Crossover & Midsize

The Subaru Crosstrek Is Getting a Major Powertrain Boost

Subaru Crosstrek fans are finally getting their wish. The automaker recently announced that the popular subcompact crossover SUV is getting a powertrain upgrade. When will the new powertrains arrive? What options will Crosstrek fans have? 

The current Subaru Crosstrek powertrain

As of the 2020 models of the Subaru Crosstrek, the powertrain is a 2.0-liter flat-four engine that puts out an underwhelming 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. It’s loud but not proud. The distinct lack of power makes achieving the speed you need on the highway a challenge. Whether you go with the standard six-speed manual transmission or the optional automatic version, it really doesn’t improve the situation.

Car and Driver tested an automatic 2020 model and found it took 9.2 seconds to get up to 60 mph. The plug-in hybrid version was slightly faster, they discovered. It was 0.9 seconds quicker than the gas-powered model.  

New for 2020 is a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The ride is composed and offers solid steering, making this an SUV that navigates corners and handles well. The suspension is firm but not overly so, and it provides a smooth ride. 

A boost in power

According to MotorTrend, a new more powerful engine is coming to the 2021 Crosstrek. Subaru of America CEO Tom Doll announced at a recent NADA convention in Las Vegas that a new 2.5-liter engine is coming to Crosstrek this year. It will be available for the upper trim levels. The 2.0-liter engine will still be the engine for the standard models.

Doll explained that the beefier 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine will be available with the new Crosstrek Sport trim, and it will also be available with the upscale Limited trim. It’s assumed that the standard Crosstrek and Premium trim level will both have the same 2.0-liter engine. 

The CEO went on to explain that they took their customers’ suggestions seriously when they said the Crosstrek didn’t have enough power with the weaker 2.0-liter engine. The automaker hopes that with the more athletic 2.5-liter engine, the problem will be resolved for Crosstrek fans. Based on other 2.5-liter engines made by Subaru, we can estimate at least around 180 hp, which is a lot more competitive than the current engine.

The boost will help the Subaru Crosstrek in its class. While it wasn’t the fastest compact SUV, it also wasn’t the slowest. MotorTrend tested and found the new CVT-equipped Crosstrek reached 60 mph faster than some of the competition including the Honda HR-V.

The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek

The Subaru 2019 Crosstrek Hydrid is seen at the 2019 New England International Auto Show
The Subaru Crosstrek | Paul Marotta/Getty Images

With its rugged good looks and higher stance, the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek feels more like a car than an SUV.  Like many Subaru vehicles, it has standard all-wheel drive. For now, you can choose the gas-powered version with the 2.0-liter engine or the plug-in hybrid that has an electric range of 17 miles. The Subaru Crosstrek offers great value and includes almost everything you’d expect in an SUV.

A lot was added to Crosstrek for the 2020 models; you’ll find automatic climate control and a new collision-detection automatic door unlocking system that are both going to be standard across all models.  The Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) modes are also included standard. 

The mid-level Premium models now offer six-way power-adjustable driver’s seats along with keyless entry and push-button start. There are new LED fog lamps on the Limited trim level which also offers rear-seat USB charging ports in with the hybrid version. The auxiliary input jack and the front-seat USB port moved to the bottom of the center stack from their previous position at the center console. 

Also, the doors now lock automatically as soon as the vehicle reaches 13 mph. 

Offering great value, true off-road capability, and upscale space and character, the Subaru Crosstrek is a favorite in its class. With a stronger engine for next year’s models, the popularity of the Crosstrek can only grow.