Subaru Crosstrek Review & Prices

Subaru’s Crosstrek is pretty good to drive and amazing off-road, but a poor engine, rubbish economy and high price tag consign it to niche status

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Find out more about the Subaru Crosstrek

Is the Subaru Crosstrek a good car?

The Subaru Crosstrek is the replacement model for the Subaru XV, and like that car it takes the form of a jacked-up hatchback with a rugged makeover. In contrast to many similarly-sized SUVs, though, the Crosstrek’s beefy body cladding isn’t just for show - as with all Subarus, it comes equipped with the brand’s trademark full-time all-wheel drive system which gives it a real degree of capability on the rough stuff.

The XV never sold in huge numbers in the UK, mainly because it had fairly high running costs thanks to Subaru’s insistence on thirsty engines and the inclusion of all-wheel drive. The Crosstrek is much of the same. But think of it like running an Aga - it might be expensive and not particularly popular these days, but those who have them, swear by them.

Such is usually the case with Subarus, whose owners enjoy not just their capability on the rough stuff but an unimpeachable reputation for reliability. Again, much like an Aga. Those who are open to different kinds of oven - er, off-roader - might consider four-wheel drive versions of models such as the Volkswagen T-Roc or Skoda Karoq.

If you need proper mud-plugging capability, you’ll need to spend a lot more money on something like a Jeep Wrangler or Land Rover Defender. If you're less fussed, one of the best SUVs could do you - with or without four-wheel drive.

The Crosstrek comes fitted with a four-cylinder ‘Boxer’ engine (a flat engine with opposed cylinders) paired to a hybrid system. It produces 136hp and is paired to a continuously variable transmission, which is nowhere near as good as the one you’ll find on a hybrid Toyota - or the more conventional automatic transmissions you’ll see on alternative 4x4s.

Despite the electrification, the engine claims only a maximum of 36.8mpg - that’s what comes from having all four wheels permanently driven. CO2 emissions of 174g/km should also ensure the Crosstrek remains off any company car shortlists, too. It’s the only engine option available, so it’s no competition for higher-powered opposition.

The Subaru Crosstrek brings real off-road prowess into a neat, family-friendly package - shame it’s expensive to buy and run

The Crosstrek’s interior is fitted with Subaru’s 11.6-inch portrait-oriented infotainment system with chunky graphics albeit a rather outdated interface. What’s less outdated is the Eyesight safety system - it’s powered by two cameras at the top of the windscreen, and works extremely well.

It means safety equipment across both of the Crosstrek’s trim levels is very generous. Every model gets adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping aids, traffic sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, among others.

The Crosstrek is a mixed bag to drive. Its hybrid engine is rather gutless, so it’s not much fun to sling about a country lane and motorway journeys are a little more taxing than they would be in something more powerful.

However, it corners really nicely and is pretty comfortable. Plus, there’s that off-road ability - the Crosstrek isn’t a true mud-plugger like a Land Rover Defender, but with permanent four-wheel drive and some useful off-road tech it’s more capable than any other compact SUV on sale. No trepidation about muddy lanes or overflow parking in a field.

If you like what you’ve read so far you can see how much you could save by checking out Carwow’s Subaru Crosstrek deals. You could get a great deal on the old Subaru XV by browsing our used Subaru deals. And when the time comes to sell your current car, Carwow can help with that too.

How much is the Subaru Crosstrek?

The Subaru Crosstrek has a RRP range of £34,345 to £36,345. However, with Carwow you can save on average £1,000. Prices start at £33,345 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £467. The price of a used Subaru Crosstrek on Carwow starts at £33,995.

Our most popular versions of the Subaru Crosstrek are:

Model version Carwow price from
2.0i e-Boxer Touring 5dr Lineartronic £35,345 Compare offers
2.0i e-Boxer Limited 5dr Lineartronic £33,345 Compare offers

Subaru’s unique engineering doesn’t come cheap, and its c.£34,000 price tag could get you into a more powerful, more efficient and better-equipped Skoda Karoq with ease. If your concern is having a family-friendly SUV, then the great-value Citroen C5 Aircross comes in much cheaper - and if the draw is the Subaru’s off-road capability, then a pick-up truck would probably be a better bet. However, it does look like a bit of a steal next to cars like the £60,000 Jeep Wrangler or £51,000 Land Rover Defender 90 - and though it’s not as stylish or as overtly off-road-biased as those cars, on the right tyres there’s really not much of a difference in their abilities.

