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With its tough exterior, standard AWD, and nearly nine inches of clearance, the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek is ready for some offroad crawling. But, like the Forester, the Crosstrek is a crossover SUV that handles like a car. And its configuration feels more like a hatchback than an SUV.

If you’re interested in this versatile Subaru, you’ll also want to know what kind of tech it offers. Apple fans, for example, will want to know if it’s equipped with Apple CarPlay. And what other infotainment and connectivity features does the Crosstrek have? 

Staying connected and entertained in the Subaru Crosstrek

All trim levels of the Crosstrek come standard with Subaru’s STARLINK infotainment system. It has Bluetooth and smartphone compatibility, roadside assistance, and stolen vehicle recovery.

Pandora and Aha Internet radio plus built-in, voice-activated navigation system also come standard. The system allows wireless pairing and hands-free smartphone operation. Accompanying the Crosstrek’s multimedia system is a 6.5-inch LCD touchscreen display, an audio system with four speakers, a front-seat USB input port, a 3.5-mm auxiliary jack.

The next trim level up from the base model Crosstrek, the Premium, adds a CD player and SiriusXM satellite radio. Buyers who want to upgrade can get 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability and a six-speaker sound system on the Premium, Limited, and Hybrid trim levels.

Subaru also adds some interesting apps to its infotainment system on these higher trims. There’s EVEConnect, which enables you to control your smart home devices such as lighting, heating, and cooling.

An app that’s exclusive to Subaru is eBird, which tells you what birds to look for in your location and helps you find great birding destinations based on a database of millions of bird sightings.

The Limited and the Hybrid models are equipped with infotainment features that build on the Premium trim with a more sophisticated 8.0-inch touchscreen with multi-touch-gesture capability and dual USB ports in the front row. A more advanced STARLINK system with navigation and voice controls is available, as is a premium eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

It’s clear that Subaru has provided the Crosstrek a solid infotainment platform, no matter which trim level you choose. But before we answer the question of whether the Subaru Crosstrek has Apple CarPlay, we’ll look briefly at what this software has to offer.

Why Apple CarPlay is a big plus for any car

Launched by Apple in late 2014, CarPlay is software that connects your iPhone’s functionality to your car’s built-in infotainment system. It’s compatible with iPhone versions that go back as far as iPhone 5. You control Apple CarPlay through Siri voice control, your car’s touchscreen, or hardware such as knobs, dials, or other controls. 

A wide range of Apple apps are available with CarPlay, making it easy for you to stay informed, entertained, and connected while you’re driving. For example, you can get turn-by-turn directions to your destination, because apps such as Apple Maps, Waze, and AutoNavi are available. Using Apple’s virtual voice assistant, Siri, you can make and receive calls, send and reply to SMS text messages.

The Apple Calendar app is now on CarPlay’s home screen, so you can also check your appointments on the road. Apps such as iHeartRadio, Spotify, Audible, and Overcast allow you to listen to music, podcasts, and audiobooks. CarPlay even supports some Google apps such as Google, Google Maps, and Google Play Music.

For the 2019 iOS 13 release, Apple added Dashboard to CarPlay as an alternative to the home screen. It displays a split layout of maps, Siri suggestions, calendar, or media information.

Having CarPlay is not only convenient but it also makes for less distracted driving, according to Apple and the American Automobile Association.

Although the American Automobile Association warns that in-car infotainment tasks are somewhat distracting regardless of what infotainment system drivers use, software such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto responds to user commands faster than the car’s built-in infotainment system. 

Does the Subaru Crosstrek have CarPlay?

Because all Crosstrek models have smartphone compatibility, the answer is yes. This Subaru SUV has both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto installed. For iPhone users, it’s good news: they can just connect their devices and hit the highway or, maybe, the trail.

The base Crosstrek starts at$23,155. Buyers can get the Premium model beginning at $24,205 and the Limited starting $28,405. All three of these models have a 152-hp four-cylinder engine. The Hybrid also has this engine plus a plug-in battery that has a range of 17 miles on electricity alone. This model starts at $36,155.