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2024 Subaru Crosstrek driving off-road downhill

Driven: New 2024 Subaru Crosstrek's Subtle Improvements Make a Difference

  • The Crosstrek is redesigned for 2024 with updated styling.
  • It features next-generation infotainment and safety systems
  • But how does it drive?

Take one Subaru Impreza hatchback, raise the suspension, slap on some body cladding, and you've got yourself a Subaru Crosstrek crossover SUV. That recipe has worked wonders for Subaru since the automaker introduced the first Crosstrek more than a decade ago. Now Subaru has launched the redesigned 2024 Crosstrek, and it's clear the automaker's smallest crossover is sticking to a tried-and-true recipe. It's essentially the same size as before and continues on with the same engines. The biggest changes relate to the 2024 model's updated styling and addition of Subaru's latest technology and driver assist features. But how does the new Crosstrek drive? Keep reading to find out.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek front three-quarters view

What's under the hood and more

The Base and Premium trim levels get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (152 horsepower, 145 lb-ft of torque), while the upper-tier Sport and Limited employ a 2.5-liter four-cylinder (182 hp, 178 lb-ft). These engines are carryovers from the prior-generation Crosstrek. The previously available six-speed manual transmission for the base engine is gone, leaving a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) as standard equipment. In all but the Base trim, paddle shifters provide manual control over eight programmed transmission ratios.

All-wheel drive is standard, and the 2024 Crosstrek matches the outgoing model's generous 8.7 inches of ground clearance. The automaker has improved the AWD system to offer quicker response to changing surface and driving conditions. Hill start assist is standard, along with Subaru's X-Mode traction and driving mode technology, which includes hill descent control. With the Sport and Limited trims, X-Mode offers Deep Snow and Mud settings in addition to Snow and Dirt.

Other mechanical details include new steering derived from the WRX sport sedan, which Subaru says will provide a more direct steering feel and quicker response for the driver and a 10% stiffer body structure. Overall, the 2024 Crosstrek is incrementally improved and drives a bit better than the old model while still being more capable off-road than most other small SUVs.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek driving uphill

So, how does the Crosstrek drive?

Subaru says its core focus for the 2024 Crosstrek is to "bring joy and smiles to our adventure-seeking customers" for every day of the week including vacations. That means comfort not just in the daily gridlock but on long road trips as well. After experiencing how well the Crosstrek Premium drove, we feel like Subaru succeeded.

The ride has been improved over the previous generation, and the Crosstrek feels smooth on the highway. We also drove it off-road and also found it's capable of absorbing rougher terrain and deep ruts. The updated X-Mode system is pretty capable for maximizing available traction and keeping the Crosstrek moving, even when the car is lifting a wheel off the ground. We're also excited about the possibility of a future Wilderness model that would gain similar enhancements as those on the Forester and Outback Wilderness models.

During our brief multi-terrain drive, we were able to experience the updated steering system and it responds very well and provides good feel. On highway cruising, small inputs keep you in the lane and at slower speeds, it's easy to turn to full lock, which will help in parking lots.

This new-generation Crosstrek is all about incremental improvements. Unfortunately, the engine would benefit from something more than that. While the Crosstrek's acceleration is adequate for the vehicle, it certainly won't wow anyone. That said, the CVT automatic responds a bit quicker than before when you step on the gas, and the engine is not as loud and rough-sounding thanks to new engine mounts.

Ride comfort has been addressed with the updated suspension system due to the stiffer chassis. That's car-geek-speak for it's a more plush ride than the previous one. Being smooth on the highway is par for the course, but it can also absorb a lot of impacts on rougher roads and keep you pretty stable and not being tossed back and forth and to and fro. The updated seats have supportive bolstering and provide good cushion as well. This would be an excellent car for long road trips.

How's the Crosstrek's interior?

As it has in the current-generation WRX sedan and redesigned 2024 Impreza, Subaru updates and refines the new Crosstrek's cabin. Still, from the materials and analog instrumentation to the switchgear and overall layout, the Crosstrek remains unabashedly a Subaru. Overall interior passenger space is essentially unchanged from the previous model.

Cloth seats are standard, with leather available in the Crosstrek Limited. Subaru's new seat designs improve support and overall comfort while reducing fatigue on longer drives. The Crosstrek's interior is also quieter when you're driving on the highway.

A dual-zone automatic climate control system is standard in every new Crosstrek. Available upgrades include a sunroof, a power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, a larger touchscreen infotainment system and more.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Sport interior with 11.6-inch touchscreen

And about the tech ...

Subaru offers two different approaches to the Crosstrek's infotainment and climate control systems. In the base model, the SUV features dual 7-inch touchscreen displays stacked atop one another. The top screen controls the infotainment functions, including Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite radio. The bottom screen is for the dual-zone climate system and other vehicle settings.

Upgrade to the Crosstrek Premium, Sport or Limited, and a sharp-looking and responsive 11.6-inch touchscreen display mounted in portrait orientation dominates the center of dashboard. It incorporates the climate system and vehicle settings and adds wireless versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Subaru's Starlink connected services. The Safety and Security subscription plan includes automatic collision notification, SOS emergency assistance, and a remote vehicle locator, among other features.

During our freeway drive in the Crosstrek Premium, we were able to test the updated (and standard) EyeSight driver assist technology and can report that, while the following distance is still conservative, it adapted well to the vehicle in front of it and ping-pongs in the lane much less with the active lane keeping assistance than it did with the previous-generation EyeSight. The next-gen EyeSight collection of driver aids also benefits from a wider field of view to identify potential collisions sooner, improved software, and an electronic brake booster for smoother braking operation.

Also new for 2024 is an automatic emergency steering system, which is standard on the Limited and optional for other trims as part of the Blind-Spot Detection package. It helps a driver to avoid a collision at speeds under 50 mph. If the Crosstrek encounters an obstacle blocking part of the lane ahead, automatic emergency steering uses the blind-spot warning system to determine if it is safe to automatically steer the Crosstrek to the outer limit of the travel lane. This may assist a driver in avoiding the obstacle and preventing a collision.

Is storage any better?

If you were hoping the redesigned 2024 Crosstrek would have more cargo space, we regret to inform you that it has instead shrunk a little bit. The outgoing Crosstrek offered 20.8 cubic feet of volume behind the back seat, and a maximum of 55.3 cubes with the back seat folded down. The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek's cargo space measurements are 19.9 cubic feet and 54.7 cubes.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek rear three-quarters view

Edmunds says

Subaru has undoubtedly improved the 2024 Crosstrek with this redesign. However, the changes are indeed incremental rather than dramatic, which is understandable given how successful the outgoing second-generation version is. Still, it would've been nice to see Subaru gain additional ground in engine power and cargo space, two of the weak points of the Crosstrek it replaces. We will have to stay tuned for what might come next. Subaru says hybridization and electrification are focuses for its vehicles, but so far it hasn't commented on when this might come to the Crosstrek. Despite this, we have no doubt that the all-new 2024 Crosstrek will remain popular with adventurers on a budget.