2018 Subaru Crosstrek Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Mar 07, 2017
  • Redesigned small crossover SUV based on the Subaru Impreza
  • Raised suspension, SUV styling cues, actual off-roading capability
  • 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, CVT, all-wheel drive
  • Significant structural improvements for improved driving dynamics and crash protection
  • Next-generation driver-assistance, collision-avoidance, and infotainment technologies
  • On sale in fall of 2017, just in time for winter


You’re looking at one of the worst kept secrets in the automotive industry, the redesigned 2018 Subaru Crosstrek. Introduced at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show as the Subaru XV, the Crosstrek is basically a Subaru Impreza hatchback with a raised suspension, SUV styling cues, and an enhanced all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that gives the small crossover genuine off-roading capability.

Exterior Features

Look past the exaggerated matte-black body cladding, the big 18-in. aluminum wheels painted black with a machined surface, and the roof rails, and it is easy to see the Subaru Impreza 5-door hatchback on which the 2018 Crosstrek is based.

In fact, you might need to look closely to even tell the difference between the new Crosstrek and the old one. Though they are quite similar in terms of design, they are significantly different beneath their skins.

Speaking of skins, the new Crosstrek will be available in a couple of new colors unless Subaru is limiting them to Europe: Cool Gray Khaki and Sunshine Orange.

Interior Features

As was true for the redesigned Subaru Impreza, the new 2018 Crosstrek’s interior is larger with improved outward visibility and additional cargo space. Also, perhaps because it is popular with people who pursue outdoor activities and likely sweat a lot, Subaru says the seat fabric is upgraded for better breathability.

For reference, the Impreza 5-door carries 20.8 cu. ft. of cargo behind its rear seat, and up to 55.3 cu. ft. of cargo with the rear seat folded down. Subaru has not confirmed these numbers for the new Crosstrek, but if they don’t match exactly, they will be very close.

Optional Features

In addition to the safety and infotainment options discussed below, the new Crosstrek will likely offer options including leather seats, keyless access with push-button engine starting, automatic climate control, and a Harman Kardon premium sound system. Heated front seats, heated side mirrors, and a wiper de-icer system will come in handy during winter.

Additionally, Subaru dealerships will be able to install a wide range of accessories designed to support a variety of activities and lifestyles.

Under the Hood

For the new Crosstrek, Subaru will use the same direct-injection, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine it employs in the redesigned 2017 Impreza, where it meets Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) standards.

Featuring horizontally opposed engine architecture, this boxer-type engine makes 152 horsepower when installed in the Impreza and is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with programmed, stepped ratios that make it sound and feel more like a traditional automatic transmission. A manual shift mode with paddle shifters provides access to the 7 transmission ratios, and Subaru says this CVT delivers better acceleration and fuel economy than the outgoing Crosstrek.

Additionally, Subaru’s symmetrical AWD system is standard in the 2018 Crosstrek. Now equipped with an X-Mode traction and hill-descent control system that gives the plucky little Subie improved off-roading capabilities, this upgrade, combined with generous ground clearance unmatched by nearly everything else in the segment, means the Crosstrek can go farther off the beaten path than most small crossover SUVs.

Structural rigidity improves by at least 70%, according to Subaru, resulting in “dynamic qualities that far surpass other vehicles” in the segment, Subaru says. The new Crosstrek also boasts a lower center of gravity compared with the model it replaces, an improved suspension resulting in a 50% decrease in body roll, quicker and more responsive steering with active torque vectoring, and reduced levels of noise, vibration, and harshness.


Increased use of high-strength steel in the 2018 Crosstrek’s vehicle architecture also produces a 40% improvement in crash-energy absorption, according to Subaru, which ought to result in outstanding collision protection.

To avoid collisions in the first place, the Crosstrek will offer EyeSight, a suite of driver-assistance technologies including adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist. This is standard on European versions of the vehicle but could be an option in the U.S. market.

Additionally, the new Crosstrek will be available with blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change assist, reversing automatic braking, and high-beam assist systems.


If the Impreza serves as any indication, Subaru will offer a standard Starlink infotainment system with a touch-screen display in the redesigned 2018 Crosstrek. In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, it will supply Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone-projection technology as well as access to Pandora and Aha radio.

As an upgrade, a version with a larger 8-in. touch-screen display will be available. It adds Starlink subscription services and applications, connected navigation, voice control, and hands-free text-messaging support. An embedded navigation system is available with this version of Starlink.

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