Need a small, lifted wagon but loathe the idea of stepping into the world of crossovers? The Subaru Crosstrek (nee XV) is the answer.
A five-door Impreza body in platform shoes, the original Crosstrek proved its popularity with 95,000 of the Subaru brand's 615,000 sales last year. To maintain that momentum, the Japanese all-wheel-drive specialist is releasing a redesigned Crosstrek for 2018 based on the same global platform as the standard Impreza. It debuted in March at the 2017 Geneva auto show and now Subaru has released specifications for the United States.
Adopting much of the look of the latest Impreza, the 2018 Crosstrek rides on a slightly longer wheelbase but features shorter front and rear overhangs. Those changes should mean more cabin space without a substantial increase in length.
The shorter overhangs should also make this already tiny wagon easier to place in cramped settings like cities. Designers and engineers also borrowed liberally from the Impreza's cabin–there's an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and nicer cabin materials than last year's model.
There's a small bump in output, from 148 to 152 horsepower, courtesy of a reworked, direct-injected 2.0-liter flat-4 engine that's available with either a 6-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission. All-wheel drive is standard, naturally. Beyond the hardware changes, Subaru is promising a quieter driving experience than the previous model, although based on our impressions of the latest Impreza, drivers shouldn't expect an especially quiet vehicle.
After scoring an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award with the Impreza, it's no surprise that Subaru is seeking a repeat performance with the Crosstrek by adding its advanced EyeSight safety suite as an optional extra on the Premium trim and above. Combined with a lower center of gravity and a more rigid body, and active front headlights that move in relation to the steering wheel, we'd expect IIHS to issue the same plaudits for the Crosstrek that it gave to the Impreza.
For more on the Subaru Crosstrek, read the in-depth reviews at The Car Connection.