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2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review: Same Price, Solid Updates, No Manual

The Subaru Crosstrek dominates the competition and has become the automaker’s fastest-growing model line ever. Subaru hopes to keep that momentum with the third-generation Crosstrek.
2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review(Photo/Paul Eisentstein)
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Subaru’s Crosstrek model is a reasonably affordable way for buyers to buy into the automaker’s line-up of crossovers. That helps explain why it’s been the most successful new model in the brand’s history since bursting onto the scene 11 years ago. Indeed, demand for the outgoing model continued to grow even in the months before a third-generation Crosstrek was set to debut.

That helps explain why the Japanese automaker has played it safe with the 2024 model, making only modest revisions to its exterior and interior design and carrying over the same powertrain options — albeit dropping the slow-selling manual gearbox option. But the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek does get some welcome updates that should further enhance its appeal.

In short: Subaru’s subcompact Crosstrek crossover gets a major makeover for 2024 — though you might not notice at first glance. The automaker plays it safe in terms of styling, but there are still plenty of reasons to appreciate the third-generation SUV with its two powertrain options, some appealing new technology, and features that enhance its behavior, both on-road and off.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek

Specs

  • Engine 2.0L DOHC Boxer Four
  • Transmission CVT; AWD only
  • HP/Torque 152/145
  • MPG 29/27/34 City/Highway/Combined
  • Cargo 20 cu. ft. (55 with seats down)
  • Towing 1,500 lbs.

Pros

  • AWD in all trims
  • Larger touchscreen
  • New features with EyeSight advanced driver assistance system
  • Improvements to off-road capabilities
  • Base price carried over
  • Some versions will now be produced in the U.S.

Cons

  • Second engine not available until summer 2023
  • Base 2.0L engine doesn’t offer much grunt
  • Manual transmission dropped for 2023

2024 Crosstrek: Playing It Safe

Subaru has developed something of a cult following over the years, especially in snowier climes like New England, Colorado, and the Pacific Northwest. And the Crosstrek is one of the reasons. With the outgoing model starting at $26,290 — including delivery fees — it’s a reasonably affordable subcompact crossover that delivers good looks, offers two powertrain options, and enough off-road capabilities to satisfy most potential buyers. All versions also come with all-wheel-drive (AWD).

In terms of sales, the Crosstrek has been the fastest-growing model in Subaru of America’s history. And that helps explain why the automaker took an understandably cautious approach to bringing out the third-generation model.

The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek doesn’t stray very far from the outgoing crossover, especially when it comes to looks. And it retains the same powertrain options but for dropping the low-demand manual transmission. But it does make some welcome improvements, starting with a stiffer body, some subtle improvements to its off-road capabilities, and a large new touchscreen to operate the Starlink infotainment system.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review rear three-quarter
(Photo/Paul Eisentstein)

3rd Gen Crosstrek: Subtle Exterior Revisions

Subaru revealed the 2024 Crosstrek at this year’s Chicago Auto Show and weeks later invited us for a first drive through the scenic Joshua Tree National Park near Palm Springs. During our trip, we had the opportunity to put the crossover through its paces, albeit briefly, on an off-road desert course.

But first, a look at the updated design. Casual observers might not even distinguish the new 2024 Crosstrek from the second-generation package, despite Subaru’s claim that the exterior is a bit more angular.

Up front, the biggest change comes with the elimination of the old frame around the brand’s trademark hexagonal grille. It also gets subtle changes to the headlights. There also are new air inlets up front designed to reduce turbulence around the front wheels that can cause body sway at highway speeds.

Base models ride on 17-inch wheels, with the Sport and Limited grades switching to 18-inch alloy wheels. 

Stiffer Body, Roomy Cabin

Under the skin is where the real changes have been made. The 2024 Crosstrek features the use of more structural adhesives and improved welding, which, Subaru claims, improves body stiffness for better handling while also reducing cabin noise.

While the Crosstrek may fall into the subcompact category, it’s traditionally made good use of its interior space, and the 2024 model is no exception. There’s enough room for five passengers, though knee room in the back is in short supply.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review interior rear with seats down
(Photo/Subaru)

With all seats occupied, the crossover gets 20 cubic feet of cargo space. But turn it into a two-seater by folding down the back row, and it jumps to 55 cubic feet, plenty of space for all the stuff you might need on a travel adventure.

And the newly revised roof rack can carry up to 176 pounds of gear while driving. Parked, with a roof-top tent option that increases to 700 pounds.

Subaru Crosstrek: Tech-Savvy

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review interior front dash
(Photo/Subaru)

In this market segment, you don’t expect lavish interior features, and the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek doesn’t stray far from the old model here, either. There’s lots of black plastic and a basic array of fabrics and finishes.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review infotainment screen close-up
(Photo/Subaru)

The gen-3 model does get a few improvements, however, starting with the addition of an 11.6-inch touchscreen that operates the Starlink Multimedia Plus infotainment system. Unfortunately, the new display is offered only on upper trims, with base packages retaining the old Crosstrek’s twin 7-inch displays.

