Tag Archives: hatchbacks

Used Crosstrek review
Used Car Reviews

The Subaru Crosstrek is a sporty, fuel-sipping adventurer

Welcome to a new segment on Acceleramota, where we sample popular picks for used cars to see if they’re really all the rage or if they just belong at a junkyard. Today’s pick? America’s compact little sweetheart for hikers, overlanders, outdoorsy folk, and hipsters who just really, really love avocado toast. Say it with me. Subaru. Crosstrek.

They’re everywhere. From down on the Malibu coast to high in the Appalachians, we can’t seem to get enough of Subaru’s plastic-clad Impreza on stilts. And surely, it’s for good reason. Over the course of a day behind the wheel of a Turo rental (plus a healthy serving of research), I sought to discover the appeal of one of Subaru’s hottest sellers and find out if a used Subaru Crosstrek is the move for budget transportation. Time to see how its image stood the test of time and if its actually for real or all a facade.

Skip to section:

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium 2.0
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Price and specs

Crosstreks come fairly well-appointed across all trim levels and generations. As expected, every Crosstrek rocks a variant of Subaru’s smooth operator of a flat-four, which usually churns out something in the 150-ish horsepower ballpark. Only recently did they make Sport versions available with an enlarged 2.5-liter flat-four pumping out a healthy 182 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. Both current and last-generation cars I’ve sampled prior were base models sporting identical 2.0-liter engines that made 152 horsepower. All Crosstreks rock Subaru’s Symmetric All-Wheel Drive, and all are essentially lifted, plastic-clad Imprezas, built on the same platforms and sporting similar design cues inside and out.

New prices (2024):$25,195 to $32,195
Approximate used prices:$12,000 to $32,000
Engines choices:2.0-liter flat-four, 2.5-liter flat-four, 2.0-liter flat-four + 0.55 kWh nickel-metal hydride battery pack (Hybrid only), 2.0-liter flat-four + 8.8 kWh battery pack (PHEV only)
Transmission choices:six-speed manual, CVT
Drivetrain choices:all-wheel drive
Power:148 to 182 horsepower
Torque:145 to 178 pound-feet
Weight:3,000 to 3,700 pounds
0-to-60 mph:7.5 to 9.5 seconds
1/4-mile:16.1 seconds @ 88 mph to 17.5 seconds @ 83 mph
MPG:23 to 29 city, 29 to 34 highway, 25 to 31 combined, 90 MPGe (PHEV only)
Fuel capacity:15.9 to 16.6 gallons, 11.3 gallons (Hybrid only)

Expect most secondhand Subaru Crosstreks to hover in the mid $10,000 to mid $20,000 range in today’s market, depending on mileage, trim, and condition, of course. You can expect to see first-gen cars trade hands at a far lower price, with dealers asking between $12,000 and $15,000 for seemingly well-kept examples that all sit comfortably above 100,000 miles. Unsurprising, given the nature of these cars. Current-gen cars and the last years of the second-gen cars can easily double those used car prices but often with half the mileage, and lightly-used examples of hot trims like the Sport and Wilderness can hold their value close to, if not a touch higher, than their original MSRP.

First-generation XV Crosstrek (2013 to 2017)

Subaru Crosstrek
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Welp. There she be. The one that started it all. 148 horsepower, 2.0 liters of fury, and unashamedly Impreza styling. Referred to as the “XV Crosstrek” for “crossover vehicle,” it helped amplify and solidify Subaru’s place as a hipster chic adventuring brand and was met with mostly positive reception for delivering ruggedness and versatility with affordability and efficiency in a way few cars did at the time. A less-acclaimed and arguably half-baked hybrid variant existed for this generation, should you want one,

Second-generation Crosstrek (2018 to 2023)

Subaru Crosstrek
Image credit: Rutger van der Maar, Wikimedia Commons

The second-gen continues the trend with little-to-no change in its intended mission. The front fascia got a little more aggro, and that plastic cladding on the fenders got just a tad more pronounced to remind you it still yearns for dusty fire roads and mint chocolate Clif Bars. CarPlay, Android Auto, and EyeSight safety tech join the family, as does a massaged 2.0-liter powertrain that bumps output from 148 horsepower to 152. Torque remains unchanged at 145 pound-feet, but peak power and torque figures hit a couple hundred rpm sooner. Sport models introduce the more desirable, 182-horsepower 2.5-liter engine. A more polished plug-in hybrid model arrived for the second-gen Crosstrek, as well.

