We’ve always loved the Subaru Crosstrek, which has been one of the best small crossovers in its segment, but there was also one thing we wished that Subaru would address – its engine. The Crossrek has always appealed to buyers that wanted a small crossover (aka lifted wagon), with lots of features and an easy to swallow price, but no one has ever said that it was sporty.

2021 subaru crosstrek review

With a 2.0-liter flat-four under the hood, 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque isn’t very much power to get the Crosstrek moving down the road. Well Subaru has finally addressed our concerns with the 2021 Crosstrek, which is now available with a new 2.5-liter flat-four, that’s borrowed from the Forester, Legacy and Outback.

The new engine generates 182 hp and 176 lb-ft. of torque, which is a nice additional 30 hp and 31 lb-ft. over the smaller engine. The engine is a welcome addition to the Crosstrek, where it now gives the Crosstrek the power it needs to take off from a stop. The improvement is more noticeable at highway speeds where the new engine gives the Crosstrek more power to pass and merge other cars on the road.

The new engine doesn’t turn the Crosstrek into a performance crossover, but it gives the Crosstrek the power it needs to get around town easier with less drama. We do still wish that the Subaru gave the Crosstrek a bit more power than even the new 2.5-liter provides.

2021 subaru crosstrek review

Also don’t forget that the Crosstrek comes standard with all-wheel drive.

The other good news is that the 2.5-liter engine is only slightly less fuel efficient than the 2.0-liter. It’s rated at 27 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined, compared to the 2.0-liter that’s rated at 28/33/30 mpg.

The 2.5-liter is only available with a continuously variable transmission, unlike the smaller engine which is available with a six-speed manual. We have mixed feelings about the CVT, since it is better than some rivals, but it’s simulated gear shifts feel a bit off.

Our other gripe is with the Crosstrek’s steering which has very little feedback, but it’s basically what you’d expect in this segment.

2021 subaru crosstrek review

Inside the interior is spacious and comfortable. The front bucket seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of room in the backseat for taller riders. Getting in and out of the Crosstrek is easy too with the Crosstrek’s elevated seats. The layout of the dashboard is pretty simple with materials that are slightly better than some of the Crosstrek’s rivals. Although we do feel that the overall design does look a bit dated.

The infotainment system gets an 8-inch touchscreen on higher trim levels, while the cheaper versions get a smaller 6.5-inch display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the lineup and a Harman Kardon audio system is available.

On the safety front, CVT-equipped Crosstrek models get Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance tech, which includes features like, automatic emergency braking, lane departure alert, a lane-centering system and adaptive cruise control.

The Crosstrek is offered in Base, Premium, Sport and Limited trim levels. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek starts at $23,295 for the base model with the 2.0-liter engine and a six-speed manual transmission. The Sport and Limited trim levels come standard with the 2.5-liter engine. The Crosstrek Sport starts at $27,545, while the Limited starts at $27,995.

At the end of the day, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is a great, rugged subcompact crossover. It’s car-based DNA gives it a nice carlike driving experience, but its high ground clearance makes it perfect for buyers that want a small crossover. On top of that, the new engine makes it even sweeter.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
Performance
Infotainment System and Tech Features
Fuel Economy
Value
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Marc Carter is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of The Torque Report. When he's not writing news or reviews for The Torque Report, he also contributes to Inhabitat.com.