2016 Subaru Crosstrek | CarGurus Test Drive Review
46 Comments


So you’re looking for a sporty crossover that can still handle some off-road adventure, but you’re sick of seeing 12 Escapes in every
parking lot, and you’re not willing to suffer the sacrifices of the Jeep Renegade. Well, the Subaru Crosstrek might be just what you’re looking for. Here in the States it’s always been
positioned as a wholly separate vehicle, but back in Japan it’s known as the
Impreza XV – basically just an Impreza hatchback with a raised suspension, some larger wheels, and some styling tweaks, too, like the grey fender flares. It’s a pretty common move for Subaru, and the Impreza is a great platform to start with, too. Up until this year we called it the XV
Crosstrek, but Subaru decided to drop the XV this year
for a mid-cycle refresh. They also revised the front end and added the StarLink suite
for some emergency services like an SOS button, automatic collision notification,
stolen vehicle recovery, and a vehicle monitoring app. Plus they finally added some safety features, like blind-spot monitoring and lane-change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. Those features are really nice to have,
especially in a vehicle like this where you’re likely to take some longer trips and along some scenic highways that make it
so difficult to keep your eyes on the road. You know just a few gentle beeps, and I know my attention has wandered a
bit too far. Also I had a truck slam on its brakes
in front of me in the rain cruising at about 60 miles an hour, and
evasive maneuvers were handled here with no drama thanks, due to the Impreza platform and all-wheel-drive no doubt. Subaru anticipates owners will be taking their Crosstreks on camping excursions and the like, so the seats all have more durable fabric, and there’s a removable waterproof mat in the trunk for wet dogs and muddy shoes. Plus space is ample for passengers and
camping supplies, with a spacious rear seat and 22.3 cubic feet of storage
expanding to 51.9 with those seatbacks lowered. That said a lot of the competition beats those numbers easily. So what’s wrong with the Crosstrek? Well, while the interior is a big improvement
over most Subaru offerings – there’s soft-touch materials just nearly
everywhere here it’s really nice – I find the seats to not be very supportive. My
back starts hurting after about an hour, and I know I’m tall at 6’4″, but when I sit up straight here, I have barely enough headroom, and it’s just a little uncomfortable. Also
the audio system leaves a little bit to be desired, and there’s no option for an
upgrade. So at highway speeds when that 2- liter boxer and CVT are droning and
groaning along, it can get kind of hard to hear. And that brings us to the other big complaint with the Crosstrek: the powertrain. The 2-liter boxer engine here develops
145 pound-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm and 148 horsepower at 6,200. That’s pretty high in the rev range, and it’s not a lot of power for a car that
weighs in at 3,200 pounds. Consequently the Crosstrek will take about 10 seconds to hit 60 miles an hour, and highway passing does require a bit of
planning. The paddle shifters will help you get those revs up, but there’s still
not an overwhelming amount of power to be had. By comparison the mazda CX-3 has a nearly identical power rating, but it will make it to 60 a second and a half
quicker, and that leads me to believe it’s the CVT that’s providing the limitation here. Plus, CVT-equipped Crosstreks come with a different all-wheel-drive system than those with the manual transmission. That all-wheel-drive system has a 50:50 power split front and rear, while this one is more front-biased with the ability to send more power rearward
when traction calls for it. These are all attempts to squeeze a bit more economy out of the setup, with the Crosstrek in this configuration delivering 29 miles per gallon combined,
with 26 city and 34 highway. The manual drops to 26 combined, with 23 city and 31 highway, and if you think the hybrid will solve this little dilemma, you only gain 2 miles per
gallon combined over the CVT with 30 city and 34 highway. More than that it
only adds 12 horsepower and 18 pound-feet of torque to compensate for an extra 300
pounds of weight. That doesn’t seem like a very good trade-off. Now there’s an STI version coming, but the enhancements there are all cosmetic or suspension related – no power upgrades – so that’s really not going to solve the
problem. Or maybe there’s not even a problem. For you current Crosstrek owners, have you noticed needing more power? Let me know in the comments, because if power isn’t a concern, the Crosstrek’s a great option with good ground clearance,
agile handling, and the lowest center of gravity in the segment. Want to know more? Click the link in description, and you can head over to CarGurus.com and read my full review of the 2016 Subaru Crosstrek.

46 thoughts on “2016 Subaru Crosstrek | CarGurus Test Drive Review

  1. I can tell you main reason I didn't buy the Crosstrek was the anemic power plant. That boxer just doesn't cut it these days. If it had a 2.0L turbo boxer with 240HP it would be another story. I certainly would have paid the premium for a motor like that. I bought a 2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk V6 instead.

