Five years after the first Subaru Crosstrek hit the streets, the small Japanese automaker with a cult-like following has significantly updated its unexpectedly successful small crossover utility vehicle.
The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek will hit the streets later this year wearing a new exterior and an updated interior, although the mechanicals are nearly identical to the previous model.
Outward appearances haven't changed dramatically for the new Subaru Crosstrek.
It's still the same tall-riding hatchback, but with a little sharper styling along the sides and in front, that's derived from the Impreza passenger car.
More black plastic cladding has been added to the front bumper and wheel wells, which has been textured in a way that surprisingly increases its visibility.
Unlike the last-generation Crosstrek, it's unclear if this new version will receive an electrified powertrain.
Last time around, Subaru offered an optional mild-hybrid system that netted only marginal gains in fuel economy. The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid was discontinued for 2017.
The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek will keep the same powertrain: a flat-4 that powers all four wheels via a 6-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
In our experience, the 152-horespower 2.0-liter flat-4 wasn't exactly thrilling in the Impreza hatchback, but focuses instead on versatility and fuel efficiency despite its standard all-wheel drive—a Subaru hallmark.
The EPA hasn't yet rated the new Crosstrek for fuel economy, but we don't expect it to stray far from last year's 26 mpg city, 33 highway, 29 combined rating.
What it lacks in overall power, the Subaru Crosstrek attempts to succeed in off-road ability and versatility.
The Crosstrek sports 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which rivals many SUVs, and a new hill-descent control feature dubbed "X-Mode" in CVT-equipped cars. Roof rails are standard for more room out of the car, and the 60/40-split folding rear seats maximize interior space.
There's 1.2 more inches between the wheels this year, which makes for more room when the seats are up, but the overall length from nose to tail hasn't changed.
Rear seat passengers are the beneficiaries of the stretched wheelbase; 6-footers can sit behind 6-footers.
Base Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i models are equipped as standard with the 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed manual, 17-inch wheels, and cloth seats. This year's infotainment system has been upgraded to a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility on base models. A CVT is available on 2.0i models.
Stepping up to Crosstrek Premium models adds as standard a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a cold-weather package that includes heated seats and heated mirrors.
More options are available on Premium models, including a sunroof and Subaru's suite of active safety features, which they call EyeSight.
The Crosstrek Premium still packs a standard manual transmission, although the CVT is available on Premium models.
2018 Subaru CrosstrekEnlarge Photo
2018 Subaru CrosstrekEnlarge Photo
Subaru Crosstrek Limited models are at the top of the heap with standard leather upholstery, CVT, keyless ignition, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment. Harman Kardon premium audio and EyeSight are available on Limited models.
The automaker hasn't yet said how much the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek will cost when it arrives at dealerships this summer. The 2017 Subaru Crosstrek cost $22,570, including destination.