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  • 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport (MSRP: $31,440)
  • A long history of utility and off-road mastery gives the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek a leg-up on the off-road crossover competition.
  • Pro: Super practical and capable 
  • Con: Very underpowered 
Subaru Crosstrek parked on a cliff as a hang glider takes off
2021 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is a rare type of car in the current automotive market. It’s not rare in the sense that Subaru only made a small number of them; it’s rare because it isn’t trying to do everything a car can possibly do. Our 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport review showed a simple, practical, and capable crossover that was made to get people where they need to go safely. While the Crosstrek may not have the boulder-tackling capabilities of a Jeep Wrangler, it can handedly take its driver over more of the rough track than many other similarly sized crossovers, all while being sweet at the gas station. 

While safety and practicality aren’t always the shiniest monikers, they are two of the most important aspects of a vehicle, period. Subaru’s capability tends to mean that it can rip even when the pavement stops and the rough stuff begins. 

After a week doing our 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport review starting in NYC and running around the winding roads cutting through the Hudson Valley, our Subaru Crosstrek Limited proved to be one of the finest crossovers on the market.

Is the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport a good car? 

2021 Subaru Crosstrek review shows a blue Crosstrek in the snow
2021 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

The 2021 Crosstrek Sport landed good marks across the board from Consumer Reports. Predicted reliability, road test, and predicted owner satisfaction came through with flying colors. These categories are what Subaru is all about. 

The 2021 Crosstrek is based on the Impreza hatchback. It inherits a decidedly car-like driving experience while offering more ground clearance and styling that is almost truck-like—and it also comes as a plug-in hybrid or with the newly available 2.5-liter four-cylinder borrowed from the Subaru Legacy.

Although some peppier, more expensive powertrains are available, the base-model 2021 Subaru Crosstrek comes with the old 152-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder. These base-model Crosstreks are the only ones that offer a 6-speed manual transmission option. All other powerplants come with an efficient automatic CVT. 

Does the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek look different? 

A 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is an affordable off-road vehicle
A 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is an affordable off-road vehicle | Subaru

The 2021 Crosstrek got a light refresh from the previous year’s model. There is a new front bumper and grille. While this isn’t a major change, it is only one bit of effort Subaru has put into the 2021 model that shows the attention the Crossover has gotten. 

Along with the new exterior changes, Subaru listened to its customers and gave them three new versions called the Crosstrek Sport, Limited, and Hybrid. Aside from some unique badging and pops of color inside, there aren’t many visual cues that separate the Sport model from the other trims. 

Does the 2021 Crosstrek have a nice interior? 

the interior of a Subaru Crosstrek
2021 Subaru Crosstrek interior | Subaru

The interior of the 2021 Crosstrek has the overall appeal of something that was made with quality materials but prioritized function over form. The steering wheel had a particularly nice feel. It gave the cabin an extra – if not completely subjective – level of quality feel. While there are plenty of soft-touch surfaces – like the supple armrests, in particular – there are also several hard plastic areas. Although this may not impress your friends, it is a practical choice for a crossover with adventure and exploration on the mind. 

For the 2021 Crosstrek Sport, the interior has a few unique touches, like some bright splashes of almost highlighter yellow stitching throughout the upholstery. You’ll also find “Crosstrek” written in the same fluorescent shade of yellow throughout the cabin and outside, in case you forget. Our Crosstrek in the Limited trim had leather seats with the light plash of orange stitching. 

The Subaru Crosstrek has some cool technological features

The Limited trim has multiple tech suites such as Subaru Starlink, which handles a myriad of features. The Crosstrek comes with Apple CarPlay, AndroidAuto, and an easy-to-use Bluetooth system. The basic infotainment system comes with Siri Eyes Free capability. This allows drivers to use voice commands to interact with their Apple devices connected to the system. 

The upper-trims come with sat-nav built-in, but the system isn’t the most user-friendly version in the world. It is simple enough to use if you don’t care to access any of its many features. The satnav interface has a pile of features and settings, but almost none of them are easy to find much less use. Just use your phone. It will almost certainly be easier and less chatty than the built-in job. 

All Crosstreks come with both the Aha and Pandora internet radio apps, which require a plugged-in smartphone. Models with navigation can use cloud-based apps such as Yelp and iHeart radio through the Starlink system, which is Subaru’s name for the collection of apps that drivers can choose to use. However, this requires some annoying user experience with added apps that must be downloaded to a user’s phone. 

