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2018 Subaru Crosstrek Review By Larry Nutson +VIDEO

2018 Subaru Crosstrek (select to view enlarged photo)
2018 Subaru Crosstrek

2018 Subaru Crosstrek
Versatile and Affordable

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Subaru was once a niche player is the U.S. car market. Not anymore! The U.S. is Subaru’s largest market, having sold just shy of 648,000 vehicles here in 2017.

Driving increased sales, an all-new, large three-row SUV, the Ascent, will go on sale the summer. Subaru’s popularity has expanded from New England to both coasts of the U.S.

Subaru’s compact SUV, the Crosstrek, is all-new for 2018. Like its sibling the Impreza, it’s built on the all-new Subaru Global Platform that’s designed to deliver better crash protection, and improved ride and handling ultimately delivering more driving pleasure.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek (select to view enlarged photo)

The new platform and uni-body structure is significantly stiffer which results not only in better driving dynamics but also reductions in noise, vibration and harshness. The exterior body is more sculpted than before and the Crosstrek has a new grille design as well as new headlights. A view towards the rear corner brings out the sloped rear hatch, making this SUV a bit more car-like and CUV-ish.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek (select to view enlarged photo)

I had a week with the new Crosstrek driving around Chicago and the surrounding area giving me a first-hand experience. Offered in 2.0i, 2.0i Premium and 2.0i Limited trim levels, I drove the top-line Limited with an exterior finished in Cool Grey Khaki.

Starting prices for each trim are $21,795, $22,595 and $26,295, respectively. Optional Eyesight Driver Assist Technology, power moonroof, navigation and Harmon Kardon 8-speaker audio added $3,445 to my media-loan test car.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek (select to view enlarged photo)

All Crosstreks get a bit more power, now with a 152-horsepower 2.0-L DOHC boxer engine. And, every Crosstrek has all-wheel drive with the choice of a 6-speed manual or a Lineartronic CVT on the two lower trims. The Limited is offered only with the CVT.

EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings for CVT models are 27city mpg and 33 highway mpg, with 29 mpg combined. Manuals are EPA rated at 23 city mpg and 29 highway mpg, with 25 mpg combined.

There’s seating for five with a 20.6 cu.ft. cargo space behind the rear seat. That opens up to 55.3 cu.ft. with the 60/40-split rear seat folded.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek (select to view enlarged photo)

2018 Subaru Crosstrek (select to view enlarged photo)

On the inside the cockpit has been upgraded with black simulated carbon fiber finish on the center dash panel as well as the front and rear door panels. My Limited edition driver had rather nice leather-trimmed seating with orange stitching. Overall there’s a higher-quality feel to the Crosstrek’s new interior. Cabin noise level is pretty good too.

The Limited has an 8-inch touchscreen display and comes with Subaru's Starlink system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Crosstrek sits up a bit tall with 8.7 inches of ground clearance. This certainly helps in occasional unpaved road adventures as well as in negotiating deep snow.

Limited trims include automatic LED low and high beam height adjustment control. Blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert are also standard. A rear view camera is standard too.

The optional EyeSight driver-assistance safety system includes adaptive cruise control, automatic pre-collision braking and lane departure and sway warning. Optional safety upgrades to EyeSight-equipped Limited trims include navigation, high beam assist which automatically activates and deactivates the high beam headlights based on driving conditions, and reverse automatic braking.

The 2018 Crosstrek, when equipped with optional EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, received the 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK award and when equipped with both EyeSight and LED Steering Responsive Headlights, received the 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

With just a bit under 176 inches of length the Crosstrek is very big-city friendly and easy to maneuver and park. Out in the wilds, the compact exterior makes for easy negotiating on a narrow trail.

I liked its road behavior around the streets of Chicago. Steering response is very good and the overall ride and handling is very comfortable. The suspension is tuned for good compliance and nice road manners. Most Crosstrek buyers are urbanized with occasional outdoorsy adventures.

For occasional off-road ventures the CVT-equipped Crosstrek has an X-Mode low-speed off-road feature, which is new for 2018. Turn it on at low speeds and X-Mode changes throttle, stability control, traction control and all-wheel-drive settings to help you get up and down slippery trails.

The engine isn’t the strongest and acceleration is a bit leisurely. I’m not a big fan of CVTs, but playing with the 7-speed manual mode and the shift paddles makes things a bit more fun and interesting. Conversely, the big strength here is low fuel consumption. And pay attention here, fuel prices are on the rising trend.

More details, specs and information on the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek can be found at

The low price of the Crosstrek surprised me, and the fact that Subaru hardly bumped the price up at all is noteworthy. There’s plenty of features and equipment on the Crosstrek making it a good value. Plus, you get the all-weather benefit. A test drive is all-important especially with the leisurely performance from the power train.

I would recommend getting the EyeSight package that is offered on Premium and Limited trims for the added safety it provides. The big rear hatch makes loading groceries easy as well as your weekend duffle bags and backpacks for that getaway.

© 2018 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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