2016 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited new car reviews

Subaru knows a thing or two about building wagons that can go off-road. Their latest release in this market is the Crosstrek, a kind of jack-up Impreza wagon.

The Crosstrek isn’t just an option package as it is its own model line. Our 2.0i Limited represents the top gas-powered model in the line and adds leather interior, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and automatic climate control.

MSRP starts at $25,095. Don’t need the extras? The base model starts at $21,595.

No matter what, though, you’re getting the same 1995cc flat-four. The base car only comes with a five-speed manual transmission, while our 2.0i Limited is only available with a Lineartronic six-speed continuously variable transmission. Buyers of the midlevel 2.0i Premium can select either box.

The Crosstrek line also include a pair of hybrid models, a base one and the nicely equipped Touring.

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David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

We borrowed this Crosstrek for our week in Monterey, California, for the classic car festivities. Last year we drove a turbo Mustang convertible. It was fun and we looked good in it, but it was a little tight for two of us and our gear—and really tight when we had to carry three people plus luggage and gear. 
The Crosstrek served as the perfect Monterey vehicle. Just perfect.

First, it’s the right size for carrying our gear. This year it was two of us plus luggage and camera gear. The Subaru perfectly swallowed that load.

The Crosstrek isn’t too big, either. Sure, a moving van would have also carried our gear, but the Crosstrek did so without being too big or too cumbersome. And I love wagons. They just make perfect sense.

The Crosstrek’s size also makes it easy to park. Parking in Monterey can sometimes be a challenge. We could easily slip into the spots marked “COMPACT.” Yay, us.

The Monterey week usually involves a bit of off-roading, too. No, it’s not Baja, but some of the parking is in dirt/grass lots that often feature a drainage culvert or curb or two. You don’t need a full-on desert truck, but having a little more ground clearance than a lowered BRZ is handy. While other participants minded their front spoilers while crawling along looking for a spot, we didn’t have to. Yay, no chipped front spoilers.

The latest Impreza platform features giant front doors. Getting in and out is easy. The new platform offers great visibility, too.

The seats are comfortable. Plus on our 2.0i Limited they were heated.

The instrumentation is good, featuring big dials. Most controls make sense, although the switches for the heated seat are a little hidden.

Despite some off-road capability, the Crosstrek goes down the highway nicely. It’s quiet, composed and comfortable. It’s also pretty good on gas, posting 26/34 mpg numbers according to Subaru. (The hybrid models match that highway figure while getting 30 in town.)

The engine makes good power, too. No, it’s not a WRX, but it’s quick enough for what it is.

Okay, the CVT. As far CVTs go, it’s not bad. I’m sure that sounds like damning praise, but really it’s a good box. The one place is feels a little weird is when starting on a hill. A few times it seemed to let the car roll a little more than I would have liked before it caught.

Would a five-speed have been preferred? Not in Monterey traffic, to be honest. Would a twin-clutch be good? Definitely, but what would the price bump be? For most people, the CVT is fine.

And while it might not have turned as many heads as the Mustang, the Subaru’s Venetian Red Pearl paint is stunning in real life. The Subaru website doesn't do it justice. The color is dark and rich.

What didn’t I like? Nothing, really. For the job, it was the perfect tool.

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Comments

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NickD
NickD Dork
8/24/16 9:29 a.m.

I think Subaru should've gone retro and named these the Leone, or DL or GL, or Loyale. AVO makes a turbo kit for these that pumps them to like 250hp at the wheels, probably pretty interesting

java230
java230 Dork
8/24/16 9:41 a.m.

So you say power was ok, how was it actually, say merging in traffic mated with the CVT? I kind of like them and think it would be a good little car, but my wife wants something that really gets out of its own way.

mattmacklind
mattmacklind UltimaDork
8/24/16 11:50 a.m.

Test drove the 2015 when we bought the 15 Outback. SWMBO loves these. I like everything but the power, but it really doesn't feel bad to drive.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/24/16 5:27 p.m.
java230 wrote: So you say power was ok, how was it actually, say merging in traffic mated with the CVT? I kind of like them and think it would be a good little car, but my wife wants something that really gets out of its own way.

