most fun-to-drive Crosstrek ever. Added to the Base, Premium, Limited and Hybrid trims comes the latest in the series: the Sport. Said to possess cat-like handling that makes it perfect for on-road and off-road action, its updated interior and exterior design are perfect for those who want just a little more in the way of all-terrain capability from their subcompact SUVs.

With so much to get excited about with Subaru’s latest incursion into the subcompact SUV market, it is worth taking a look into what it is that looks set to make the 2021 version of the successful Crosstrek range one of the best-selling cars of its genre this year and next.

2021 Crosstrek Exterior Design

The 2021 Crosstrek certainly looks the part when it comes to off-road style. While little has changed about the gorgeous design on the Base, Premium, Limited and Hybrid trims, Subaru has built on what was already a fantastic exterior design with the alterations it has made to the newest member of the family: the Sport. The Crosstrek Sport may not look much different, but on closer inspection, you will notice a new tough-looking gunmetal-colored front grille as well as redesigned light inserts and covers. The wing mirrors are gunmetal to match the front grille. These are small changes, but they have a transformative effect, making the Sport model look like it was born to tackle tough stretches of trail.

In addition to the seven exterior shades that Subaru offered on last year’s Crosstrek, the Sport trim can now be had in two attractive new colors – Plasma Yellow and Horizon Blue Pearl. The wheels on the Sport model have been upgraded to new sports-specific 17-inch wheels with machine-finished black alloy. The wheel arch moldings have also been raised slightly to give more clearance, while the cladding has been tweaked to give it a more angular and rugged appearance that makes the Sport look as at home on the road as it does off.
 
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2021 Crosstrek Interior Update

The all-new Crosstrek features an exclusive revamped Sport interior design. Complete with yellow stitching and the Sport logo, the new model receives Subaru’s StarTex upholstering, which gives this year’s iteration a much improved sporty look. The signature yellow stitching can be found on the leather door trim panel armrests, leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift boot, multifunction display visor, and center console storage box lid. The dashboard and instruments have also been updated to receive this yellow color scheme. Adding to this look is the simulated carbon-fiber accents and gunmetal pieces that can be found around the interior.

The Sport trim also includes the full range of features that are included in Subaru’s flagship Limited trim. You get keyless access with a push-button start, a six-way power driver’s seat and the same STARLINK 6.5- inch Multimedia Plus system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that were found in last year’s model. If you want to upgrade, you can pay extra for the larger 8-inch screen, which comes as standard on all the more expensive Legacy models, giving you everything you need to make sure your driving experience is as comfortable as it is exhilarating.

Available as standard from the Premium trim up is an all-weather package that includes heated seats, dual USB ports, an improved sound system, a leather-upholstered steering wheel and gearstick handle and headlights that turn on automatically. The flagship Limited trim includes LED steering-responsive headlights which track the direction of the car’s wheels and LED fog lights.
 
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The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek gets a new engine

If there was one criticism that could have been leveled at last year’s model, it regarded the reliable yet unspectacular 2.0-liter engine. Listening to feedback from customers who bought the 2020 Crosstrek, Subaru has added a completely new engine to this year’s Sport and Limited trims. The Japanese car giant has vastly improved the power output on these 2021 models with the introduction of a powerful 2.5-liter direct-injection SUBARU BOXER® engine into the picture.

The new engine features Subaru's characteristic horizontally opposed four-cylinder arrangement, generating a hugely impressive 182 horsepower and an impressive 176 pound-feet of torque. This represents an increment of 30 horsepower and 31 pound-feet of torque over the 2.0 liter engine included in last year’s models. This increased power gives you more prowess on the highway as well as helping to vastly improve the car’s off-road performance to help you get further off the beaten track on your vacation adventures.

The 2021 Crosstrek Base and Premium will continue to use the same efficient 2.0-liter 4-cylinder BOXER engines used in last year’s models.

At this moment in time, Subaru has yet to provide any updates on the upcoming plug-in 2021 Crosstrek Hybrid. As a result, we remain unsure as to whether there are any major changes in the pipeline until we are further informed.

Transmission options on the 2021 Crosstrek

All versions of the 2021 Crosstrek come with Subaru’s signature mechanical full-time symmetrical AWD as standard. In great news for people who prefer manual transmission to automatic, Subaru has announced that all models of the Crosstrek will be available with a 6-speed manual transmission as well as Subaru’s Lineartronic® CVT transmission.

All Crosstrek trim levels come with X-Mode, which includes Hill Descent Control for improved performance in low-friction and off-road conditions, as standard on all CVT-equipped models. Also standard on CVT models is the SI-DRIVE, a powertrain performance management system that gives the driver the freedom to adjust the vehicle’s throttle characteristics by switching between ‘Intelligent’ and ‘Sport’ modes. The Intelligent mode works to save fuel by smoothing out accelerator inputs, while the Sport mode tunes the throttle to prioritize performance.

