2018 Subaru Crosstrek – the Compact Warrior Crossover

by Tony West and Sommer Thornton

The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is a super utility vehicle wrapped in a low-slung compact shell. For 2018 designers put this athletic whip on its new Design x Solid platform giving it more go-anywhere capabilities, including a sporty new “x” mode.

The new Global Dynamic x platform, Subaru’s Boxer engine, intense Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Eyesight Driver Assist advanced technology are the foundation of the next generation of Subaru vehicles.

Subaru may be an unlikely class leader to some. But the sleeper hit carmaker leads the pack with its robust drivetrains and resilient suspension systems. From the BRX to the Outback, their whips push their performance limits on and off-road. Advanced safety and dynamic components attract buyers from many demographics.

The 2018 Crosstrek is available in a base 2.0i with Premium and Limited trims, all with Subaru’s innovative boxer engine and standard symmetrical all-wheel drive. We tested the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited during a week of harsh winter storms in Chicago. And the whip never slipped.

Since our review, it seems like there are more and more super Subaru Crosstreks on the road. In times where sedan sales are down and SUVs and crossover sales continue to grow, the Subaru is ideal for big city/ small town living, and adventures with the family.


Check out photos from our First Drive with the Subaru Crosstrek on our Facebook Page!


New Design Platform Enhances Dynamism

The 5-door 2018 Subaru Crosstrek looks similar to the first generation model. But subtle flair and a higher ride height give the whip a more athletic edge. A rugged stance is characterized by a 104.9 inch wheelbase and muscular body. The longer wheelbase allows for more cabin space – 20 cu.ft with the 60/40 seats up and 55 cu.ft with the seats folded down. Along with a standard rear spoiler, the new Crosstrek Limited offers a removable waterproof cargo tray and removable shade cover.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited
2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited

Standard roof rails can be customized for bikes, kayaks and more. Also impressive, the Crosstrek‘s roof can hold four times it weight.

LED headlights and exclusive Konoji LED daytime running lights are standard on the Crosstrek Limited along with 18 inch machined-finished alloy wheels. High Beam Assist is a new feature for 2018 that will bend lighting while curving and will turn on and off with approaching vehicles.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited
2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited

The inside of the 2018 Crosstrek is where the new magic happens. The leather-clad interior of the top-of-the-line Crosstrek Limited is fresh and fun with gray or black leather seating, orange stitching and two cool center screens that show a ton of helpful information. Drivers of the Crosstrek Limited will enjoy a 6-way power driver’s seat and standard digital dash. Other standard features inside the Crosstrek Limited include push button start, carpeted floor mats, rear vision camera and cool navigation.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited
2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited interior

In the instrument cluster, drivers have gauges and the multi information display that shows digital info like range, average mpg’s, tire pressure, and icons for the blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, and the Lane Departure Alert.

The Crosstrek Limited also has two screens in the center stack that provide the most pertinent information with seamless user-friendly layouts. The 8-inch touchscreen delivers a wealth of customizations for climate control and Subaru’s Starlink System for infotainment and navigation. The small screen above the center stack shows the time and temperature, but also shows dynamic safety features like the lane keeping alert and an illustration of chassis control.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited navigation
2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited navigation

New multimedia features include standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and near field communication for Bluetooth. For an extra $3,445 drivers can cop a moonroof, 8 speaker Harmon Kardon sound system and cool navigation.

While reviewing the whip in Chicago, a lot of people complimented the Crosstrek’s lower sportier stance, cool paint job and leather interior. There were only a few issues Sommer had with the Crosstrek’s interior, like the fact she kept brushing her head on the ceiling when she’s only 5’5”. And though sporty, having to crouch to climb in crossover is burdensome after a while.


Outstanding Performance, Agility and Efficiency

The robust new powertrain, advanced suspension and seamless transmission make the Subaru Crosstrek a true road warrior. We took the whip to the outskirts of Illinois and bordering Missouri towns during a rough snow storm. As we watched other vehicles sliding off the road, the Crosstrek remained planted to the ground and all-season tires gripping the snow.

The Crosstrek features a stuntastic 2 liter 4 cylinder Subaru Boxer engine with direct injection that’s matched to either a Lineartronic® CVT (continuously variable transmission) or a six speed manual transmission. Standard for the Crosstrek Limited and optional for the Crosstrek Premium, the CVT features a new 7 speed manual mode with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The 4 cylinder boasts 152 horsepower, 148 lb-ft of torque and 29 mpg combined EPA. The Subaru’s drivetrain has the perfect combination of aggressiveness, seamless shifting and efficiency.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited
2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited

Low-slung and longer, the Crosstrek attacks the road with precision and nimbleness– in any weather condition. Awesome handling makes this whip an adventure to drive in the snow and heavy rain. Even speeding over 50 mph I felt full confidence as the Crosstrek held its grip thanks to symmetrical all-wheel drive.

While most of its competitors offer front-wheel drive standard, the Crosstrek offers two types of intricate symmetrical all-wheel drive standard. With the 6-speed manual transmission, the AWD system uses a viscous-coupling locking center differential to distribute torque 50:50 front to rear. Models equipped with the Lineartronic CVT feature Active AWD. An electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch actively manages torque distribution based on acceleration, deceleration and available traction.

Double-wishbone independent rear suspension boast improved stiffness with pillow ball bushings and its stabilizer bar mounted directly to the body to also enhance handling and responsiveness.

All trim levels with the Lineartronic® CVT now come standard with X-Mode and Hill-Descent Control (HDC) to provide better wheel control on slippery surfaces and steep inclines. All models feature Incline Start Assist, which can briefly hold the vehicle while the driver pulls away from a stop on a hill.

A collection of advanced safety features with the Eyesight Driver Assist Technology help the Crosstrek achieve a 2017 IHS Top Safety Pick award. Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) combines stability and traction control and integrates a rollover sensor.

The Eyesight Driver Assist system includes Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Departure, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control. High Beam Assist and Steering Responsive High Beams both improve nighttime visibility for the Crosstrek and approaching vehicles.

The lane departure alert is awesome when it’s not OCD, beeping when cars are two lanes way and when I’m only swaying near the white lines. Swaying near the lane’s edges can happen often on a gusty day in Chicago. The whip wouldn’t take into account old lines that had been repainted or construction zones. It can be distraction especially in bad weather. Cruise control is aggressive and in gusty rain could cause the Crosstrek to slip.

Four-wheel disc brakes are on point, sturdier than some large SUVs. The 2018 Crosstrek also includes new Reverse Automatic Braking that can stop the whip in an impending collision.

Subaru’s Starlink Connected Services comes with the Safety Plus package that offers SOS Emergency Assistance, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Automatic Collision Notification, maintenance notifications, monthly vehicle health report and diagnostic alerts. Starlink Services can be upgraded to the Safety Plus & Security Plus package that adds Stolen Vehicle Recovery Service, Vehicle Security Alarm Notification, Remote Lock/Unlock, Remote Horn and Lights and Remote Vehicle Locator.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited
2018 Subaru Crosstrek Limited

Subaru’s versatile crossovers are highly-respected as fully-capable whips that are primed to conquer everyday driving and adventures off the beaten path. Now fresh performance, comfort and convenience features in the Crosstrek will have drivers rolling in-style, worry-free in any road condition.