What Is It?
The smallest crossover in the Subaru lineup, the Crosstrek rides on the same platform as the long-running Impreza and follows the lead of the larger Outback with a raised, rugged-looking design. Like the rest of the Subaru crossover lineup, the Crosstrek features standard full-time all-wheel drive. Subaru gives the Crosstrek a number of updates for the 2021 model year including fresh styling, new features and an additional more powerful Sport trim. Recently we spent some time behind the wheel of the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport; here’s what we discovered.
Subaru provided a 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport painted in Horizon Blue Pearl — a new color for the 2021 model year. Also new for 2021, the Sport features a more powerful engine, unique design elements and a long list of standard equipment. Additional options on the test vehicle included a power moonroof, blind-spot detection with lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert and an 8-inch multimedia display for a total MSRP of $29,145. Competitors to the Crosstrek include the Honda HR-V, Kia Seltos, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-30 and Hyundai Kona.
Crosstrek revisions for the 2021 model year include a redesigned front bumper, updated fog light covers and a new grille. For further differentiation from the rest of the lineup, the Sport also gets unique wheel arch moldings, 17-inch alloy wheels with a dark gray finish, and a gunmetal gray treatment for the grille, side mirrors and badges.
Inside, the Sport continues to separate itself from the rest of the Crosstrek lineup with seats covered in StarTex — a lightweight urethane material made without PVC, phthalates or chlorine. The material feels a bit odd at first although owners will become accustomed to it, finding the seats both comfortable and stylish. An additional styling bonus: Sport seats get trimmed with yellow contrasting stitching with “Crosstrek” stitched across the seat back.
Yellow accents can be found throughout the interior of the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport, especially the steering wheel with its yellow lower spoke accent and stitching. Yellow stitching is also used for the shift boot, door armrests and center console storage lid. The cabin receives additional accenting from gunmetal gray and simulated carbon fiber trim.
The test Crosstrek Sport we drove was equipped with the 8-inch Multimedia Plus system, which among other things gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as voice-activated controls. The LCD touchscreen display has an intuitive layout facilitating easy navigation. Subaru also puts a smaller display above the infotainment system that displays basic information such as time, temperature, climate control settings and average fuel economy — details that we appreciate being on display all the time.
The Crosstrek is not a large vehicle, so the amount of legroom in the rear seats is a pleasant surprise. Adults would be perfectly comfortable riding in the outboard positions, while the center seat would work fine for someone of smaller stature. The yellow accents continue in rear-seat environs — a few USB ports in back would be a welcome addition.
Thanks to a rear hatch that opens wide as well as a low load floor, getting cargo into the Crosstrek is a breeze. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport possesses plenty of room for multiple pieces of luggage or cargo, and the rear seats easily fold flat for increased versatility.
Under the Hood
A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine powers the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport, generating 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. That power gets delivered to all four wheels via the standard Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission — a manual gearbox is not available with the larger engine. According to the U.S. EPA, the Crosstrek Sport has fuel economy ratings of 27 mpg city / 34 mpg hwy / 29 mpg combined. During our testing we observed fuel economy in the 23–24 range; perhaps these numbers can be attributed to a heavy right foot.
The new Sport is the only trim of the Crosstrek line that has a dual-function X-MODE with Snow / Dirt and Deep Snow / Mud settings designed to optimize the all-wheel-drive system for these conditions. Unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity to test the Crosstrek’s off-road capabilities, although other Subarus we’ve driven have always performed quite well off pavement.
Subaru’s award-winning EyeSight system is standard on all Crosstrek variants equipped with the Lineartronic CVT. For 2021, Subaru adds advanced adaptive cruise control with lane centering to the suite of advanced safety features. The camera-based EyeSight also includes automatic pre-collision braking, lane-keeping assist, lane departure and sway warning, lead-vehicle start alert and a rear-seat reminder. The Crosstrek has been an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ since 2015 and will likely be on the list for 2021.
On the Road
Drivers familiar with the standard Crosstrek should immediately notice and appreciate the engine upgrade for the 2021 Crosstrek Sport — a welcome power boost. The small crossover feels quick and peppy with decent power from a standstill as well as for accelerating around slower vehicles. Although we would still prefer a manual gearbox for more driver engagement, the CVT works quite well.
With precise steering and a solid chassis, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport feels quick and agile when roads gets twisty, and the car remains solid and relatively quiet while cruising at highway speeds. Overall the Crosstrek Sport is good fun.
Subaru has upped its Crosstrek game for 2021 thanks to revised styling and improved performance. With a comfortable and roomy interior, great cargo-carrying versatility and the latest in advanced driver-assist systems, the Crosstrek brings a lot to the table. Moreover, the powerful Sport variant and its fun demeanor make this particular Crosstrek a desirable consideration within the crowded small crossover vehicle segment.