Subaru clearly understands the young, tech-savvy buyers Crosstrek appeals to and has added some welcome features for 2024, though you’ll need to opt up to a higher trim package to get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review close-up of instrument panel
(Photo/Subaru)

The automaker’s EyeSight suite of advanced driver assistance systems has had a strong appeal to safety-minded buyers, and that remains the case with an update to the ADAS technology.

The stereo camera system now has a broader field of view, making it easier to spot potential problems, such as a car that’s seemingly ready to run a red light. Base models get a handful of useful functions, including forward collision warning with auto-braking. Again, you’ll need to upgrade to add features such as rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist, and blind spot detection. 

Getting a Grip

Crosstrek’s tech suite also includes a number of features designed to give you better traction, whether on-road or off. That starts with the familiar Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system that’s standard on all versions of the 2024 crossover. 

Focused on low-speed situations on low-grip surfaces, X-Mode helps better direct traction to the wheels that have the best traction at any particular moment. 

And Hill Descent Control is particularly useful when you’re headed down a steep trail. Think of it as low-speed cruise control. Set a speed, say 2 mph, and the Crosstrek will smoothly descend without requiring you to jump back and forth from throttle to brake.

2024 Crosstrek: Off-Road

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review driving up off-road trail hillside
(Photo/Paul Eisentstein)

We had a chance to check out the AWD system, X-Mode, and Hill Descent Control during an off-road short loop through the parched desert about an hour out of Palm Springs. There were no boulders to surmount, but the hilly and deeply rutted track did provide a sense of what the typical Crosstrek driver might encounter — and overcome. The various technologies made for a sure-footed experience, especially on both climb and descent. 

In reality, Subaru surveys find that while Crosstrek buyers are adventurous, they’re likely to use their vehicles to get to wilderness destinations rather than take the crossover out on truly serious trails in places like Moab. 

That could change going forward, as company officials quietly hint that there may be a more rugged new Wilderness package coming, much like Subaru offers on models like the latest-generation Forester.

And On-Road

Most of the time, Crosstrek owners will likely be traveling on pavement, whether on fast-moving Interstates or through places like Joshua Tree National Park.

The added stiffness of the 2024 model was readily apparent during our trek. The Crosstrek is no sports car. It has a moderate amount of body roll in sharp corners. But the overall feel was more precise and predictable, with less jouncing on bumps and potholes. The crossover’s newly designed “anti-sway” seats also improved the driving experience, both on-road and off.

If there’s one weakness to the driving experience, it’s the base crossover’s 2.0L engine.

2024 Crosstrek Powertrain Options

The flat-four, or “boxer,” engine makes a modest 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. That’ll get you up to freeway speeds, but not very quickly, with a preliminary estimate suggesting you’ll need at least 9 seconds to hit 60 mph. There were several opportunities to pass slow RVs while touring Joshua Tree that we couldn’t take because of the engine’s lack of grunt.

For those who want better performance, the good news is that Subaru will add a second powertrain option over the summer. The 2.5L boxer engine bumps the numbers to a more reasonable 182 horsepower and 178 pound-feet. Based on the package offered on the outgoing Crosstrek, it should be a bit more inspiring.

Both engines will be paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that deserves kudos. It seldom exhibited the sort of rubber-banding that has earned CVTs such disdain in many applications. Unfortunately, for manual fans, the standard gearbox is gone in the gen-3 Crosstrek.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review right side
(Photo/Paul Eisentstein)

2024 Crosstrek: Pricing and Availability

At a time when automakers are taking every available opportunity to raise prices, Subaru raised interest by announcing in Chicago that the base price for Crosstrek will carry over at $26,295. We spent our time in California driving the top-line 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Limited model. Even with all of its added features, it starts at a reasonable $32,190.

The base versions with the 2.0L engine are being assembled in Japan. For the first time, models with the upgraded 2.5L powertrain will roll out of Subaru’s assembly plant in Lafayette, Indiana.

You should be able to find the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek rolling into U.S. showrooms in the coming weeks.

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2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review Wrap-Up

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review front three-quarter
(Photo/Paul Eisentstein)

Subaru’s product development team had to choose whether to go with a revolutionary or evolutionary redesign when rolling out the 2024 Crosstrek. They chose the latter approach. That may disappoint some potential buyers who were looking for some more radical upgrades. But, on the whole, it seems to have been the right decision.

Sure, the base engine could use more power. And perhaps the styling could be more distinctive. But the overall package offers the right mix of features and functionality at an appealing price.

The Crosstrek has been a massive hit for Subaru until now, and there’s every reason to believe the 2024 Crosstrek will draw in even more buyers.

Paul Eisenstein

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