Third-generation Crosstrek (2024 to present)

Subaru Crosstrek
Image credit: Ethan Llamas, Wikimedia Commons

The current generation of the Crosstrek is easily the most vividly styled pick of the bunch and an easy fit for Subaru’s current design language, defined by its skinny headlights, an abundance of sharp creases, and heavily pronounced fender cladding. Powertrains carry over, but the manual gearbox is dead (F in the comments), leaving the CVT as the only option. The vertical 11.6-inch StarLink touchscreen is introduced alongside a more adventurous and off-road-ready Wilderness trim.

What’s hot?– Can easily defy EPA mileage figures
– Surprisingly fun, agile, and composed!
– Superbly spacious despite being based on a compact hatchback
– Usable ground clearance for off-road escapades
– Hybrid variant gets superb fuel mileage and range
– Strong value, especially after the initial depreciation hit

Review round-up

Shall we embark on a trip down memory lane for one of Subaru’s most popular offerings? Since 2013, the Crosstrek has earned heaps of praise from consumers and journos alike. Its high ride height provided meaningful clearance for mild off-pavement excursions while serving as the perfect platform for rally and overland builds. Its flat-four powerplants and later plug-in hybrid variant scored proper econobox fuel economy that often beat out EPA estimates, and the Hybrid even delivered a respectable 17 miles of EV-only range. And, of course, there’s its strong value proposition.

As beloved as it was and still is, the Crosstrek is still not without a handful of faults, many of which simply stem from it being an affordable car built to a price point. At $32,000 or less brand new, the touchscreen infotainment systems aren’t regarded as the most reliable or quickest responding, even in newer cars with their Tesla-style vertical screen. Build quality was merely okay, at least early in the cars’ lifespans, with some consumers reporting creaks and rattles popping up over the course of their ownership. And perhaps the most frequent headache of all from journos and owners alike: the powertrains aren’t that powerful, and the base cars are especially slow. Acceleration test numbers for 2.0-liter CVT cars over the years nearly reflect that of more meager econoboxes, like the Fiat 500, Toyota Corolla, or Nissan Sentra.

On the flip side, those meager powertrains motivating the Crosstrek are known to easily match or beat EPA fuel economy estimates. If consumer and auto journo experiences are anything to go by, you shouldn’t have to work too hard to match 29 mpg combined and hover between 33 and 35 mpg on the highway. As I’ve experienced and will soon discuss with you, those economy numbers come shockingly easy.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium 2.0
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

First, it’s the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport. Over 12 months, we put 16,581-miles on this Impreza-based utility, and averaged 29.9 miles-per-gallon from its 2.5-liter flat-four. Almost exactly what EPA estimates say to expect. This isn’t our first long term Crosstrek, and they’ve yet to disappoint, as there just seems to be something special about it.   While this Crosstrek isn’t the biggest, nicest or fastest long-term test vehicle we’ve ever had, it’s probably in the running for most-loved because it’s just so useful. And while I’m rattling off adjectives, I’ll throw in practical because of things like these spill-resistant, yet stylish StarTex seats. I think the Crosstrek embodies Subaru’s ultra-dependable spirit as well as any model in the lineup. That spirit manifests itself with a great 20.8 cubic-feet of cargo space, sturdy roof rails, 8.7-inches of ground clearance, and hard rubber mats protecting the floors throughout.

MotorWeek staff, MotorWeek 2021 Crosstrek Sport long-term review, May 2022

Plenty of staffers used the Subaru for long trips, and for good reason. Besides the comfort level, the Crosstrek has a large 16.6-gallon tank and delivers 33 mpg on the highway with the CVT. The rear seats are roomy, and the cargo area should be large enough for most. Apple CarPlay (or Android Auto) keeps passengers entertained, and if there is an emergency, simply hit the SOS call button near the map lights. Additionally, even though visibility is good, the added assistance of the large yellow warning light of the blind-spot monitoring system will help keep things safe. If your trip is in the mountains, engine braking is surprisingly strong, and the paddle shifters are responsive.

