Is the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek a Pandemic Antidote?

by Tom Crosby
white 2021 subaru crosstrek driving in woods

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, already the Japanese company’s most popular vehicle being sold in 2020, might be the perfect antidote for escaping the pandemic’s “new normal.”

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Limited Review

With a more powerful engine, improved handling and ride, upgraded driver safety aids, and its already solid nine-year reputation for reliability and resale, The Subaru Crosstrek becomes more attractive for outdoor adventures. It’s equipped for those who enjoy the solitude of off-the-beaten-path outdoor environments, eliminating crowds and diminishing the need for pandemic protocols.

Subaru customer research found Crosstrek owners rank and use their SUVs more than owners in competitive vehicles to carry outside gear, handle poor road conditions, perform off-road, sustain hard use without damage, exhibit durability, and use driver safety features.

We test-drove the upgraded top-trim Limited Crosstrek with the horsepower juiced 2.5-liter engine with an all-wheel-drive function. We navigated an 80-mile serpentine trip prepared by Subaru on twisting country back roads – some gravelly – in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

Our ride was composed on all surfaces with upgraded coil springs interacting with the front strut and rear multilink suspension. Handling was firm and precise. An X-MODE feature gently moved the five-seater to the center of the road when traveling under 18 miles per hour, with hands remaining on the steering wheel.

The all-new for 2021 Sport Crosstrek trim boasts a dual-function X-MODE that adds Hill Descent and better traction, especially in deep snow or mud, and costs $2,000 less. All Crosstreks (there are lower Base and Premium trims) have 8.7 inches ground clearance.

Sport and Limited Crosstreks use a continuous variable transmission (CVTT) with two driver-selectable modes: Intelligent, for improved fuel economy and Sport for quicker acceleration response for a sportier feel.

Crosstrek is currently the fastest-selling Subaru among the company’s eight models sold in the U.S., trailing only Outback and Forester.
Changes for the Limited include a new grille, bumpers, and foglight covers and Sport adds unique yellow badging and interior stitching, high wheel arches, and 17-inch gunmetal wheels among other features.

The spacious cabin is ergonomic with excellent details mapping on the 8-inch dashboard touchscreen and the cargo area illuminates at night above the compact spare tire. Limited can tow 1,500 lbs., Sport 1,000 lbs.

Subaru’s highly praised Eyesight suite of driver safety features has helped Crosstrek receive top safety scores.

The Subaru brand has won several industry awards for best resale value, brand loyalty, and most trusted brand.

At a Glance

LIKES: Price, spacious interior, ride, handling, get-a-way personality, mileage, versatility
DISLIKES: None found in one-day short drive
BOTTOM LINE: Has noteworthy appeal with strong features for avoiding pandemic-rich urban environments

Fact File: 2021 Subaru Cross Trek Limited

Base price w/destination fee
Curb weight
EPA Rating
$29,045($31,440 as tested)
3,298 lbs.
104.9 inches
175.8 inches
71 inches
2.0-liter, 4 cylinders, DOHC, BOXER, Direct injection
176-lbs.-ft. @ 4,400 rpm
8-gear continuous variable transmission
27 city mpg/34 hwy
16.6-gallons, regular
0-60 in just over 8 seconds

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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.

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