The Subaru Crosstrek continues to sell well among those who look for a reliable transportation appliance that has just the right amount of ruggedness, and road-going SUV-likeness wrapped up in a versatile package. While the Crosstrek has never been a favorite of mine nor a vehicle that I commonly recommend, I understand why so many of them sell as it gives buyers an affordable compromise in a world where SUVs remain king and acceleration performance isn’t everything.
From my recent review of the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek, I reiterate its welcomed updates for the redesigned changes and update of its equipment, which now competes better with other vehicles in the compact crossover segment. In getting the Crosstrek Sport trim this time around, I get to try out the more powerful engine, the 2.5-liter boxer (horizontally opposed) 4-cylinder that’s good for 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. The larger engine, over the base 2.0-liter with 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, does have a bit more oomph, but some of its adventurous side is sapped by the CVT (continuously variable transmission).
The CVT in the 2.5-liter Crosstrek Sport seems to react slowly to the engine’s throttle inputs at times, giving you a rather inconsistent level of power output to the symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. It’s not to say that the Crosstrek is slow, it seems to be caught off guard at times when the CVT’s ratios get stuck in a rut and don’t allow the 2.5-liter engine to rev into its power band at the upper end of the RPMs until a few seconds later. Such situations arise at inopportune times, and you feel that the Crosstrek is on the verge of being dangerous when you jump into traffic. Otherwise, when the CVT reacts properly to demanded throttle, usually when you’re above 45 mph, it allows the engine to wind up things tend to go pretty well. The CVT does, at times, emulate a traditional automatic transmission with virtual ratio kick-downs that seem to help with managing the RPMs near redline to prevent the constant drone of hanging onto a set RPM.
Zero to 60 mph takes place in 8.2 seconds in the Crosstrek Sport with the 2.5-liter engine, which is a much-needed improvement over the base 2.0-liter engine, taking a lethargic 9.3 seconds to hit 60 mph. Out on the road, the Crosstrek Sport rides well but does have some concerning body roll to contend with if you put it into sharp turns at speed. The overall ride quality is soft and relaxed but plays well to provide a good enough balance of on-road and light off-roading performance, considering its ground clearance of 8.7 inches. In all, there is never anything urgent about how the Crosstrek behaves in any situation. Such behavior will yield matching mpg figures to that of the EPA estimates of 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined in the real world.
Apart from my previous review of the new 2024 Crosstrek Premium, the Sport trim not only adds the appeal of additional power from the larger 2.5-liter engine but it adds larger 18-inch dark gray wheels, exclusive gloss black exterior trim with yellow accents, heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and windshield, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, cargo area cover, and a welcomed wireless smartphone charger that integrates well for the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The larger 11.6-inch touchscreen STARLINK infotainment system comes as standard on all trim levels except the base trim, which is a welcomed feature of the Crosstrek. The system provides a simplistic operation of most vehicle settings and controls, which include the dual-zone automatic climate system on the screen and a larger portrait-oriented display of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
As a more capable and versatile offering apart from the Subaru Impreza, the new Crosstrek is a good buy, considering its starting price of $25,195 for the base trim. The Sport trim starts at $29,195, which gets you the more desirable powertrain with the added power. My test vehicle with the Option Package 22, which includes a power moonroof, 10-way power driver’s seat w/2-way lumbar, and the blind-spot detection w/rear-cross traffic alert system, comes to the price of $32,210, which includes a $1,295 destination and delivery fee.