Micahel Cantu, Motor Trend 2018 Crosstrek long-term verdict, March 2019

 The XV Crosstrek’s handling is essentially transparent. This new crossover goes around corners and in a straight line without making a negative or positive impression, although it is capable enough to handle aggressive driving. The electrically assisted steering is accurate if somewhat uncommunicative, the braking is without drama, and the ride is closer to that of a family sedan than a four-wheel-drive soft-roader.

Fred M.H. Gregory, Car and Driver 2013 XV Crosstrek instrumented test, January 2013

We encourage all prospective Subaru buyers to be wary on test drives, as nearly all of the company’s cars feature aggressive throttle tip-in that gives the impression of eager off-the-line acceleration as soon as you touch the gas pedal. But while the Crosstrek might feel zippy around town, the powertrain quickly runs out of steam when tasked with merging or passing on the highway. Depress the pedal farther into its travel and you’ll soon find that there’s not much additional grunt to be had.

Joey Capparella, Car and Driver 2018 Crosstrek intrumented test, February 2018

This really is the little car that could. Both of my Crosstreks have been used to the max; pulling a trailer, loading kayaks, and hauling large dogs. While it doesn’t go from 0-60 lickety split, once its cruising at 70 mph, it really can pick it up to 85 quickly. Gas mileage has been consistently good. The cargo area is deceiving, with the back seats down the space is huge, I have hauled my large working dog in his crate on a daily basis, I have car camped fully stretched out (5’7″), and I have loaded my market stall with canopies and tables and bins. The Crosstrek does it all. The seats are comfortable. The center console could be better. Having a removable rubber insert like Volkswagen would be great for keeping it clean. There are two plugs for 12V or USB; one in the console, one under the dash. There is an adequate light in the cargo area and tie downs on each side. If I had any complaints, it would be the paint chips pretty easily. Most of my driving is highway so I’ve had my share of rocks from trucks. Also, the headlights could be brighter. I love this little car and won’t be switching brands anytime soon.

Consumer review on 2019 Crosstrek, Kelly Blue Book

I love my Crosstrek, I really do. I love the performance and gas mileage it gets. It is the perfect size for what I need it for… But ever since it hit 5 years old things have been starting to go. It started off with my steering wheel peeling, then it was the driver side back door automatic lock stopped working, and now the passenger side isn’t working. ($700 each to fix so I am not having that done). Then my horn stopped working but it wasn’t due to something simple like the actual horn or a fuse. It was the clockspring, a part I didn’t even know existed. I don’t have that many miles. At a little over 6 years old, the car has 72,217 miles, not high for its age. I was already worried about what might go next, and then I heard about a friend of mine whose 10-year-old Subaru with 182k miles needs a new transmission. My first car was a Subaru; it had belonged to my grandmother and then my sister, who I bought it off of. It was 15 years old by the time I got it and nothing was wrong with it. I know Subaru’s reputation, but it seems like maybe the quality isn’t as good as it used to be.

Consumer review on 2016 Crosstrek, Kelly Blue Book

Feels like they cut cost . My 2017 was nicer. Bigger. Better made. I don’t like the big box in the windshield by the top of mirror. I don’t like the navigation system. Seats are smaller. It cost too much for what you get. I’m disappointed.

Consumer review on 2024 Crosstrek, Kelly Blue Book

First off, if your looking for a drag car, look elsewhere. That being said, so far, it is priced extremely well for an AWD/off-road capable/overland-excelling vehicle. Comfort and style are great but lacks lower lumbar support, so if you need that, you may want to look elsewhere. Three-month ownership, love the vehicle. Wish I could default the car into Sport mode rather than having to turn it on every ignition. Short-term ownership. Slap some Maxxis Razor ATs on and rejoice that if you get in a gridlocked situation on the highway, you’re just a left turn through 90% of the medians away from freedom. If safety is at all close to the smaller brother of the Impreza, which I unfortunately was in a high-speed deer strike. Rest easy, I’ve never driven any vehicle that reduces the impact as a Subaru. Frankly amazing and well-earned, top-notch safety ratings

