2017 Subaru Crosstrek

2017 Subaru Crosstrek SUV Review

All-wheel drive and wagonlike utility make the 2017 Subaru Crosstrek a solid adventure-mobile.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

There's a lot to like about the 2017 Subaru Crosstrek. It offers standard all-wheel drive, a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, and a roomy interior and cargo area. If you're an outdoor person and you don't like trucks or tall SUVs, or you live in snowy, slippery winter weather, it's a compelling choice. At its core, the Crosstrek is a more rugged version of the Subaru Impreza, with a beefed-up suspension, higher ground clearance and trail-ready styling. You can even get it with a manual transmission if you prefer commanding your own gear changes.

For 2017, the Crosstrek carries over largely unchanged from the current model, with the exception of a new trim level — 2.0i Premium Special Edition — that adds a few desirable features and cosmetic upgrades from the Premium trim.

Despite its all-weather and off-road capability, the Crosstrek isn't the first pint-sized crossover we'd recommend. An underpowered four-cylinder engine makes it one of the slowest among its competitors that we've tested, requiring almost 10 seconds from 0 to 60 mph — and that's with an empty cargo area and no traveling companions. The Crosstrek's noisy automatic transmission is also annoying, especially under hard acceleration when it fills the cabin with a loud drone.

If you spend most of your drive time on urban/suburban roads, better options include the Honda HR-V or Mazda CX-3. The Jeep Renegade is also a capable small crossover with bonafide off-road chops if you get the Trailhawk model. But if you're looking for an inexpensive and fuel-efficient (29 mpg combined) hatchback that you can regularly get dirty off the beaten path, the Subaru Crosstrek is a solid pick.



what's new

For 2017, the Subaru Crosstrek offers a new trim level, the 2.0i Premium Special Edition. Highlights include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and ambient cabin lighting. The Crosstrek Hybrid has been discontinued.

we recommend

If you can handle a manual transmission, get a 2.0i Premium and add the EyeSight safety system and upgraded touchscreen infotainment package. This saves you from the disappointing continuously variable transmission (CVT) experience but still brings niceties such as heated front seats and infotainment voice controls. Even with the CVT, though, we feel the Premium gives you the most flexibility for getting the features you want. You might want to spring for the optional speaker upgrade, too, because we've found the base systems to be underwhelming.

trim levels & features

The 2017 Subaru Crosstrek is available in four trim levels: 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Premium Special Edition and 2.0i Limited. All trims come with all-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (148 horsepower, 145 pound-feet of torque). The 2.0i covers all the basics, while the 2.0i Premium adds nice touches such as heated seats and an upgraded stereo. The 2.0i Platinum Special Edition offers a few feature and cosmetic upgrades, and the 2.0i Limited introduces leather upholstery and the top-end infotainment system.

Highlights for the 2.0i include a five-speed manual transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, roof rails, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, a 6.2-inch touchscreen display, smartphone app integration (including Pandora, iHeartRadio and other music services), and a four-speaker audio system. Hill hold assist is also included.

The 2.0i Premium adds heated side mirrors, heated front seats, an adjustable center armrest, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a cargo cover, a removable cargo tray and a six-speaker audio system.

There are a handful of options for the 2.0i Premium, including a continuously variable transmission (CVT), a sunroof, a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, the EyeSight Driver Assist system (bundles adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and front collision mitigation), Starlink connected services (roadside and emergency assistance, automatic collision notification), and an upgraded infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen, dual USB ports, voice control, satellite radio and all the base system's features.

The upgraded infotainment system requires opting for EyeSight, and the sunroof is only available with the CVT.

Moving up to the new 2.0i Platinum Special Edition (note that it can also be considered an optional package from an ordering standpoint) gets you special exterior and interior styling details, the sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

Finally, the 2.0i Limited builds on the 2.0i Premium with the CVT, automatic headlights, a sound-insulated windshield, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, upgraded gauges and instruments, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Depending on the trim level, other notable options include an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a navigation system and upgraded sound-system speakers.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium (2.0L 4-cyl.; CVT). Our findings remain applicable to this year's Crosstrek.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

3.0 / 5.0

Acceleration2.0 / 5.0
Braking3.0 / 5.0
Steering3.0 / 5.0
Handling3.5 / 5.0
Drivability3.0 / 5.0

Comfort

3.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration2.0 / 5.0
Climate control3.0 / 5.0

Interior

3.5 / 5.0

Ease of use3.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5.0
Driving position3.5 / 5.0
Roominess3.5 / 5.0
Visibility4.0 / 5.0

Utility

3.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.5 / 5.0
Cargo space3.0 / 5.0

Technology

3.0 / 5.0

Audio & navigation3.0 / 5.0
Smartphone integration2.0 / 5.0
Driver aids4.5 / 5.0
Voice control2.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The Crosstrek is a sure-footed machine with coordinated steering, handling and brakes. It's quite capable in snow and on dirt roads, too. But the engine isn't powerful, and the continuously variable transmission's tendency to keep it revving high only underscores that fact.

