Not everyone needs a Ford F-150 Raptor for their off-pavement adventures. A Subaru Crosstrek can handle way more than you’d expect—as we learned with the last-gen hatch in Iceland. The all-new 2018 Crosstrek bolsters that off-road capability at a very minor cost increase over the 2017 model.
The 2018 Crosstrek rides on Subaru’s new Global Platform that underpins the 2018 Impreza and will eventually slide underneath all Subaru models. The company claims a 70 percent increase in torsional rigidity with greater ride comfort and less noise due to new cross sections in the frame and stiffer joints. Ground clearance remains the same at 8.7 inches—that’s more than in a Honda Ridgeline—while brake-based torque vectoring is now standard.
At $22,710, the 2018 Crosstrek 2.0i is $140 more than the 2017 version; all Crosstrek models are up by that same amount save for the Limited, which sees its price rise by $1140. Step up to the new 2.0i automatic (formerly, the base trim was manual only) at $23,710. With the continuously variable automatic, the Crosstrek now adds hill descent control along with X-Mode, Subaru’s tricky-spot helper that regulates torque, the CVT’s seven simulated gear ratios, and individual-wheel braking.
Manual-transmission models don’t get the X treatment, but stick-shift drivers enjoy a sixth cog where the 2017 model was only a five-speed. And yet, somehow, the manual’s EPA-estimated highway fuel economy drops 1 mpg to 23 city/29 highway. CVT models improve city mileage by 1 mpg and are now rated at 27 city/33 highway. The carryover 2.0-liter boxer four makes 152 horsepower, a four-pony bump.
The 2.0i Premium trim at $23,510 adds a new acoustic insulated windshield and exterior welcome lighting. The Starlink Multimedia system’s 6.5-inch touchscreen measures 0.3 inch wider and also includes a telematics service with automatic 911 dialing, “enhanced” roadside assistance, and vehicle diagnostic alerts. As with the base trim, choosing the CVT on the Premium adds $1000. But here, that decision opens up additional options such as the EyeSight package of driver assistance systems, blind-spot monitoring, and a sunroof.
A modest luxury experience awaits with the 2.0i Limited, which is CVT only and starts at $27,210. In addition to leather and a six-way power driver’s seat, the Limited brings bi-LED adaptive headlights, keyless entry with push-button start, and 18-inch wheels, all newly standard for 2018 (thus the big price jump for this model). The infotainment screen grows an inch and a half to 8.0 inches, and a new Harman Kardon stereo is optional on Limited models, though it’s buried within a $3445 option package. Look for the 2018 models, if you can tell them apart from the 2017s parked in the woods, starting this summer.