Consumer review on 2021 Crosstrek, Kelly Blue Book

Other than plasticky tinker toy construction and wheezy engines, the Crosstrek remains in good standing with most who cross paths with it. For the most part, reliability seems to be stout, with owners reporting Crosstreks easily scooting well into the 100,000-mile range with only bare basic maintenance. However, other owners report abnormal oil consumption or premature CVT problems that aren’t replicated by a substantial chunk of the community. It could simply be a lack of maintenance or an overly stressful life under some folks’ ownerships, however, so buyers beware.

As one owner who was aware of the issues but never experienced them and couldn’t discern causes of failure summarized: just take care of your car.

Driving impressions

A reasonably tech-laden econobox

Alrighty. My turn.

My time with the Crosstrek has been limited to two iterations: a fairly spartan 2021 second-gen car and a similarly-specced 2024 third-gen model. Both were saddled with Subaru’s Symmetric AWD, 2.0-liter flat-four, and their respective versions of Subaru’s StarLink infotainment systems. I say that with air quotes as they’re fairly comprehensive and feature-rich for what are ultimately lifted hatchbacks that start well under $30,000.

Second-gen Crosstreks feature a 6.2-inch touchscreen, with a 7.0-inch one available on higher trims. Second-gen Crosstreks also donned wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that, in my experience, worked about as flawlessly as you’d imagine. Although the base 6.2-inch units are a tad small and can be a bit tricky to read, they’re always within easy reach.

The 2024 car I had recently sampled marks the start of a new generation of Crosstrek and, in doing so, ditches Subaru’s smaller screens and auxiliary dash-mounted info display in favor of a vertical touchscreen plucked straight from an early-year Tesla Model S. Featured in Premium models and up, it measures 11.6 inches and can display climate controls, which are complimented with a few hard buttons, CarPlay, radio, and vehicle settings. Some users have reported incessant lag and latency, but I found the system in this 7,000-mile loaner to be decent enough for what it is. If anything, I’ve only really noticed a split-second delay between tapping the screen and it actually doing something. Could be better. Could be worse.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium 2.0
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

But of course, I can talk tech without talking about what makes Subaru a Subaru. No, not love. I mean a smorgasbord of handy safety goodies all packaged into this plastic-clad gift basket. That includes backup cameras, pre-collision braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane centering, and adaptive cruise control; all worked intuitively and inoffensively, never screaming at me with loud beeps or yanking the wheel with enough force to send me into the next lane over. Subaru EyeSight is certainly one of the best in the biz at one of the best price points around. It was an add-on in Premium and Limited-trim second-gen cars between 2018 and 2023, now made standard for 2024, including the stripped-down Base trim. Yes, it’s actually called “Base.”

First-gen cars, while mechanically near-identical, never received CarPlay or Android Auto, and were never offered EyeSight safety goods until 2015. So be aware of that while shopping.

A smooth (and sporty) operator

The Crosstrek continues to impress on the open road. I can’t personally attest to the Crosstrek’s off-road prowess, but I’ll take the word of literally everyone else around me, including the legions I often see flooding the trails at nearby campgrounds and national parks. But as an urban runabout and highway cruiser, the Crosstrek was a shockingly competent companion. Road trips? Commutes? Parking garages? Hell’s Revenge, apparently? No problem. None at all.

Well, unless you have to pass a semi on the I-15 when you’re already going 80 mph but traffic speed is freaking 95. Then the mopey CVT and modestly-powered 2.0-liter base engines start to show their weaknesses. But I suppose that’s the cost of achieving 35 mpg on the freeway in my hands and averaging over 31 mpg on my mostly-highway loan with the 2024 car.

