If there’s a foreign car manufacturer that seems to be favored by people from the Pacific Northwest looking for all-wheel drive traction, it’s Subaru.
Maybe that’s because their entire lineup – from top to bottom – is four-wheel drive. Or maybe it’s because the Japanese automaker has been delivering an affordable, reliable, versatile, safety-oriented product for a long time.
My recent tester, the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium compact sports utility vehicle is the latest example. It features all-new styling and is the second vehicle built on Subaru’s global platform.
Three Crosstrek trim levels are available: 2.0i Base, Premium and Limited.
Crosstrek is powered by a revised version of Subaru’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder Boxer engine with direct fuel injection that now generates 152 horsepower and increased drivability. The engine was mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
The model delivers excellent all-around visibility, generous ground clearance (8.7-inches), 17-inch alloy wheels and class-leading interior volume. The exterior is highlighted by the brand’s signature hexagonal grille and hawk-eye headlights complemented by prominent wheel arches and flowing lines.
Mine came with a “Sunshine Orange” coat of paint. But since it was mid-October and the week included a series of three storms, I think “Spiced Pumpkin” would have been more appropriate.
Crosstrek seats up to five adults with a cargo area capable of carrying full-size golf bags. All models include symmetrical all-wheel drive, active torque vectoring, and have a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 pounds.
Subaru designed the 2018 Crosstrek to provide even higher levels of safety than the outgoing model, which was named an IIHS Top Safety Pick for six consecutive years (when equipped with available Eyesight). The new platform improves crash energy absorption by 40 percent over previous models.
Eyesight, for the uninitiated, is a safety suite that includes adaptive cruise control, automatic pre-collision braking, lane-departure and swaying warning, blind-spot detection with lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic alert. Also new are available steering-responsive headlights, which can illuminate curves as the vehicle steers into them and high-beam assist that automatically turns them on and off based on driving conditions.
Key features of the Premium package include an all-weather package, six-speaker audio system, leather-wrapped shift handle, fog lights, sound insulation windshield, cloth upholstery with orange stitching, and Subaru Starlink connected services.
Other goodies include a rear-vision camera, standard roof rails and spoiler, incline start assist, X-model with hill-descent control, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming.
The Crosstrek may not wow you, but for the money, you will be hard pressed to find another model that will – unless you plan on spending thousands of dollars.
Base Price: $22,595
Price As Driven: $23,510
Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.