by: Aman Sundher
When I was asked to test drive Subaru’s 2016 Crosstrek, I literally had no idea what to expect. The only thing going through my head was, “a Subaru STi SUV? 305hp in a crossover sounds amazing!” Boy, was I wrong. My first thought was, “it’s just an Impreza 5 door hatchback with a small lift”. Needless to say, my first impression was less than spectacular, but that changed pretty quickly.
Let’s start with the Interior. My first surprise was when I sat in the driver’s seat. Subaru has come a long way from the bland and cheap interiors of the early 2000’s. I’ve built and driven a fair number of WRX’s and STi’s in my time and had nothing but bad things to say about the interior quality. The Crosstrek however, was a pleasant surprise. The layout of the interior controls is nearly identical but the quality has gone through the roof. The touch screen entertainment system is clear and easy to use, the gauge cluster is easy to read and there is another information screen on top of the dash.
I found the orange stitching on the steering wheel and trim to be a bit much but found the bucket seats very comfortable and supportive. Trunk space was a little bit of a letdown. If the rear seats aren’t folded down, you’d be lucky to get 2 carryon suitcases in there. But once the rear seats are down, there’s enough room for luggage, groceries, dogs or whatever your heart desires. A power sunroof is a great option to have; unfortunately, during my time with the Crosstrek, there was some wind buffeting in the cabin, unless the rear windows were down. One thing you’ll notice for sure is that visibility in the Crosstrek is absolutely unreal! Typical crossovers have high body lines and small windows, but that is definitely not the case in this Subaru. A massive windshield and A-pillar windows give you the impression that you’re driving a glass box. And since this vehicle is made to go off-road or into the wilderness, you’ll get stunning views.
On the outside, the first thing I noticed about the Crosstrek was the brilliant Hyper Blue paint that stood out from a mile away. It’s probably one of my favorite colors currently available on any vehicle, and the Crosstrek wears it perfectly. The 17” alloy wheels look great and the hatch spoiler really finishes the body lines. The roof rack gives that outdoorsy look, like it’s ready to tackle camping, fishing or any kind of outdoor activity. Sure, the vehicle kind of looks like a lifted Impreza, but the flared black arches and bumpers give it a more aggressive stance. I think Subaru did a good job on the overall design of this crossover.
Subaru is renowned worldwide for their amazing driveline and all-wheel drive system. However, the Crosstrek driveline has a bit of a love-hate relationship with me. The all-wheel drive system is brilliant, period. I managed to test it on gravel roads and a few muddy hills and it didn’t miss a beat. If it’s anything like the system in the Impreza, I don’t think it’ll have any problems in BC winters, or any winters for that matter. That being said, if you need to get somewhere in a hurry, you may find yourself cursing this boxer engine.
With a not-so-astounding 148hp and 145 lb-ft of torque, acceleration is the last thing on the CrossTrek’s mind. Merging onto a highway with a downhill onramp is hard enough, let alone trying to climb steep hills. I understand with fuel prices soaring and everyone trying to be eco-friendly, it’s best not to always go for high horsepower numbers. But tipping the scales at nearly 3200 lbs, the Crosstrek needs a little more oomph. I’m sure the CVT doesn’t help with acceleration, but you can be sure it helps with the fuel economy.
Now don’t get me wrong – the Crosstrek is a great commuter and crossover for the small to mid-sized family. You get Subaru dependability backed with a 3-year bumper to bumper warranty and 5-year major components warranty as standard. Rest assured that the Crosstrek will last you for years to come. That coupled with Subaru’s amazing resale value make this vehicle a great bargain; starting price is just $27, 190 for the Touring model. I came into this test drive expecting a monstrous off-roader that could handle it all. But what I left with was a great crossover that excels at doing what it’s meant to. There’s a reason Subaru has been breaking sales records for the last seven years, and now I know why.