2018 Subaru Crosstrek

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Review

The Subaru Crosstrek remains a versatile hatchback with SUV-like capabilities.
7.6 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Ed Hellwig
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The Subaru Crosstrek was a surprise hit thanks to its rugged styling, versatile size and affordable price. Nothing changes with the second-generation 2018 model: It continues to offer great value, nimble handling and a handsome design. A much-improved interior gives the Crosstrek a higher-quality feel inside while the revised suspension and stiffer chassis give a smooth ride in all but the most extreme circumstances.

Unlike some other subcompact vehicles in this class, the Crosstrek offers high-end options including a premium audio system and a full suite of advanced safety features that Subaru calls EyeSight. It includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control. Higher-end trim levels also offer automatic high beams and reverse automatic braking to avoid backing up into an unseen obstacle. No matter how you spec it, the Crosstrek delivers strong value and plenty of all-weather capability.



What's new for 2018

The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is all-new for 2018. It rides on a new chassis, gets an upgraded version of the previous engine, and features a more refined cabin design with additional features.

We recommend

As nice as it is to have all the latest features, the base Crosstrek 2.0i is where we would start. It has almost all of the same mechanical features as the higher trims along with plenty of basic interior amenities. Its does come standard with a manual transmission, but an automatic is an option.



Trim levels & features

The Crosstrek is offered in three levels of trim: 2.0i, 2.0i Premium and 2.0i Limited. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder (152 hp) engine powers all trim levels, and all-wheel drive is standard. A six-speed manual transmission comes on the 2.0i and 2.0i Premium trims, but a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is optional. The CVT is standard on the Limited. For 2018, the CVT gets a special driving mode that improves control in off-road situations.

The base 2.0i model is well equipped for its price range. It features 17-inch wheels, a 6.5-inch touchscreen dashboard display that offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone integration, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, carpeted floor mats, auto up/down windows for the driver and front passenger, a rearview camera and a driver information display.

Upgrading to the 2.0 Premium model adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, automatic headlights, heated seats and mirrors, and Subaru Starlink features such as collision notification and remote services. The 2.0i Premium models also offer additional options including a sunroof, contrasting interior stitching, and Subaru's EyeSight suite of advanced safety features with blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert. 

The top-of-the-line 2.0i Limited builds on the features of the Premium with 18-inch wheels, LED adaptive headlights, a larger 8-inch dashboard display, leather seating, automatic climate control, keyless entry and ignition, and a six-way power-adjustable driver seat. A Harman Kardon audio system and navigation are optional along with the EyeSight system, which adds automatic high-beam headlights as well.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our first drive of the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited (2.0L flat-4 | CVT automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.6 / 10

Driving

7.0 / 10

Acceleration5.0 / 10
Braking8.0 / 10
Steering8.0 / 10
Handling6.5 / 10
Drivability6.5 / 10

Comfort

7.0 / 10

Seat comfort7.0 / 10
Ride comfort8.5 / 10
Noise & vibration5.5 / 10
Climate control7.0 / 10

Interior

8.5 / 10

Ease of use8.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out8.5 / 10
Driving position8.0 / 10
Roominess8.5 / 10
Visibility9.0 / 10
Quality8.0 / 10

Utility

7.0 / 10

Small-item storage6.0 / 10
Cargo space6.5 / 10

Technology

7.5 / 10

Audio & navigation7.5 / 10
Smartphone integration7.0 / 10
Driver aids8.0 / 10
Voice control8.0 / 10

Driving7.0

The Crosstrek's 152-horsepower engine and CVT automatic provide sluggish acceleration. Highway merging and passing maneuvers can be very difficult. Considering the 10.3-second 0-60 mph at the Edmunds test track, a Toyota Prius can out-race you from a stoplight.

Acceleration5.0

The Crosstrek's 152-hp engine and CVT automatic combine for relentlessly sluggish acceleration. Highway merging and passing maneuvers can be difficult. Simulated gears keep the revs up, but there's not much power to call on. Zero to 60 mph at the Edmunds test track took a whopping 10.3 seconds.

Braking8.0

When you come to a stop, the pedal feel is good, with a linear progression in brake pressure. It's easy to modulate in city traffic and along the highway. In Edmunds' simulated panic-stop test, the Crosstrek slowed from 60 mph in 118 feet. That's an average distance for the class.

Steering8.0

The Crosstrek steers much like the Impreza, which means most buyers will be happy with the reassuring on-center feel and the lack of play in the steering wheel. The amount of power assist feels just right.

Handling6.5

While the Crosstrek's Impreza-based bones are solid, the hard tires and tall ride height result in compromised handling. There is a significant amount of body roll when you drive aggressively around turns, and the back end feels unexpectedly light when you hit a bump or patch of dirt midcorner.

Drivability6.5

At low speeds, the Crosstrek is less lurchy off the line than the outgoing model, but it still has an unresponsive CVT automatic. It is more drivable in the city than many larger crossovers — it can fit easily in tight spaces — but the lack of power is a drawback, especially with a full load.