acceleration

edmunds rating
The small, underpowered engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT) conspire to make the Crosstrek one of the slowest cars in the class. The engine sounds strained under heavy throttle, and our 0-60 mph test required 9.9 seconds.

braking

edmunds rating
In town and in heavy traffic, the brakes are smooth with a moderate amount of pedal firmness. They're never touchy or oversensitive, either. The Crosstrek needed 120 feet to complete our simulated panic stop from 60 mph, which is about average for the class.

steering

edmunds rating
Electric power-assist steering makes for light effort at low speeds yet offers a decent amount of feedback on streets and highways. You get a good sense of what the tires are doing even if the grip limits are somewhat low.

handling

edmunds rating
Although the Crosstrek has soft springs and dampers to accommodate light off-roading, it still has the sure-footed handling of a car rather than a truck. There's a bit of body roll around corners, but this machine inspires confidence both on road and off.

drivability

edmunds rating
The smooth-yet-slurred nature of the CVT is readily apparent as it keeps the engine revving high when you accelerate from rest or hit a freeway on-ramp. Once up to speed, though, the Crosstrek is livable and pleasant.

comfort

edmunds rating
The Crosstrek is comfortable enough in many respects. It delivers a smoother ride than its high stance suggests, and its seats are reasonably accommodating. But this is not a particularly quiet car, with abundant powertrain noise when accelerating and wind and road noise while cruising.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
Nicely shaped seats offer good adjustability, although power adjustment isn't available. The padding is relatively firm, but there isn't a lot of lateral support. The points where your elbows rest are thinly padded.

ride comfort

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The Crosstrek's high-riding stance features abundant wheel travel for absorbing uneven terrain, which also makes it generally smooth and adept at absorbing bumps around town. Never harsh, but it can sometimes feel a bit bouncy after larger impacts.

noise & vibration

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Engine drone is hard to ignore when accelerating or when climbing hills because of the way the continuously variable transmission operates. Wind and road noise isn't annoyingly excessive, but it's definitely noticeable when cruising above 50 mph.

climate control

edmunds rating
The standard climate controls are large, easy to understand and within close reach of the driver. Airflow is strong, but the air-conditioning doesn't blow as cold as we'd like. Automatic climate control isn't available until the top-of-the-line Limited trim.

interior

edmunds rating
The Crosstrek offers a decent amount of head- and legroom front and rear. The cockpit is adjustable enough for the driver to settle into a comfortable position that gives a good view of the outside, but some controls are easier to use than others.

ease of use

edmunds rating
Most controls are easy to get along with, particularly the three-knob climate control setup. The display screen for the audio system is fairly useful, but the navigation interface is unnecessarily awkward. The steering-mounted control buttons are small and annoying to use, too.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
Since the Crosstrek is essentially an Impreza on stilts, its seat sits taller. This actually eases entry and exit, but taller folks might feel the need to duck a little because the Crosstrek combines the floor height of a small crossover SUV with a more carlike roofline.

driving position

edmunds rating
The driving position is a bit high, but that actually helps the driver see out over the hood. A tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and height-adjustable driver seat make it possible for most pilots to settle in comfortably without significant issues.

roominess

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The Crosstrek's high roof and tall windows make it feel roomy, especially in the headroom department, and you'll find sufficient head- and legroom in the rear seat, too. That said, pure crossover competitors such as the Honda CR-V are wider across the width of the cabin at the hips and shoulders.

visibility

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It's easy to see out of the Crosstrek because the roof support pillars are slender, the rear three-quarter blind spot is small, the mirrors are fairly big, and a rearview camera comes standard.

utility

edmunds rating
The Crosstrek's utility is solid but stacks up differently depending how you compare it. It can tote more than similarly priced subcompact crossover rivals such as the Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-3, but it lags behind pricier compact crossover SUVs including the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5.

small-item storage

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The glovebox is average-sized, but the Crosstrek has a large center console and several big cupholders. There's plenty of room to store most of your flotsam and jetsam.

cargo space

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There's 22.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, expanding to 51.9 cubic feet with those seats folded. It handily beats the Jeep Renegade (18.5 cubic feet and 50.8 cubes, respectively) but trails crossovers such as the Honda CR-V (37.2 cubes; 70.9 cubes).

technology

edmunds rating
The Crosstrek's smartphone convenience features make it look reasonably competitive on paper. But in reality it's missing some of the latest tech and what it does have feels a generation old. The opposite is true of the optional EyeSight driver aid suite, which works quite well.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
Large, aesthetically pleasing display with logical menu structure. Stereo sound quality is merely average, though. Navigation is optional and a bit cumbersome to use.

smartphone integration

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Bluetooth pairing is difficult, indexing songs on your device takes a long time every time you connect, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not available. You'll find either one or two USB ports, depending on trim level, and one auxiliary input.

driver aids

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Optional driver aids include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking. All systems work well, especially with Subaru's most recent EyeSight systems.

voice control

edmunds rating
Voice controls can change radio stations, adjust temperature and make phone calls. The system is often slow to respond, however, and many times during our test it failed to understand clear and deliberate commands.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.