2019 Subaru Crosstrek Driving Impressions

A spirited personality doesn’t always signify stirring performance. Though the Crosstrek has a quiet and refined demeanor, mediocre acceleration limits this crossover’s appeal.

Lack of passing power is the main demerit, though adept low-speed tuning of the powertrain manages to make the Crosstrek feel lively in urban driving. Manual-transmission models are neither thriftier, nor quicker, than those with the CVT.

Quick throttle tuning helps the CVT-equipped Crosstrek feel more animated at urban speeds than it does on any highway. That transmission is tuned to deliver a “stepped” sensation, meant to eliminate the irksome droning that plagued early CVTs.

Steering is sharp and accurate. The Crosstrek handles well and rides comfortably, courtesy of a suspension that manages to feel soft without turning sloppy. At highway speeds, Subaru’s smallest crossover tracks reasonably well, though it can wander when facing grooved pavement. A little road and wind noise is likely to seep inside.

On the whole, performance is comparable to Subaru’s Impreza sedan and hatchback, which share their foundation with the Crosstrek. Off-road potential, on the other hand, makes the Crosstrek dominant in its class.

SUV-like wheel travel, hill-descent control, and 8.7-inch ground clearance translate to greater off-road potential than other compact crossovers can provide.

Though not especially thrifty, Crosstrek delivers good fuel economy. With CVT, the Crosstrek is EPA-rated at 27/33 mpg City/Highway, or 29 mpg Combined. The 6-speed manual sinks the estimate to just 23/29/25 mpg. Real-world driving can yield more frugal figures.

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