Off-road9.0

Off-roading is where the Crosstrek shines thanks to the 8.7 inches of ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive. Subaru's X-mode (hill descent control) works well and is a rare feature in this class. Outside of the Jeep brand, you'll have a hard time finding a better off-roader for the price.

Comfort7.0

Thanks to its relatively quiet and smooth ride, the Crosstrek is pleasant to drive on the highway. Going up a hill or passing other cars makes for some serious racket under the hood, though. The seats are generally comfortable and well-bolstered.

Seat comfort7.0

Both the front and rear seats have decent bolstering, which helps you stay in place when driving around turns. The seat padding is rather firm, though. If you prefer softer seats, long trips may cause some comfort issues.

Ride comfort8.5

Ride comfort is excellent, even with the optional 18-inch wheels. Small and large bumps on the highway are absorbed easily and quickly. On undulating hills, the body feels stable.

Noise & vibration5.5

There is minor steering and center console vibration when idling, and our test car had a few noticeable squeaks and rattles. Wind noise is almost zero. But the engine is raucous and unpleasant when you go full throttle, which is pretty much every time you pass another car or climb a grade.

Climate control7.0

Our test car had the automatic climate control system, which is easy to operate through the three centrally located dials. A couple of the main air vents are right next to the steering wheel. They blow air directly on the driver's hands, which you may or may not like.

Interior8.5

The Crosstrek's controls are laid out well, and the car is easy to get in and out of. There's plenty of room in both the front and back seat. Thanks to the Crosstrek's lifted ride height (compared to its Impreza sibling), visibility is excellent.

Ease of use8.0

The radio controls, touchscreen interface and climate control knobs are generally easy to read and use, and the secondary dashboard info screen is surprisingly useful. Large fonts, high-resolution screens and simple button structures help ease the learning curve dramatically.

Getting in/getting out8.5

As you'd expect from a compact crossover, the seats are mounted right at slide-in height. Average-height adults can get in without ducking their heads much at all. That's true for both the front and rear seats.

Driving position8.0

The tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel allows for a lot of adjustment, and the driver's seat is six-way adjustable, so there's plenty of range for all types of drivers to find a good fit.

Roominess8.5

The Crosstrek has plenty of headroom and legroom in the front and a decent amount of room in the back. Those over 6 feet may find the backseat legroom a little cramped, but only just.

Visibility9.0

Visibility is excellent out of the front thanks to a big windshield, small front pillars and small sectional windows near the windshield. A big rear window and rear quarter-panel windows make for excellent rear visibility as well.

Quality8.0

There are lots of nice soft-touch surfaces on the inside of the Crosstrek, especially at the top Limited trim level. If you compare the Crosstrek to some class-leading compact hatchbacks, it's middling. But among the Jeeps of the world, it's a class leader.

Utility7.0

Compared against rivals such as the Jeep Compass and the VW Golf Alltrack, the Crosstrek's utility is below average. Even against a compact hatchback such as the Civic, total cargo capacity is a few cubic feet. It fits child seats easily, but limited cargo room and small-item storage are drawbacks.

Small-item storage6.0

Small-item storage is decent but pales in comparison to what you get from other top compact SUVs. The center storage console and door pockets aren't as deep or long as we'd like. There are several cupholders, all capable of accommodating a standard water bottle or soda can.

Cargo space6.5

The 55.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded is impressive but not class-leading. You get 20.8 cubes of cargo space behind the rear seats, compared to the 27 cubes in the Jeep Compass or the 30 cubes in the Ford Escape. This is a roomy compact hatchback, not a compact SUV.

Child safety seat accommodation8.5

Car seat accommodation is excellent. The big door openings, tall roof and easily accessible rear seat latches make for a swift install. The best part is the roomier, redesigned interior offers plenty of space for a big rear-facing seat, too.

Technology7.5

Standard features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto give the Crosstrek an easy entry point for tech-savvy users. The center screen's crisp graphics are appealing. Our test car had some issues with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. But when it's working, it's one of the nicer available interfaces.

Audio & navigation7.5

The optional Harman Kardon audio system gives a nice increase in max volume and audio quality compared to the stock system. The 8-inch center screen is pleasant to look at and sized right for the map display.

Smartphone integration7.0

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard even on the base Crosstrek, and both are responsive when working. However, even in our short test, there were several issues with USB connections and Bluetooth audio. We're not sure if our test car's bugs are representative or not.

Driver aids8.0

The adaptive cruise control maintains an acceptable but conservative distance. Lane keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring also work well. The reverse automatic braking feature that comes with the Limited trim is a useful companion to the rearview camera.

Voice control8.0

Voice controls have to be very specific to control things such as radio stations and song selection. But after learning the menu structure, things get easier. Otherwise, the system works relatively well with natural language to make calls or input directions on the navigation screen.

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.