If you stand on it, it's not bad. Just stand on it and let the transmission do its thing. Also, note that we were at sea level.

NGTD
NGTD UberDork
8/24/16 7:09 p.m.

Drove one a few weeks ago and I was getting over 40 mpg with the CVT. Unbelievable mileage for a Subaru. I put almost 900 kms on it. I was pretty impressed.

java230
java230 Dork
8/24/16 9:35 p.m.
David S. Wallens wrote:
java230 wrote: So you say power was ok, how was it actually, say merging in traffic mated with the CVT? I kind of like them and think it would be a good little car, but my wife wants something that really gets out of its own way.

If you stand on it, it's not bad. Just stand on it and let the transmission do its thing. Also, note that we were at sea level.

Thanks! I'm at sea level her current cars trans just sucks, it's like a good one Mississippi after flooring the gas before it will downshift and start to move. Bad for merging on the freeway....

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/24/16 9:58 p.m.

Take one for a spin and see what you think. I'm seeing those Crosstreks all over the place, too.

java230
java230 Dork
8/25/16 11:37 a.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: Take one for a spin and see what you think. I'm seeing those Crosstreks all over the place, too.

That's the plan! Im in WA, Subaru capital of the universe. Lots of Crossteks.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/26/16 10:32 a.m.

We parked next to another Crosstrek while in Monterey. They were everywhere. Heck, you see a lot here in Florida, too. My mechanic and his brother-in-law own our local shop. Both of their wives drive Crosstreks.

paranoid_android74
paranoid_android74 SuperDork
8/26/16 8:12 p.m.

Thank you for the review, this is very relevant to my interests.

It took a couple days for the base model price to sink in- wow!

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UltraDork
8/26/16 9:17 p.m.
java230 wrote: So you say power was ok, how was it actually, say merging in traffic mated with the CVT? I kind of like them and think it would be a good little car, but my wife wants something that really gets out of its own way.

Wife had a 2014 Forester, has the old 2.5 with 175hp and the CVT. So I imagine the XV is similar. Wasn't too bad merging into traffic or overtaking, just had to stomp on it like David said. I really love how the XV looks and drives just wish they offered an XT/STI/Sport model that had some more power. Those FA motors are just so unentertaining

Tom1200
Tom1200 Reader
8/26/16 9:23 p.m.

I drove one and liked it but wanted something with less interior noise and did need a bit more storage so I went with an 6 speed manual Outback. I do think Crosstrek is better looking........I'm especially fond of the road warrior wheels for some reason.

Tom

petegossett
petegossett UltimaDork
8/27/16 7:28 a.m.

I wonder if the hybrid model would have quicker acceleration than the gas one?

2002maniac
2002maniac Dork
8/27/16 7:53 a.m.

What the heck is a 6-speed CVT?

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
8/27/16 7:58 a.m.

Subaru is doing a pretty good job of making not quite a CUV. I'm actually really impressed with the mileage they finally been able to coax out of these powertrains.

paranoid_android74
paranoid_android74 SuperDork
8/27/16 10:04 a.m.

I haven't driven one yet, but may very soon.

Playing around on their website they have some interesting options you can build in.

Based on the same website, a WRX base model is $26,695.

But I'm being a sensible, kid transporting adult and not shopping those. Kind of...

bluescooby
bluescooby Reader
8/28/16 4:19 p.m.

My wife likes hers a lot but she does get frustrated with the lack of power.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/31/16 12:18 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: Subaru is doing a pretty good job of making not quite a CUV. I'm actually really impressed with the mileage they finally been able to coax out of these powertrains.

The economy really has improved with this current round of engines. Subarus weren't always known for their mpg numbers, but the current cars are changing that notion.

EvanR
EvanR SuperDork
8/31/16 12:59 p.m.

Tell me... Is the Crosstrek really $2800 better than the base Impreza hatch?

I couldn't see that much additional value when I was shopping these.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UltraDork
8/31/16 9:44 p.m.
EvanR wrote: Tell me... Is the Crosstrek really $2800 better than the base Impreza hatch? I couldn't see that much additional value when I was shopping these.

No but I feel the XVs will hold resale slightly better than the Impreza wagon

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