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The Subaru Crosstrek has been on a tear, racking up sales over the last decade and even earning a spot among the best resale value SUVs of 2023. But you don’t have to get the top trim to have a good experience with the 2023 Crosstrek. In fact, the cheapest Subaru SUV may have all the features and capabilities you need. 

What’s the difference between the Base and Premium Crosstrek?

Rear view of a white Subaru Crosstrek, the cheapest Subaru SUV, with a hot air balloon floating in the background.
Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru of North America, Inc.

The cheapest Crosstrek has nearly the same features as the Premium Trim, apart from a few differences. Both models offer a standard manual transmission, the 2.0-liter Boxer engine, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and manually adjusting seats. The Crosstrek Premium gets some upgrades like orange upholstery stitching and heated seats – but not much more. 

If you can live without those two features, the Crosstrek Base will suit you just fine. It sits right in the sweet spot, with all the comfort and convenience you need but none of the unnecessary fluff. 

1. Higher ground clearance than Impreza means superior all-terrain performance

Edmunds states that the Crosstrek Base comes out of the box with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, beating the Impreza’s 5.1-inch clearance. 

Subaru bases its cheapest SUV on the same basic body and platform as the Impreza compact car. It’s not hard to see the similarities if you look closely. The two models have the same headlight casing, the same grille shape, the same tail light design, and the same general silhouette. But while the Impreza might be the cheapest Subaru overall, it’s the cheapest Subaru SUV that has better capability.

The Impreza is no slouch, using the same powertrain and drivetrain combination as its big brother. But the Crosstrek gets a slight capability edge with its additional 3.5 inches of ground clearance. This height advantage makes the Crosstrek a better option than the Impreza for mild all-terrain use or “soft-roading.” 

2. No up-charge necessary for all-wheel drive

The Crosstrek Base comes standard with Subaru’s robust symmetrical all-wheel drive system. 

Unlike rival crossovers, you don’t have to pay extra to get all-wheel drive in the Crosstrek. Symmetrical all-wheel is standard equipment for the cheapest Subaru SUV on the market. There’s no premium upcharge to get better handling and traction. 

Subaru’s all-wheel drive system has a reputation as one of the best systems of its kind. It’s renowned for its snow and winter weather stability and even helps produce better dry-weather handling.

3. Necessary creature comforts, none of the fluff 

Base models aren’t what they used to be – the Crosstrek Base has plenty of amenities like Apple CarPlay, cruise control, heat and AC, and vehicle dynamics control. 

Not long ago, base versions of cars and SUVs were pretty spartan. You were lucky to get AC or power windows. By comparison, the Crosstrek Base is a plush ride with all the comforts you need for daily errands, commuting, or road trips. 

4. The last manual-transmission Subaru SUV (for now)

The 2023 Crosstrek Base is the last Subaru SUV you can buy with a manual transmission. 

Subaru has unveiled the redesigned 2024 Crosstrek, and there’s no stick shift option. Until now, Subaru has always offered the base Crosstrek with a manual transmission option that enthusiasts have enjoyed far and wide. It even has a six-speed unit that provides better highway cruising comfort than the five-speed found in the Impreza. 

While Subaru may bring back the manual transmission down the line, the 2023 Crosstrek appears to be our last chance to snag a stick-shift Subaru SUV

How much is the 2023 Crosstrek Base?

The 2023 Crosstrek Base is a good value with a starting price under $25,000. It’s the cheapest Subaru SUV available today.

Actual pricing for the base Crosstrek varies with destination charges, dealer fees, etc. However, its sticker price is well under $30,000. That’s a great bargain when considering how many features are standard. 


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