Equipment is quite generous regardless of which model you choose. The base-spec Limited model, for just over £34,000 gets 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights that turn with the steering, rear privacy glass, heated front seats, climate control, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Stepping up to the Touring model costs £2,000, and brings leather upholstery with electrically adjustable seats, built-in sat-nav, 18-inch alloy wheels and additional driving modes for off-roading. However, you miss out on some of the latest equipment that other cars get as standard - no version of the Crosstrek gets a digital dashboard, for example.

Performance and drive comfort

Surprisingly good in the corners, but a weedy, noisy engine spoils things

In town

The Crosstrek’s hybrid engine doesn’t really bear up to comparison with, say, a Toyota hybrid. While it should be really good around town - with the electric motor taking the brunt of getting up to speed and low-speed manoeuvring - more often than not the petrol engine is buzzing away in the background. You can get the Crosstrek to move on electric power only with the very lightest touch on the accelerator.

The gearbox can be frustrating too, as without much provocation it sends the engine revs spiralling, which is noisy.

It’s not all bad, though. The Crosstrek has more ground clearance and a higher ride height than most of its contemporaries, which helps it to deal well with potholes, speed bumps and other road imperfections.

On the motorway

The Crosstrek has a pretty weedy power output with just 136hp on tap. The benchmark 0-62mph sprint takes 10.8 seconds, almost three seconds slower than a Skoda Karoq of the same price. The lack of shove does make itself known especially when you’re trying to pull out from a short sliproad or make a quick overtake. Again, the gearbox here doesn’t help matters, as it often holds the engine revs uncomfortably high making for noisy progress.

The steering is a little twitchy at speed but Subaru’s assisted driving features - adaptive cruise control and active lane-keeping assistance - are excellent, rarely chiming in when they’re not wanted and generally maintaining a relaxing atmosphere

On a twisty road

For a fairly tall, chunky car, the Crosstrek is excellent in corners. The permanent four-wheel drive ensures you keep good traction in the bends, so it’s reassuring to drive on a wet day when the roads are slippery. 

It can even be quite fun, thanks to nicely weighted steering that doesn’t feel as remote as it does on a Skoda Karoq or Citroen C5 Aircross. Don’t expect to go tearing up the tarmac, though, as the Crosstrek’s lack of power does mean you’ll be doing your best to preserve momentum rather than relishing stringing it out into the top of the rev band. You can at least unlock a bit more responsiveness by putting it into its Sport driving mode via a handy switch on the steering wheel, which alters the gearbox to give you every bit of the engine’s meagre power.

If your idea of a twisting road is a rutted farm track, though, the Crosstrek is brilliant. Thanks to Subaru’s tenacious four-wheel drive system, better ground clearance than most SUVs and some usefully judged off-road tech, the Crosstrek will show a clean pair of heels to any ‘SUV’ this side of a Land Rover Defender. It’s not a true mud-plugger - it’s too low and doesn’t have much underbody protection - but it’s a fantastic option if you live rurally and find a normal SUV just can’t handle winter.

Space and practicality

Reasonable rear seat space in a compact package, but a small boot and not much storage space

The Crosstrek has comfortable and fairly supportive front seats with plenty of adjustment back and forward. The doors open wide and the steering wheel has plenty of travel too, so drivers of all sizes should be able to get comfy. 

Storage space up front is okay - there’s a pair of large cupholders, offset from each other so big drinks won’t clash, reasonable door bins and a small space under the central armrest. The cubby in front of the gear lever is big enough to hold a smartphone and contains one USB-C port, a useful USB-A port (for those who haven’t quite converted yet) and unusually an aux-in port to pipe your music from the headphone jack of your phone or iPod. That’s if your phone even has a headphone jack any more…

Space in the back seats

The Crosstrek’s rear seats are pretty good considering it’s quite a small car. There’s space for a six-foot adult to sit behind a similarly-sized driver, and it’s wide enough for two to get comfy - though not quite wide enough for three unless you’re happy getting cosy with the middle seat passenger. There’s also a very pronounced transmission tunnel, essential for the four-wheel drive system, but this does restrict foot space.