Around town darting from light to light, the CVT does an ample job at simulating short “gearing,” making ample use of the flat-four’s torque and making the Crosstrek feel far more athletic and lively at lower speeds. Dare I even say this thing is quite fun to drive? While I haven’t sampled one yet, I’m eager to sample the reportedly transformative 2.5-liter mill in a Sport or Wildnerness model.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium 2.0
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

The high-riding Subie’s mild playfulness is amplified by the car’s surprisingly composed and nimble handling, keen to turn into corners at your local mountain pass and only feeling neutered by the eco-minded all-seasons. Steering is appropriately weighted and accurate, although it’s a little light for my tastes. But that just makes it a sweetheart in parking lots. Ride quality is as supple and smooth as the powertrain. While the Crosstrek is on the smaller side, a sizable wheelbase and fat sidewalls absorb most impacts well and make any speedbump more of a suggestion than anything else. A blue-collar rally car you can drive every day, indeed.

Neither of the two variants I drove exhibited any of the interior rattles that people had mentioned in consumer reviews. But if their word and my own BRZ are any indicator, it’s only a matter of time until a couple faint ones pop up. Unfortunately, we can never expect total perfection at this price, and an econobox will always do econobox things.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium 2.0
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco
What’s not?– Base model engines can be quitesluggishc
– Infotainment systems can be a touch laggy at times
– Cheap-O rear-seat accommodations
– Fuel economdivesve with manual transmission
– Questionable plastic build quality
– Even a good CVT is still a CVT

Should you buy a used Crosstrek?

Should you even bother? Well, like any car, that depends. I’ve inferred this since the first generation Crosstreks dropped in 2013, and I can confirm it now after driving two of the suckers. The Subaru Crosstrek may very well be among those jack-of-all-trades cars that are almost perfect at almost everything.

They’re fun and lively to drive for what they are while still returning superb fuel economy, comfort, and practicality in a nimble package that’s as affluent with adventuring as it is with commuting. Go to the trails. Go to Whole Foods. The Crosstrek will do it all eagerly and efficiently. Conversely, nothing hides that it’s a cheapo hatchback with cheapo plastics and silky-yet-asthmatic powertrains, and those looking for more ruggedness will be better served by real crossover SUVs or a compact pickup truck.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium 2.0
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Is fun-sized versatility your jam? Is that what you need for your life? Only you can decide that for yourself. I’m just a messenger. But I hope the message I deliver here is clear: So long as you take the Crosstrek for what it is and don’t pretend it’s something it’s not, you’ll easily see that it’s a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful car with a great spread of talents at an agreeable price point, new or used. And in an age where many of us don’t have the disposable income for a second or third car, perhaps that affordable jack-of-all-trades approach is what we need more of.

read more

Ford, last year’s most recalled car brand, issues its second major recall of 2024

Ford was the most recalled automaker of 2023, and it’s wasting no time getting started for a second consecutive year in 2024. The company recently announced a recall of more than 100,000 vehicles – its second such action in 2024 – for an issue with its three-cylinder engines.

Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost Fox engine could experience an issue where the belt tensioner’s joint breaks down over time. If that happens, the tensioner arm can fall out of position and ultimately cause problems with the oil pump. The failure can cause a drop or loss of oil pressure, and a loss of belt tension could deactivate other components that rely on it, such as the vacuum pump that handles braking. Ford said it’s aware of one crash related to the problem, which resulted in two injuries and no fatalities.

The recall involves 2017-2022 Ford EcoSport SUVs and 2016-2018 Focus Hatchbacks. Owners have long reported problems with the engine, stating that they’re prone to losing oil pressure, sometimes with as little as 50,000 miles on the clock. A group of owners filed a class-action lawsuit, but Ford’s recall should help repair the issue. Dealers will install a shorter tensioner arm and a new drive belt that will help prevent degradation and damage over time.

The Blue Oval also recently recalled more than 100,000 F-150s for an issue that could cause a rollaway accident. The automaker has vowed to make improvements in its quality to help reduce warranty and recall expenses, but this isn’t a hugely promising start. Ford had dozens of recalls affecting millions of vehicles last year, almost twice the number of the second-most recalled automaker, Kia

read more
VW ID.2all on stage
Features

Volkswagen ID.2all: the affordable EV Americans say they want, but probably wouldn’t buy

Volkswagen is rapidly expanding its electrification efforts globally, including in the United States, with the VW ID.4. The automaker recently unveiled the new ID.7, and we anticipate unleash of the ID. Buzz van very soon. It’s shown us its vision of a small electric hatchback in the ID.2all concept car, a surprisingly Golf-looking hatchback that will sell for under €25,000, or a little over $26,000. Unfortunately, that car is unlikely to reach the US, as Americans are terrible at buying anything but enormous SUVs and trucks. However, even without a domestic launch, the car promises affordable thrills and offers clean styling.