  2. I had a 13 impreza and I never was imprezed, definitely needs more power and a 6 speed auto would probably help, but it didn't take a year I just had to trade for a 13 mazdaspeed3.

  3. I have a 2014 model. I can see the point about the power,but I've never had any issues with it. I've driven it all over the country and chewed up a lot of road and vehicles. Cars with less power make you a more conciensous driver. You have to think about what you're doing instead of relying on power to save you from all the times you pull out in front of on coming traffic. I love my car and can't wait to check out the new model. The people that always talk bad about this vehicle most likely have never even driven one.

  4. Good looking package until you drive one ….. Holy shit, is it under powered ….. Like most other Subs, it is pretty noisy, rattle-prone and 2.0l boxer engine makes alot of noise when pushed. A lot of noise. It is like a bunch of partially disabled mice running around the engine, desperately trying to make enough running horsepower to pull this thing. And yes, the interior is not fantastic and the stereo sucks balls. Like 1982 Toyota Camry 4speaker shitty ……. All and all for the price, this car sucks balls ………

  5. There are a few cars slower than the Crosstrek (Lexus ct200h & Mitsubishi Mirage). To be fair, the Mazda CX-3 is also a smaller & lighter sub-compact vehicle. I know a lot of people think Subaru should offer this with the 2.0L turbo found in the Forrester and STI, but turbos have their own problems.ย  I think at least 30 to 40 more hp would put the performance numbers closer to 4 cyl. compact/midsize cars. According to Consumer Reports, the Crosstrek is Subaru's most reliable & trouble free model.

  6. I have the 2016 XV full options. Just love the way it drives. CVT is much better then Toyotas'. My only complain is the headroom being too small.

  7. I just bought one of these last December and I really like it for the most part. Most of the Subaru market is geared toward the more practical consumer. So, yes, the Crosstrek is under powered, but that's a concession most people are willing to make given it's redeeming qualities such as the AWD, fuel economy, ground clearance, and reliability.

    One other small drawback that I experienced is the way the clutch feels (only in the manuals of course). Perhaps this is just a person problem, but I really don't like having to press down on the clutch at least 80%. I have only driven trucks before this and only had to press maybe 10%. Is this how most cars clutches are supposed to feel? If so I guess I'll just get used to it.

  8. Nice job on the review. Different style of review for sure. Kind of refreshing. Now, I wish Subaru would turbo that thing and put in a real 7 speed auto. I would consider buying then.

  9. The powertrain seems best matched to an Impreza – I would love to see a 1.8L Turbo model to get it to 170hp, 160 lb-ft torque with even better fuel efficiency, especially in the city. Yes, I want it all. Packaging, versatility and space (passenger & cargo) work very well for my family.

  10. As with most reviewers, they seem to always ignore the equalizer. The default audio settings are sub-par, but with a little tweaking you can make the speakers sound adequate. Also, power is fine with the manual. The Impreza and Crosstrek are supposed to be fuel efficient, not powerful.

    It's weird to me how so many people in the comments whine about performance, yet demand an automatic. Kind of hypocritical, especially for economy cars.

  11. As a hiker in the PNW, I was considering this as my next car, but the lack of power gives me pause, though I'll check out the manual when that time comes. Thanks for the great review!

  12. I drove one last week and I did not see any problem with the power, specially in sport mode . It was responsive and quick

  13. I have a 2015 Crosstrek and use it mostly on the highway. No complaints, I can merge with traffic just fine. If you like zip, then this is not the car for you. I like the AWD for our Maine winters, etc. You didn't mention the Eyesight feature, which for me was a significant selling point. I use it constantly and find it makes my longer drives less fatiguing, safer and more pleasant. No buyers remorse here. I'm digging my ride!

  14. I bought a 2016 Crosstrek in January, and coming off an Acura TL, this does lack power but as of June 5th, it feels much better because I have gotten used to it. Problems for me, transmission does get loud, wish it was a regular automatic. Could use some more HP, wouldn't care if I lost some mpg. Other issues, should have HID or LED headlights. Canadian models get HID lights which I don't understand why US models don't, have been using HID's since 2001 and love them. Radio is too weak, but it works, and I agree the seats could be more supportive, I have the cloth seats. Love the AWD, drove through 18+ inches of snow without a problem, drove through it easily. Also love that the AWD makes it feel solid on the road during bad weather, rainy, or whatever. Ground clearance is a big plus, feels more confident when going off-roading. Also, the mileage is great. Turning radius is another big plus for me, my car had a horrible turning radius. Will see if it stays reliable, if I have any major issues before the warranty is up, I would trade it in. Has to be reliable is my number one concern, also has to look decent which I think it does, much better looking then the Forester in my opinion.