All models of the Crosstrek are mechanically identical in almost every single way, although the Sport model is equipped with a dual-action X-Mode drive selector which features Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud settings. This setting gives drivers the ability to use selectable settings to optimize AWD performance, making the Sport model the ideal vehicle for people who live in rural areas where seasons are extreme. All CVT-equipped models with the exception of the Base include an 8-speed manual mode function. This mode is complemented by the steering wheel paddle shifters which allow the driver to shift gear through eight preset ratio settings as if they were driving a manual. In a move that in some ways makes up for the absence of this mode, the Base features a Low Shift Mode which can be flicked on to give the driver more control when descending hills.

Fuel Economy of the new 2021 Subaru Crosstrek

Despite its larger engine, the new Crosstrek has made few notable sacrifices when it comes to fuel economy when compared to previous years’ models. Subaru claims that the 2.5-liter Crosstrek is rated at 27 miles per gallon when driving in the city, 34 miles per gallon when driving on the highway. This amounts to a combined fuel efficiency rating of 29 miles per gallon.

The 2.0-liter engine running on a CVT transmission achieved 28 miles per gallon when driving in the city, 33 miles per gallon when driving on the highway and 30 miles per gallon combined. These numbers are reduced markedly in models using manual transmission, with Subaru reporting a fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon when driving in the city, 29 miles per gallon when driving on the highway and 25 miles per gallon combined.

Safety Features we know and love

Subaru believes that advancing safety is about anticipating danger before it arrives. This is why it has built every Lineratronic® CVT-equipped Crosstrek to feature its EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology as standard. As one of the first safety systems of its kind, it continuously watches the road, alerting the driver of dangers and hazards and even intervening if necessary to brake suddenly or steer the vehicle away from a potential collision. The system also ensures that the vehicle will brake to a safe stop automatically in the event of collision.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek also features sophisticated lane departure prevention. It uses advanced technology to watch the markings on the road. When it detects that the vehicle is drifting out of a lane or toward the edge of the road, EyeSight® can alert you before you leave your lane and with the Lane Keep Assist feature, it can even intervene and automatically steer the vehicle back into the center of the road.

All models also come with advanced adaptive cruise control which automatically keeps the vehicle a certain distance away from the car in front using braking to help the driver stay with the flow of traffic. EyeSight® will respond by reducing the throttle and applying the brakes if the vehicle in front comes to a sudden stop, greatly reducing the risk of becoming involved in pile-ups on the highway or hitting the back of the cars of indecisive drivers at junctions. There is also an option that allows the driver to pre-set this distance according to their preferences.

Especially useful on busy roads and highways, Subaru’s Blind-Spot Detection is a technology that watches over the driver’s shoulder and warns them about any potential dangers coming from behind. It uses radar sensors located in the rear bumper to detect when a vehicle is approaching in the driver’s blind-spot. On detecting a vehicle, it will then flash up a warning in the wing mirrors to alert the driver of the danger.

This same technology is employed in the Crosstrek’s lane-change assist function which alerts the driver to the presence of a car traveling at high speed in an adjacent lane and lets them know when it is safe to change lane. Blind-Spot Detection and rear cross-traffic alert are optional on the Premium and Sport models but come as standard on the Limited model.

CVT-equipped models also come with the Rear Seat Reminder function, which is designed to help ensure that the driver does not forget the presence of child or pet by reminding them to check the trunk or rear seats before exiting the vehicle.

All in all, EyeSight® and the other safety features on the Crosstrek help to add an extra layer of driver confidence and safety which makes driving a much more pleasant and anxiety-free experience. The technology is part of the reason why the Crosstrek consistently rates highly in third-party road safety assessments such as the IIHS Top Safety Pick awards.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Price

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is set to be released in late summer, and the different trim models will be available through a tiered pricing model. Although we are not yet certain of the exact price structure, it is estimated that prices for the 2021 Crosstrek remain close to the prices of the 2020 models. It is probable that we will see prices in the region of $23,000 for the Base, $24,000 for the Premium, $28,000 for the Sport, $30,000 for the Limited and $36,000 for the Hybrid.
 
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Conclusion

Subaru has improved upon a subcompact SUV offering that was already impressive in 2020 model. With the new engine in the Sport and Limited models, the power and torque of the Crosstrek has been markedly improved. The Sport model also includes a revamped exterior design that means that it is more at home on the trail as well as housing stylish upgrades to jazz up its interior. Overall, it is easy to see why people are so excited by this year’s iteration of the Crosstrek. With its emphasis on style, performance and safety, we firmly believe that it will be one of the big hits of 2021.
 

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