The gas-powered VW Golf was discontinued in the US in 2021. Now all that remains are the Golf GTI and Golf R Mk8 models, two sportier takes on the standard Golf you wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find at your local car meet – I know we’ve seen our fair share at NYCars & Coffee. No doubt because of its popularity with the enthusiast market, according to Motor1.com, the GTI had outsold the standard Golf three-to-one in 2018 before getting the axe. So while we might not see the ID.2all stateside, we’ll likely get the souped-up performance variants, if the ID.2 really is the Golf’s successor.

VW ID.2all price, specs, and trim levels

VW ID.2all front profile
Image credit: Volkswagen

We don’t know the exact pricing yet, but we expect VW to stick to that sub-€25,000 pricing model outlined with the concept car launch. There will likely be higher-priced variants offering more range and better performance. However, the base model’s 280 miles of range presents an excellent value for the price. Higher trims or battery configurations could add a few thousand to the MSRP, but there’s nothing wrong with the baseline estimate.

Volkswagen does a stellar job at including solid features and upgrades with each trim level without gouging for dollars in packages or standalone options packages. Buyers will have a choice of trim level and likely a couple of battery and powertrain options. With the ID.4, VW initially offered a standard-range model with rear-wheel drive and a Pro model with a larger battery pack and available all-wheel drive. Now, there are several trims that build on those basic configurations.

In terms of features, expect Volkswagen’s distinctive upscale interior finishes with a large screen and digital gauge cluster. Unlike some automakers, VW hasn’t completely ditched its physical HVAC controls.

The ID.2all’s size means it’ll have a tiny back seat. Though if it’s on the Golf’s level, the rear bench will be surprisingly spacious for the car. Advanced safety features are almost guaranteed, though the configuration and availability of the tech may differ depending on the country. 

Volkswagen electrified: ID.2all vs. ID.4 and ID.7

Volkswagen recently announced the ID.7 for the American market, which will join the ID. Buzz electric van and ID.4 crossover. The automaker is unlikely to release the ID.2all here because small hatchbacks don’t sell anywhere near as well as larger SUVs and trucks, and all of the American market EVs are larger than the diminutive hatchback. They’re all made by the same company, so shared DNA is inevitable. 

VW ID.2all interior and tech

Like the ID.4, the ID.2all may get LED lights and standard IQ.DRIVE safety equipment. Its price means it will likely do without some features, including wireless charging and heated seats. Higher trims may add larger wheels, ambient interior lighting, a heated steering wheel, and a sunroof. Volkswagen has a focus on sustainable materials, so the car’s interior may lean into that philosophy with the upholstery and trim made from recycled materials.

The ID.7 is a large sedan, so the differences between it and the ID.2all will be evident out of the gate. The ID.7’s interior is more upscale than we expect from the ID.2all and has much more space. At the same time, the ID.7 has a unique hatch-trunk that technically makes it a hatchback, but the space underneath it is far more generous than what we’ll see in the ID.2all.

Volkswagen news

With the imminent release of the long-awaited ID.Buzz, Volkswagen is at a critical juncture. The automaker’s earlier EVs have sold reasonably well. Here in the States, however, the ID.4 faces a concerning recall because some drivers have reported the doors opening at random times. Globally, Volkswagen has been criticized for moving too slowly on EVs and maintaining a manufacturing presence in China, where there are big questions about forced labor and human rights.

The company has also shown how complex in-house technology management can be. Its CARIAD division has chewed through leaders like a football team at a pizza buffet. These difficulties have caused delays in models from other VW Group brands, including Porsche. The software will do exciting things for VW once it’s finished, including providing the backbone for its autonomous driving program.

read more