2016 Subaru Crosstrek: The Most Practical Of Small SUVs

The Subaru Crosstrek, which was called XV Crosstrek up until now, has been on the market since the 2013 model year. This scaled-down SUV fits right in with the crowd of small utility vehicles that includes the Nissan Juke as well as the all-new Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V. Built on the Impreza’s platform, the Crosstrek’s dimensions are slightly bigger than those of its rivals, which enhance its versatility, especially if we have a family to haul.

With a base price near the $25,000 mark, compared to a little more than $20,000 for its competitors, we could assume that the Crosstrek is more expensive. However, we must put things into perspective: not only does the Subaru benefit from a good level of standard features, but it notably includes heated front seats, automatic climate control and – of course – all-wheel drive. Dollar for dollar, this model is very competitive, and who would want a small SUV without AWD anyway? We’d lose one of the main advantages of this type of vehicle.

Under the hood, the Crosstrek boasts a 2.0-litre, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine. It’s the same one that motivates the Impreza and that develops 148 horsepower at 6,200 r/min as well as 145 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via either a five-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic.

According to which gearbox is chosen, two drivetrains are offered with the powertrain. The one that accompanies the manual transmission has a fixed 50/50 front/rear torque split, while the one matched to the CVT automatic electronically varies power between 60/40 and 50/50 front/rear.

On the road, we like the good outward visibility. The low beltline and the vehicle’s square shape both contribute to maximize this aspect. With its 148 horses, the 2.0L engine handles the load, but it’s by no means overpowered. We would’ve liked to have a little more muscle for passing manoeuvres, but the manufacturer prefers aiming for an affordable price and especially good fuel economy.

It will get you dirty

Confronting the first real snowstorms of the season, we were more than happy to be at the helm of the Subaru Crosstrek. Its compact size and its low weight make it very agile. No matter the road conditions, its all-wheel drivetrain proved its capability and gave us a good feeling of security.

Our main complaints? By design, it’s impossible to open the hatchback without getting our hands dirty while we try to find the release button under the lift handle. We must also be very careful while stepping out of the vehicle, as mud and slush have a tendency to gather up on the sides and on the door sills.

Despite this, the Crosstrek is one of the most interesting SUVs in its segment. And with its superior cargo space, it’s most certainly the most practical.

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