by Tony West and Sommer Thornton
The 2016 Subaru Crosstrek is refreshed with more style and functional tech. The Crosstrek has always been a capable fun little CUV with spunk thanks to innovative Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. The 2016 is still small, but the 5-passenger CUV ups its game and maintains affordability at just $25k. With a clean well-balanced powertrain, robust AWD and an impressive efficiency, the lil CUV is nearly a home run.
We reviewed the 2016 Crosstrek 2.0i Limited on a sunny fall week in Chicago. We took the whip all over the city, suburbs, downtown and south and north sides and didn’t use a full tank of gas. The premium model we reviewed also has a leather trimmed cockpit with advanced infotainment.
Compact Design with Utility Flair
The 2016 Subaru Crosstrek dials back the soccer mom look and add some muscle lines in the hood and 17 inch alloy wheels with all-season tires. I like the youthful flair of the Crosstrek that gives a sporty edge to its utility. The grille, headlights and bumper have been given a cleaner look with chrome and black trim. Also cool is the body-color door hands, black wheel arches, and the tinted privacy glass. Though low to the ground, the Crosstrek’s suspension has been raised to an 8.7 inch ground clearance, giving the CUV a more menacing stance.
The 2016 Crosstrek has a 103 inch wheelbase with 51 cubic feet of cargo space with the 2nd row folder, and 22 inches with the 2nd row up. The bike rack on the hood and the rubber flooring in the cargo area add more capability.
Versatile Powertrain with Remarkable Efficiency
The 2016 Subaru Crosstrek’s powertrain is an advantage over many of its competitors. We drove the whip for over 250 highway miles and still had a ¼ of tank. What’s great about the 2016 Crosstrek is that it’s ideal across many demographics – teenagers, young professionals, and older retirees. The ultra-efficient fun CUV accelerates, stops, and turns with precision. The Crosstrek is really up for anything thanks to robust Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with Active Torque Split that manages the power ratio with real-time data from acceleration, deceleration and road conditions.
The base model Crosstrek 2.0i has a standard 2.0 liter DOHC 4 cylinder Boxer engine with 5-speed manual transmission. The peppy CUV has 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque with Continuous All-Wheel drive. A dual active valve control system controls valve timing on intake camshafts. The Crosstrek 2.0i manual trans boasts an impressive 31 mpg highway EPA (23 mpg city/26 mpg combined).
The 2016 Crosstrek 2.0i Premium we reviewed has the same 16-valve Boxer engine with 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, but utilizes a Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission with paddle shifters and Active Torque Split All-Wheel Drive. The Crosstrek 2.0i Premium with the CVT boasts a staggering 34 mpg highway EPA (26 mpg city/ 29 mpg combined.)
The 2016 Crosstrek gets an A+ for performance. The powertrain is uber-efficient so you can take the whip city to city without visiting the pump. Acceleration is aggressive and well-balanced, stopping is precise, and turning and parking is on point in any road condition. When the going gets tough, the Crosstrek steps up with wonderful traction and AWD capability of a pick-up. The $25k Crosstrek is truly versatile, great for camping, a beach trip, or for trudging through thick snow.
The 2016 Subaru Crosstrek also has MacPherson strut front and double wishbone rear suspension for elevated reinforcement in treacherous conditions. Rack and Pinion electric power steering is standard as are the power-assisted 4-wheel disc brakes.
Safety features in the 2016 Crosstrek are more intuitive – sometimes to a fault. Vehicle Dynamics Control features all-wheel, all-speed traction control and rollover sensor. VDC in the 2016 Crosstrek makes the drivers feel invincible on the road. I could skate over an inch of mud. Other standard safety features include ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution, and Brake Assist and brake override safety systems.
The 2016 Crosstrek received a 5-star safety rating helped in-part by an advanced frontal airbag system. New safety features for 2016 include a standard Blind Spot Detection system with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist. The blind spot monitor was a little OCD. It beeped for cars that were not in my immediate blind spot. In some instances, cars were 2 lanes over, or were actually pedestrians on the sidewalk near the vehicle. And the forward collision technology would alarm sometimes when a car in front of me was changing lanes. Maybe it was a beep for a different feature, but I couldn’t tell.
EyeSight Driver Assist System is optional as is the Pre-Collision Braking System, Pre-Collision Throttle Management System, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Sway Warning, and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Typical Cabin with new Media and Comfort Tech
I was pleasantly surprised by the revamped cabin of the 2016 Crosstrek Limited. Where it was previously mundane, now it’s leather-clad with black gloss or chrome trim, a 7-inch multimedia touchscreen and cool new infotainment.
The 5-passenger CUV has 43 inches of front legroom and 35 inches of legroom in the 2nd row. Though low with a more sloped hood, the whip has decent headroom – 39 inches/front and 37 inches/rear. And the Crosstrek cabin has adequate hip room for a big guy, and accessibility for a petite person.
The small frame of the Crosstrek could be mistaken as tame from the outside. But the upgraded cabin is fresh with black leather with contrast stitching, and black gloss or chrome accents. Cool standard interior features on the Premium model include a leather steering wheel and shifter, two 12 volt outlets, carpeted floor mats, chrome door handles, a new illuminated storage tray in the center stack, an adjustable armrest for the driver, an Eco gauge, and power side mirrors.
The driver’s new digital dash hosts a wealth of info like average speed, range, an Eco gauge and settings for convenience and safety features. And the 3-spoke steering wheel has controls for audio, voice command, Bluetooth, cruise control, and maybe some safety features. I feel like the steering wheel has too many buttons, some I didn’t understand. Like what the heck does “i/Set” or the button with 4 lines mean?
I like the moonroof, the center touchscreen and the cool audio system. New for 2016 is Subaru’s Starlink 7.0 Multimedia Plus System with 7 inch multi-touch gesture display, Sirius XM All Access Radio and Sirius XM Travel Link.
The optional StarLink Connected services includes the StarLink Safety Plus package and the Security Plus Package. The StarLink Multimedia Navigation Package adds cool navigation with Sirius XM Traffic. The navigation in is system was great with simplistic advance capabilities to show traffic and speed limits.
Fully loaded the 2016 Subaru Crosstrek costs just $28,840 – more than the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V and the RAV 4 base models. In the past one could argue the others over a Crosstrek because of their more luxurious looking cabins. But because of its well-balanced versatile performance and upgraded interior, the Crosstrek appeals to more adventurous drivers.