2021 Subaru Crosstrek Outdoor Review

Subaru’s formula of capable all-wheel drive practical vehicles is a winning one for Canadians. The Crosstrek is a prime example of such a vehicle. It’s essentially a raised Subaru Impreza hatch and there is a whole lot to like about it (technically this is a crossover). This is the perfect remedy for the SUV craze that’s gripped the industry because it has all the functionality of one without being an oversized bulge taking up space in the supermarket parking lot. This is Subaru’s smallest crossover with the others being the Forester, Outback and the Ascent 7-passenger SUV.

The test subject here is a new trim called the Outdoor (with the Eyesight system). Under the hood we find a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Boxer engine producing 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. Other trim levels of the Crosstrek can be had with a smaller 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine making 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. The choice of transmission depending on the model you chose is a 6-speed manual or CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). This car came with the CVT.

I tested a Crosstrek with the 2.0-litre engine and found it to be underpowered. This model with the bigger engine was definitely better though I wouldn’t say it’s an extremely quick vehicle. Acceleration aside, I liked how the Crosstrek drove and it felt firmly planted on the pavement. It’s heavy – thanks in part to its X-mode all-wheel drive system but that’s not an issue because it doesn’t actually feel like a heavy vehicle when driving it. Whether it’s to tackle our rough Canadian winters or it’s because you like to go on off-road excursions, the Crosstrek delivers this ability wonderfully.

The Crosstrek cabin you see pictured here was quite comfortable and pleasing to the eye. I absolutely loved the yellow accents of the Outdoor model. The seats are comfortable and the driving position and visibility are excellent. The new dashboard layout is a modern, functional and pretty and I can’t really think of anything I’d change. All of the materials appear to be high quality too.

The standard Subaru infotainment system is displayed on a 6.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen display (Convenience and Touring models). It has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, STARLINK smartphone integration USB port/iPod control, auxiliary audio input and steering wheel-integrated controls. The Outdoor, Sport and Limited models improve to an 8.5-inch screen with a few extra features.

Subaru has perfected the layout and operation of its system. It’s by far one of the easiest to use for basic radio and entertainment functions. What I especially like is traditional dials for climate and fan control located just underneath. It’s easy and simple to use, just how it should be. Nothing is worse than trying to tap on a slow-frozen LCD screen to try and find the setting to get the heat blasting.

Subaru offers something called the EyeSight safety system and the came equipped with it. This system of driver aids helps anticipate dangerous situations via the use of cameras and sensors. It’s used for adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, pre-collision braking and pre-collision throttle management. A few times I looked away while driving and the system beeped and reminded me to keep my eyes on the road.

The Crosstrek has a very attractive starting price for the base model at just $23,795. Add $2000 if you want the automatic with Eyesight. The Touring adds better cloth seats, a leather steering wheel, auto headlights, auto climate control and a cargo cover for $26,195. The Sport ads the larger infotainment screen, power driver’s seat, even better cloth seats, LED headlights and more safety features for $28,795. My Outdoor test subject has the larger engine, heated steering wheel and the beautiful leather seats you see in the photos for $29,995. Finally, the Limited will see a, dual-zone climate control, a premium sound system and navigation for $34,495.