2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review and Test Drive

This capable crossover gets updated styling and new features.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek gray front quarter in the mountainsPerry Stern

Review QuickTakes:

Subaru introduced the Crosstrek to its lineup more than a decade ago. The Impreza-based five-passenger crossover SUV was an immediate hit. For the 2024 model year, the redesigned third-generation Crosstrek arrives with fresh styling, new features, and improved driving dynamics. The 2024 Crosstrek will also be the first example of the model built in the United States, with the higher-level trims produced at Subaru of Indiana Automotive in Lafayette, Indiana.

The Crosstrek is the entry-level model in the Subaru crossover lineup, and even with its price increase for the 2024 model year, it remains one of the lowest-priced all-wheel drive (AWD) crossovers on the market. Every Crosstrek comes standard with AWD and a healthy 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which helps it to stand out among other small crossovers. Rivals include the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, Toyota Corolla Cross, and Volkswagen Taos.

The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek is available in four trim levels: Base, Premium, Sport, and Limited. Prices range from the mid-$20,000s to the mid-$30,000s, including the destination charge to ship the Crosstrek from either Gunma, Japan (Base and Premium) or Indiana (Sport and Limited) to your local dealership.

Subaru invited me to Palm Springs, California, to experience the new 2024 Crosstrek firsthand and covered my travel, lodging, and meals. In Palm Springs, I drove the Crosstrek Premium equipped with the all-weather Package, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, a power driver's seat, and a power moonroof. These options brought the manufacturer's suggested retail price to $29,685, including the $1,295 destination charge.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek dashboard and interior front seatsPerry Stern

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review: The Design

Styling changes to the 2024 Crosstrek are subtle, the crossover featuring a look similar to the outgoing version. Most noticeable is the new frameless hexagonal grille with sleek headlights that flow back into the fenders. A sculpted hood, more prominent fog lights, and updated cladding around the wheels create a more rugged look. New air outlets at the trailing edge of the front wheel cladding add a unique styling element while improving aerodynamics and driving stability.

Many of the changes for the new model year are under the skin. For example, the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek rides on an enhanced version of its previous platform, offering 10% higher torsional rigidity while reducing overall weight. Subaru says the more rigid chassis improves the Crosstrek's driving dynamics while creating a quieter interior.

This small crossover may be at the entry point in the Subaru lineup, but the interior materials don't feel cheap. Instead, the fit and finish in the Crosstrek are good, and the padding on the dashboard and doors give the cabin a quality appearance. The Crosstrek's interior has a clean look, too, with minimal controls, highlighted by a new 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen display, the largest ever offered in this compact crossover. While access to most functions is through the digital display, there are hard buttons and knobs for stereo volume, radio tuning, and adjusting cabin temperature.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek open cargo space with backpack insidePerry Stern

Subaru redesigned the 2024 Crosstrek's front seats to increase comfort and lessen fatigue. They offer good support, and even after spending a long day behind the wheel, the test vehicle's optional 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat remained comfortable. The front seats are also heated, with controls on the center console that seem a bit old school. But they are functional and much preferred over controls buried in a menu in the infotainment system, an approach that is becoming more common in modern vehicles.

The rear seat is surprisingly spacious for a small crossover, providing decent headroom and legroom. The door openings are wide enough for easy entry and exit, and the seats are comfortable. As is typical for a compact crossover, the middle seat is tight with less cushion padding and is best used by someone of small stature and only when necessary. Subaru provides USB-A and USB-C ports for rear-seat passenger convenience.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek interior backseatPerry Stern

The cabin has decent storage with a good-sized bin under the center armrest, large cupholders, and a cubby ahead of the gear selector with USB ports and a wireless smartphone charger.

At the rear, you'll find a wide liftgate with a lower liftover height for easier cargo loading. With the rear seats in place, the Crosstrek can handle up to 20 cu-ft of cargo, enough for a few suitcases. When the need arises to transport larger items, the cargo space increases to 54.7 cu-ft with the 60/40-split rear seats folded flat. However, these measurements are a little less than in the outgoing Crosstrek.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek infotainment systemPerry Stern

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review: The Technology

The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek now features a large 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen display, which comes standard in all but the base-level trim. The screen divides information into three sections: a small data panel at the top, a primary display taking up the bulk of the screen in the center, and climate controls that remain static at the bottom. Quick links to the home page and vehicle settings are above the climate controls. Large icons make the system easy to navigate, and you can swipe left or right between pages.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto compatibility are standard. I had no problem connecting my Samsung Galaxy S21 via Bluetooth, and Android Auto launched immediately, filling the center of the display. The static controls at the bottom of the screen remain even when Android Auto is in use, making it easy to return to the native Subaru functions.

The Crosstrek's infotainment system also features voice recognition technology. You activate it using a button on the steering wheel, and Subaru says you can use it to adjust the climate control, change the radio station, make a phone call, or set a destination in the optional TomTom navigation system. My test vehicle had no navigation system, but the voice control worked fine for using Android Auto. Also, while the system can change the cabin temperature, pushing the red or blue buttons on the center display is just as easy.