The rear seats are set slightly higher than the front ones, giving passengers a good view out - though that does make headroom a bit limited for taller people. There’s another USB-C and a USB-A port back here, plus small door bins and a central armrest when there are only two passengers.

Boot space

With just 315 litres of storage, the Subaru Crosstrek has less boot space than some small hatchbacks. It certainly doesn’t match up to the Skoda Karoq (521 litres) or the Citroen C5 Aircross (580 litres). 

The boot floor is high due to the four-wheel drive mechanicals underneath it, but that does at least mean that there’s no loading lip to hoick items over - nor is there a hump in the floor when you lower the rear seats, which fold in a 60:40 split. The centre seatbelt protrudes annoyingly from the side of the load compartment, though, and the fabric load cover is bulky. There’s nowhere clever inside the car to store it, either.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

Subaru’s longevity and build quality is pretty legendary, and while none of the materials used on the interior feel plush or premium they do feel extremely hard-wearing. You get the feeling that when someone’s selling a Crosstrek on the used market in 20 years, there’ll be almost no sign on the interior of any wear and tear.

All the switches have a reassuring action, and there are an awful lot of them. While Subaru has gone the way of some manufacturers and loaded some of its air-conditioning controls into the central touchscreen, you still get physical buttons for temperature either side of the screen - as well as switches for the demist and heated rear window, volume and tuning dials, and a button to reset the trip computer.

The steering wheel is absolutely loaded with buttons too, some of which can be a little confusing until you’ve got used to them.

The Crosstrek’s central touchscreen is a big, 11.6-inch display. It’s not the brightest or the most responsive, but while Subaru’s own interface is pretty ugly with really retro-looking fonts (the bad kind of retro) it’s actually pretty easy to use.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both available if you’d rather bypass Subaru’s own system, and they fill almost all of the screen - not always a given.

While the infotainment screen is up-to-date, the Crosstrek’s dials look distinctly old-fashioned in 2024 where even city cars are getting digital dashboards. They’re not the easiest to read, either - especially the speedometer, which looks cluttered.

MPG, emissions and tax

The Crosstrek’s official fuel economy is just 36.8mpg - really unimpressive. However, we managed a more palatable 40mpg over a week of mixed mileage with the car, which is a little closer to the real-world figure you might expect from a Skoda Karoq or Citroen C5 Aircross. It’s also better than you’re likely to see from most hardened off-roaders.

With CO2 emissions of 174g/km, the Crosstrek falls into the most expensive 37% tax bracket for company cars - so you’re unlikely to persuade your fleet manager to let you have one. It also attracts a massive sum in first year road tax.

Safety and security

The Subaru Crosstrek hasn’t been rated by Euro NCAP, and given Subaru’s tiny sales volume in Europe it might well not be. However, the North American equivalent - the IIHS - rated it a Top Safety Pick, with ‘Good’ scores across almost all categories.

All models come with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, autonomous emergency braking and traffic sign recognition. And we’ve always found Subaru’s safety systems to be quite reliable and unobtrusive. While there is a driver attention alert, it’s nothing like as hyperactive as many systems we’ve used.

Reliability and problems

Subaru’s reputation for reliability and dependability is legendary, and the old XV - that the Crosstrek replaces and is heavily related to - came highly recommended by many reliability surveys. Subaru itself reckons 95% of its cars are still on the road and working after ten years - an impressive feat.

It’s a shame that the warranty cover doesn’t match that reputation, as you only get three years/60,000 miles of coverage. Compared to seven years of cover on a Kia Sportage or up to 10 on a Toyota C-HR, that’s a bit lacking.

Buy or lease the Subaru Crosstrek at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £34,345 - £36,345 Avg. Carwow saving £1,000 off RRP
Carwow price from
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Compare new offers Compare used deals
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