No company understands riding a wave like Subaru (that's not a surfing joke, I promise). Rather than giving its cars ground-up, clean-sheet redesigns with each new generation, Subaru instead focuses on incremental improvements, largely based on customer feedback. It's a smart move; Subaru owners absolutely love their cars. And it's a big reason why — on the heels of its best sales month ever — the new 2024 Crosstrek is all about evolution, not revolution.
Subaru will offer the latest Crosstrek in Base, Premium, Sport and Limited trims, but only the first two will be available when the SUV goes on sale this spring. Why? Production of the Base and Premium has already started at the company's facility in Japan, but the Sport and Limited will be built at Subaru's US plant in Lafayette, Indiana. Building the Crosstrek in two locations is necessary in order to keep up with strong global demand. Seriously, people can't get enough of these things.
The main differentiator between the Base/Premium and Sport/Limited models is what's under the hood. The less-expensive versions use a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-4 engine that produces a modest 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. The Sport and Limited, meanwhile, will have a 2.5-liter flat-4 with 182 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. Regardless of engine, every Crosstrek comes standard with a continuously variable transmission — no more manual, womp womp — and, of course, all-wheel drive.
Yes, the 2.0-liter engine's output is meager, and no, the Crosstrek is not what I'd call quick, but for most drivers in most situations, it'll be fine. Driving around Palm Springs, California, and meandering through Joshua Tree National Park (highly recommended!), the Crosstrek Premium is unexciting but totally competent. Rather than boost power, Subaru instead worked to reduce overall powertrain vibrations, making the 2.0-liter engine less of a bother. Increased sound insulation quells wind and road noise, too, though it can't quite shush the coarse sound of the CVT when you floor the throttle to get around a sluggish Prius.
Subaru estimates the 2.0-liter Crosstrek will return 27 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combined, which are solid numbers for a compact, all-wheel-drive crossover. There's no word if Subaru is planning any sort of electrified Crosstrek like it did in years past, but I won't hold my breath
The Crosstrek continues to ride on the modular global platform that underpins every current Subaru -– aside from the Toyota-shared BRZ, natch. The main differences between the 2024 Crosstrek and its predecessor are slightly softer springs and dual-pinion electric power steering that improves turn-in response, but the overall on-road vibe is pretty much the same. Riding on 17-inch wheels wrapped in 225/60R17 Yokohama Geolandar all-season tires, the Crosstrek is comfortable and easy to drive. It doesn't bounce around over highway expansion joints, and while it's hardly sporty, it won't completely fall apart if you decide to hustle it through a switchback.
Are there more engaging compact crossovers out there? Sure. The Mazda CX-30 is the outright champ if you prioritize driver engagement, and the Hyundai Kona and Kia Seltos offer punchy turbocharged engines. But let's be honest: The needs of most small SUV shoppers are the ability to run errands and sit in traffic without any hassle. That the Crosstrek is more quiet and comfortable than before are its strongest virtues.
It makes sense that the new Crosstrek isn't any more expensive than before, since it's largely the same product, just reheated and slightly restyled. That might not seem like much, but remember, Subaru definitely knows what it's doing. Customers love the Crosstrek because it's straightforward, rugged and neatly fits into their daily lives. Nothing about the new 2024 Crosstrek will cause it to fall out of those good graces.