The Crosstrek give you best of both worlds

Blue Subaru Crosstrek driving down the road with two kayaks on the roof
2021 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

The whole point of a crossover is to blend the practicality and space of an SUV with the size and handling of a sedan. However, most crossovers lean further to the SUV side of the spectrum. 

The 2021 Crosstrek is special in this regard. It leans more into the sedan/station wagon side of things while still being a Subaru with a kick-ass AWD system and a bit of a lift. This makes the fairly capable off-roader handle like a sedan. 

The steering is responsive and direct. Even with a slightly taller suspension, the Crosstrek feels planted and nimble. Even in the gravel and dirt, a driver can easily keep everything under control with help from the X-Drive setting sending power to all the right places. All that to be said, you’ll never mix a Crosstrek up with anything sporty or even kind of fast. 

Is there any power with the new 2.5-liter boxer engine? 


The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Is Slower, Uglier, and a Better Sports Car Than the 2021 Porsche Macan

That’s a hard no. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is nearly perfect. From looks and quality built to its super-capable drivetrain and comfortable ride, the Crosstrek is hard to fault. However, it is slow. Like, SLOW, slow. I’m talking about molasses in winter, slow. 

Our 2021 Subaru Crosstrek review loaner was the Limited trim with the newly-appointed 182-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine. This motor adds a much-needed 30 hp to the base-model engine. Even still, the power delivery is painfully slow, not to mention noisy. Once this sluggish powerplant starts feeling pressured, it starts whining like it’s doing something – yet, It is not. This goofy engine is surely better than the 2.0-liter, but it still takes about a full moon cycle to hit 60 mph. But, it’ll trick into thinking it’s fast because of how jerky it starts from a dead stop. 

The CVT works well, mostly staying out of the way. The CVT simulates gear shifts with relatively believable bumps. However, it is efficient. Even with the slightly faster 25.-liter engine, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek gives up an average of 29 mpg, but I got back an average of 30 mpg. Try doing that with a Wrangler. 

Is the Crosstrek Sport Cheap to maintain?

The badass bargain car theme continues. Edmunds says that the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport is just as affordable to own as it is practical to drive. The annual cost of ownership is on average just under $1,000. And although Subaru maintenance can be pricey and parts might be even worse, but thankfully this model is proving to be wonderfully reliable and rugged as the brand would suggest. Also, Subaru offers a pretty standard warranty of 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Is the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek safe? 

Subaru is killing it (excuse the mixed metaphor) in the safety department. The Crosstrek hybrid earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. This was due partly to good crash test ratings and, more importantly, to its host of safety equipment. 

Subaru’s EyeSight is a suite of safety and convenience features and is standard on all Crosstrek trims with automatic transmission. EyeSight includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assistance, and adaptive cruise control. Thankfully, Subaru did well not to make these features too overbearing and annoying. Everything can be turned off to the driver’s preference. 

All Crosstreks except the base trim, are equipped with Subaru’s Starlink. If a crash happens, the system will automatically connect to a live operator and notify first responders. This service comes free of charge for one year. 

MotorBiscuit 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport review score 8/10

Overall the Subaru Crosstrek is a marvelous crossover that offers comfort, capability, and boatloads of practical uses. On top of the day-to-day practicality of this killer AWD crossover, it also looks pretty great. Subaru did well from its eight color options to the semi-aggressive cladding to give this weird wagon-esq SUV a stylish look. After a week of charging through the wild streets of Manhattan and the knotted roads of the Hudson Valley, I can see how Subaru Crosstrek could easily be the perfect ride for many people, from outdoor enthusiasts to city commuters.

However, the sluggishness of the powertrain is a bit of a bummer and keeps this nearly perfect crossover from automotive glory. The jerky launch and disappointing top end really put a stain on the otherwise pristine driving experience. It’s for these reasons that we gave it an 8/10 overall. With a bit of snap under the hood (and keeping the manual gearbox), the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek would be close to perfection. 

If all the pros and the few cons haven’t made an impression, maybe the extremely reasonable price will. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek starts at $$22,245 and tops out with the hybrid at $35,345. The 2021 Crosstrek Sport as tested runs $31,440 including destination charge.