2018 Subaru Crosstrek SUV Review

The Subaru Crosstrek remains a versatile hatchback with SUV-like capabilities.
by Ed Hellwig
Edmunds Editor
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

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.

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).


Responsive steering, a refined ride and plenty of ground clearance make this a surprisingly fun car to drive on both paved and dirt roads. A lack of power from the standard four-cylinder engine is the only downside to this very capable hatchback.


Reduced cabin noise and a more refined ride make the Crosstrek feel far more comfortable in everyday driving compared to the first-generation model. The firmly padded front seats are well suited for long drives, and the increased rear-seat legroom makes it livable for adults in back.


Higher-quality materials and a more refined design make the cabin of the Crosstrek look less utilitarian. The overall control layout remains straightforward, so even though there are more features available, it's still a user-friendly design.


A slight increase in size opens up slightly more passenger room than before. The measured cargo space is down slightly, but a wider opening makes for easier loading.


New touchscreen displays are easy to read and come standard with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration. The optional EyeSight system is one of the better active safety bundles available in this class.

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.