All Crosstreks now come standard with Subaru's advanced driving assistance system called EyeSight. Subaru claims it has improved EyeSight for the 2024 model year. It now features a wider field of view, allowing it to identify bicyclists and pedestrians under a greater variety of conditions. In addition, EyeSight includes the now-expected list of active safety features. Depending on the trim level, optional safety upgrades include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic rear braking.

EyeSight's adaptive cruise control worked very well. The system is intuitive to operate with straightforward controls on the steering wheel and smoothly keeps a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead. There is also a lane-centering assist system that helps keep the Crosstrek in the lane, but EyeSight is not a hands-free system. For example, after I removed my hands from the wheel, it took only a few seconds before the tech warned me to return them.

When I wrote this review, neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had performed crash tests on the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek. Please check the NHTSA and the IIHS for future updates.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek enginePerry Stern

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Review: The Drive

Subaru provided me with a 2024 Crosstrek Premium to evaluate. It comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Subaru has discontinued the manual transmission choice for the 2024 model year.

While power is adequate for most situations, such as getting around town or cruising on the freeway, the combination of the low-powered engine with the CVT delivers weak acceleration. Pushing the pedal to the floor makes a lot of noise but won't exactly push you back in the seat, so tasks such as pulling into a busy street or getting up to speed on a short freeway on-ramp require some planning. The CVT can simulate shifts under hard acceleration, but this doesn't do much to enhance performance.

Subaru also offers the Crosstrek with a larger 2.5-liter engine that bumps up to 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to sample the more potent engine, but I expect it will be more satisfying to drive. It's available with Sport and Limited trim.

As I wrote this review, the EPA hadn't released official fuel economy ratings for the 2024 Crosstrek. However, Subaru estimates this updated crossover will achieve 29 mpg with either engine option. During my drive, which included a combination of highway, back roads, and off-pavement adventures, I achieved an indicated 31 mpg.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek eyesight controls and steering wheelPerry Stern

It may not have much power, but the updated Crosstrek has excellent driving characteristics with responsive steering and a chassis that keeps the ride smooth and solid on all but the worst road surfaces. Of course, the Crosstrek is no sports car nor is it meant to be. Still, the small crossover performs exceptionally well on a twisty road with predictable handling and very little body lean, making it rather enjoyable to drive. The brake feel is good, with a linear response for smooth stopping power.

Heading out on the freeway, the Crosstrek works hard to get up to speed, and the powertrain gets loud when it's working overtime. But once it is cruising at 70 mph, the Crosstrek

offers very little road or wind noise. The small crossover feels stable and confident at higher speeds for a pleasant, relaxing driving experience.

All Crosstreks come with standard AWD, and Subaru says it has updated the system for 2024 to provide a faster response for improved handling on and off the road. Subaru provided several opportunities to test out the Crosstrek's AWD. While it's hard to say that the response was quicker than before, the system kept me moving through various off-road conditions.

The designated drive route outside Palm Springs had me take the Crosstrek off the pavement on rough dirt roads littered with large holes and washboard surfaces. Not only did the Crosstrek maintain grip and control on loose surfaces, it remained composed while absorbing all but the worst bumps, keeping the ride relatively comfortable without any jarring movements.

Whether or not owners take their Crosstreks off-road, Subaru ensures it can handle some light off-road duty. To this end, Subaru set up an off-road course with steep inclines, declines, and sharp turns on loose rock and dirt. I put the Crosstrek into X-Mode, a traction-control technology that delivers torque smoothly and maximizes traction through better power distribution between the four tires.

The Crosstrek had no issues handling the off-road trail and never lost traction, even while making steep turns over uneven surfaces. X-Mode also includes hill-descent control, which acts like cruise control for steep descents on loose surfaces. The system keeps the vehicle composed and in control while the driver just steers. This performance was even more impressive, considering the Crosstrek was running on standard street tires.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek gray side viewPerry Stern

Is the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek a Good SUV?

The Subaru Crosstrek has enjoyed great success in the small crossover SUV market, and with the updates to the 2024 model, there's no reason to expect that popularity to diminish. The updated exterior styling keeps the Crosstrek fresh, and technology updates inside are appreciated, especially the larger, easier-to-use display screen. Overall comfort is also improved thanks to the updated chassis and the redesigned front seats.

With good interior space for people and cargo and excellent driving characteristics, the 2024 Crosstrek is a great choice for a daily driver. While the base engine feels underpowered in some situations, more power is available by choosing Sport or Limited trim. No matter which engine is under the hood, the raised ground clearance and full-time all-wheel drive make the Crosstrek ideal for handling inclement weather or the occasional adventure off the beaten path.

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Perry Stern
I have loved cars and trucks since childhood, and that fascination with anything that drives is just as strong today. As a teenager, I knew I wanted to become an automotive journalist, and during the past three decades, I have driven, written about, and photographed all manner of automobiles ranging from affordable econocars to exotic supercars. With the idea that there is a perfect car, truck, or SUV for everyone, my goal is to help consumers determine the right one for their wants and needs.