2024 Subaru Crosstrek First Look: Small Evolution for the Small SUV

The Subaru Crosstrek is a sort of a “reverse halo car” for the Ebisu, Shibuya, Japan-based manufacturer. It lives near the bottom of Subaru’s lineup yet has become a quirky, adventurous demi-icon with its interesting color choices, rugged styling, usefully high ride height, and available six-speed transmission. Sure, it’s no Jeep, but it’s way more capable than anything else in the entry-SUV segment, and yet drives like, well, a car-based crossover on pavement—mostly because it is a car-based crossover, an Impreza on stilts.

It’s no wonder the Crosstrek became one of Subie’s best sellers, despite its very poky base engine and tiny infotainment screen, and now an all-new third generation version is coming for 2024. Debuting at the 2023 Chicago Auto Show, the new Crosstrek is a sign Subaru is listening intently to its customers and critics alike.

Space Requirements

Overall, the dimensions of the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek don’t change much, if at all, relative to the 2023 version. Of course, neither do the latest Impreza hatchback’s figures change much compared to last year’s model—remember, the two Subarus are closely related.

The Crosstrek’s wheelbase is barely changed (104.9 inches for the 23, 105.1 for the 2024) and the SUV is roughly the same width (70.9 for 2024, 71.0 for 2023). But, despite still having a towering 8.7 inches of ground clearance and nearly 20 degrees of ramp breakover angle, the overall height is shorter for the 2024 at 62.8 to 63 inches depending on trim. The 2023 was 63.6 inches tall when you included its roof rails. This hasn’t affected the headroom for Crosstreks with a moonroof, and that window to the sky doesn’t take as much room as it used to: Headroom on models so equipped is a few fractions of an inch better. Rear legroom is the same as before, but up front the new Crosstrek loses a smidge (0.2 inch). Cargo space also drops by a bit, from 20.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats to 19.9; fold the 60/40 rear seats flat, and that opens up to 54.7 cubic feet—down from 55.3 last year. At least the rear liftgate has a low liftover height and opens up to a 41.0 inch span.

Manual Labor No More

Subaru enthusiasts might be disappointed to learn that the Crosstrek’s manual transmission option is no more. It was previously available on the entry-level Base and Premium trims, where it paired to a pokey 2.0-liter flat-four engine with a meager 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. That engine carries over to the new Crosstrek, where it pairs exclusively with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), just like the more powerful up-level 2.5-liter flat-four, which is limited to the Sport and Limited trims and generates 182 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. Premium, Sport and Limited trims still get a faux manual shifting mode with eight pre-set ratios, but it’s nowhere near as satisfying or convincing as a conventional automatic transmission or traditional manual. Subaru hasn’t outlined as much yet, but we figure a hybrid Crosstrek will be part of the mix yet again, though no official details outside of the Japanese-market version have been offered.

As before, all-wheel drive is standard on every Crosstrek, which is enhanced by the standard equipment Active Torque Vectoring and SI-Drive management system. Base and Premium trims wear 17-inch wheels, while 18s are included on the Sport and Limited. Just like the WRX sport sedan, the Crosstrek will get a dual-pinion electric power steering rack. It’s just too bad Subaru still hasn’t ported over its turbocharged 2.4-liter engine from its larger models to this Crosstrek; a quicker, sportier version of this lifted hatchback would be quite cool.

Interior Improvements

Minor roominess differences aside, the Crosstrek’s interior improves for 2024. The front seats feature a more supportive design to reduce fatigue, the sound dampening makes the cabin even quieter, and the design is far more modern. Unfortunately, Subaru has decided to stick with smaller displays as standard, though there are two of them—one for infotainment functions and another primarily for HVAC and other ancillary functions. You can option the huge 11.6-inch STARLINK center information display, a single display with navigation and what3words (W3W) integration. This feature allows you to use three simple words to provide precise location information to the navigation system.

Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance features are standard across the line, and include pedestrian and bicycle detection, automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning; blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and an evasive steering assistant are optional and works below 50 mph to help maneuver around potential impacts.

The climate control of the new Crosstrek can be set to only service occupied seats rather than the entire cabin, via the standard dual-zone HVAC. There are also available options like a wireless phone charger in the center console and an all-weather package that includes heated seats, mirrors, and wipers for those icy days.

The Cost of Entry

The 2024 Crosstrek starts at $26,290, which is only $70 more than the 2023 Crosstrek’s opening ask, with the entirety of that increase chalked up to the destination and delivery charge going from $1,225 to $1,295. You’ll also only see that much of an increase when jumping into the Premium trim, which now starts at $27,440.

The singular version of the Sport trim of the Crosstrek sees a price bump of $1,070, going to $30,290. Meanwhile, the Crosstrek Limited gets a bigger price bump. At $32,190, it’s $1,470 more than the 2023 version.

Stacking It Up

With the pricing out of the way, we can now compare it to its four closest rivals: the Ford Bronco Sport, Kia Seltos, Hyundai Kona, and the Toyota Corolla Cross. When comparing their base AWD trims, only the Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend (the “Base” trim is no longer available from Ford and no timeframe has been given on its return) nearly prices itself out of competition with its $32,825 tab—$6,535 more than the cheapest Crosstrek. The entry-level Bronco Sport, which, again, is on hiatus, would have undercut the Subaru by $1,380. Kia’s Seltos likewise is $2,155 cheaper than the Crosstrek, while the Hyundai Kona SE AWD costs $1,315 less, and the Toyota Corolla Cross L AWD runs $595 less. Move up the Crosstrek’s price ladder, and it’s more or less the same story with the upper-level versions of these competitors, all of which are less money save for the Bronco Sport’s Heritage Edition exploding the register at $46,250—an absurd $14,060 more expensive than the Subaru Crosstrek Limited.

Is the Crosstrek Still Worth It?

If you value off-road capability (or at least the look of off-road capability), yes. Among the Crosstrek’s competitive set, only the Bronco Sport is similarly set up for off-pavement excursions. If you’re just looking for a subcompact SUV for a good price and don’t care much about its image… maybe not. We’ll render a final verdict on the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek when we’re able to get behind the wheel and test one for ourselves later this year.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Pricing

2024 Subaru CrosstrekMSRP

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