  15. I have a Crosstrek and it has plenty of power …. One thing I can't stand in most vehicle reviews is the over emphasis on the " zero to 60 " spec . With the CVT trans this thing goes from zero to 30 in a snap it seems ….. And that is what is useful in most driving conditions with lots of stop and go …no ones driveway is on the side of a highway .. Plus people never mention how the CVT transmission seems to make braking easier when your coasting to let's say a stop sign of a red light …like when your driving a manual transmission and you let the compression of the engine slow you down instead of the brake pedal … This Subaru is so effortless to drive in the sense that you never seem like your mashing the brake pedal or gas pedal to get the performance you need . . My Theory is … If every vehicle on the road was a Crosstrek … The roads would be a much safer place with MUCH fewer accidents …… Anyway …. These Crosstreks are Great

  16. I really haven't needed more power. Sure, there have been times I've wanted to punch it just to feel some oomph, but this car is not about giving you frivolous oomph. When it comes to merging onto the freeway or passing, I still feel confident. While certainly not powerful, it's still responsive enough and fun to drive. My Subaru is in the shop for cosmetic repair, and I've been driving a rental 2015 Chevy Malibu. That Malibu may have a faster 0-60 time, but my Crosstrek is more fun to drive.

  17. Recently just got a 16 Crosstrek I do love the car. Subaru has recently released an upgraded sound system for the crosstrek which may be worth investing in when I have the money. I think it's fine with power, I do a lot of highway driving for school and such and on the highway it holds up to the rest of traffic but I cannot drive as fast as I am accustomed to (being a young driver I like to go fast) still, rides comfortable on the highway and the manual transmission is great for someone learning

  18. The 2016 Crosstrek does have an available audio upgrade with the Kicker speakers and sub. I didn't spring for the upgrade and I find that the stock "Limited" Nav system was more than sufficient to jam at highway speed. Just got back from a 4000mile road trip (yes, four thousand) and the entertainment system was not an issue. With almost 10,000 on my 2016 I am pretty satisfied with it. A turbo version would have been nice, but I didn't buy this car to race. I bought it for the awesome gas mileage and the ability to tackle light off-road duty. It has better manners than my wife's Outlander Sport (CVT shifting and throttle response). The only time I really notice the reduction in power is when I go from my 2015 Charger (company car) to the Crosstrek. It just takes a couple of stops and I quickly adjust.

  19. I just got a 2016 special edition. It is gutless to be sure. But I'm an older guy with no plans to race anyone anytime soon so it's no biggie to me. The ability to pop it into manual and use the paddle shifters satisfies my need for responsiveness.

  20. Do you think the Forester with a 6-speed manual transmission would be a quicker alternative? I have a Legacy now. While it's a super nice car, the inability to pass even a minivan is starting to wear on me. Thanks.

  21. I bought a 2016 Crosstrek about 6 weeks ago. I find the car to have more than sufficient power for driving around town.
    It's also quite comfortable for a guy that is 6' 5". I test drove a Jeep Cherokee and a Kia Sorento before deciding
    on the Subaru. By far of the three it was the most comfortable, and offered the most for the money.

  22. I just bought a Crosstrek and I`m 6`4`250 lbs, and I find the seats very comfortable. There is plenty of headroom as well. You can lower the seat quite a bit. When I`m in it I have about three inches above my head so I`m not sure his complaints are valid.

  23. just bought one this week. I am in love with this car. It has already out performed my previous vehicles by leaps and bounds: Volkswagen Jetta, Honda Accord and a Jeep Liberty. The car is peppy enough due to its weight!

  24. I'm about to trade my 2015 for a 2017 Special Edition. I don't have a problem with the power of my 2015. One of the first things I noticed was how much more pick up it has than my 2013 Forester had. As mentioned in the video though, I have a problem with highway noise, especially when it's windy. Hoping my newer one is better with noise but I'm not getting my hopes up.

  25. i own a 2014 impreza wagon, 5 speed. an extra 15 lb. of torque midrange would mean a lot. i wish i had done more test driving. would not buy again.

  26. I love the way how you guys describe these vehicles, you list the pros and the cons. Thanks a lot, I definitely appreciate it.

  27. Having owned this car for a few years now. It does feel lackluster. Passing uphill in Nevada is pretty crappy. However, as a normal driving vehicle, I've loved it. Now if I could get some more umph I wouldnt mind one bit to get out of sticky situations

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