The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Has No Rival

AWD sports wagons and SUVs are cool. Period. They don’t need to be fast or fancy because they give the driver a sense of option and the ability to choose their own adventurous path. They may only drive it to and from the grocery store, school, work, or whatever their daily tasks require. The value lies in the possibilities. Not every car represents who you are. Some represent who you could be, and I think Subaru makes vehicles for the latter. For that reason, and a manual transmission, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is in a league all its own. 

What makes the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek so good?

Consumer Reports gave the newest Crosstrek a strong review that should instill confidence in any potential Crosstrek buyer. The Suby SUV/wagon/thing got an overall score of 84 from CR’s testers, earning it the No. 1 place in subcompact SUVs. Considering the next closest model was the popular 2021 Hyundai Kona with an overall score of 77, I’d say the Suby can enjoy its spot on top pretty comfortably. 

2021 Subaru Crosstrek off-roading
2021 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

The Impreza based SUV didn’t make it to these great heights alone. No. Starting with the Imprezza gave the Crosstrek a winning formula to start with. Things like good fuel-economy, smooth ride, easy-to-use controls, and a roomy cabin started the Crosstrek out on the right foot. 

What engine comes in the Subaru Crosstrek? 

As for the 2021 model, the Crosstrek got a big update in this department. The newest Sport verison gets the upgraded 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. There is still the older and much slower 2.0-liter engine, which was the only real downside to Crosstrek. 

So the addition of the more powerful engine should make choosing between the two easy, right? Wrong. Subaru is one of very few carmakers left that values the manual transmission, and the Crosstrek has one! The problem is the manual is only paired with the slow 2.0-liter engine. The 2.5-liter comes with CVT trans, which is simply less fun but faster. Ugh. 

2021 Subaru Crosstrek driving through a field
2021 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

RELATED: Subaru Fixed the Crosstrek’s Only Problem

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek also comes in a plug-in hybrid verison. The hybrid has a little more pep due to the immediacy of power from the electric motor. It can travel about 17 miles on semi-electric power if you find yourself in a bind. With all these new power options, the Subaru still boasts killer mileage for an AWD SUV. The regular Crosstrek gets 29 mpg, the hybrid gets 33 mpg. The batteries take about 2.25 hours to charge from flat. 

The rest of the 2021 Crosstrek is just as good

The handling is reported to be nimble and light. Because the Suby is a smaller SUV, you get all the handling of a normal sedan or wagon, but with the added cabin space of an SUV. The package is perfect. The Subaru keeps body roll to a minimum in the hard corners. CR even says they enjoyed driving it on the test track, which is rare for SUVs. 

2021 Subaru Crosstrek near a creek
2021 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru Crosstrek

If everything wasn’t already a highpoint, CR calls the ride comfort the Crosstrrek’s highpoint. It is plush, well-equipped, and comfortable. Braking follows the same pattern of excellence. Emergency braking distances in both wet and dry conditions were short and stable. The Subaru Crosstrek can even two 1,500 lbs in the non-hybrid versions. The hybrid can handle only 1,000 lbs. 

Although some soft-touch points are found in the well-outfitted cabin, the Subaru hasn’t forgotten its rugged and adventurous heritage. That being said, the presence of hard plastics and rubbers abound. It may feel cheap, but Subaru knows that many people plan to take their Crosstrek camping or kayaking, or some other interior-destroying activity. 

The Crosstrek may not be perfect, but it’s hard to beat

There are plenty of great small SUVs on the market today, but few compare well to the Subaru Crosstrek. It isn’t really an SUV or wagon or sedan, but something that takes cues from all three segments. The rugged, adventure-ready spirit of the Crosstrek takes it out of the comparison to a Hyundai Kona or even the great Honda CR-V. The Crosstrek offers something intangible that the others can’t; potential.