One of America’s favorite sub-compact crossovers, the Subaru Crosstrek is slated for a mild update for its 2021 model. With expected launch in the later half of 2020, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek’s highlight will be a new and powerful engine along with an all new Sport trim.

The Subaru Crosstrek has been one of America’s favorite sub-compact crossovers for quite a few reasons. Right from its launch in 2013, it has been offering libertarians an affordable blend of an SUV and a hatchback. A rugged character, efficient engine, plentiful interior space and easy driveability have been some of the best attributes of the Subaru Crosstrek. With its second generation in 2018, the popular sub-compact crossover further polished its aspects with better styling and tech.

2020 Subaru crosstrek front three-quarter view

Though it has aptly lived up to its expectations, one area where buyers wished it to be better was on the engine and power front. A 152 hp 2.0-liter Boxer engine borrowed from the Impreza along with its platform and body just doesn't seem enough to most buyers today. Thankfully, Subaru has responded to the complaint and is finally bringing the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek. About to be launched somewhere towards the later half of 2020, the 2021 crosstrek will feature a new and powerful engine under its hood. Details of the upcoming model have been released and here's what we know about the updated 2021 crosstrek. 

Design and Exterior Highlights

There's nothing great going to happen with the exterior sheet of the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek. This is based on the fact that we do know that Subaru follows an update cycle of 5 years for its products. Since the Crosstrek was last redesigned in 2018, it is not going to see a major refresh anytime before 2023. That's only a good thing for the Crostrek though. It's mascular and distinctive enough to separate it from something like a Mazda CX-3 or Buick Encore.

Model

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Mazda CX-3

2020 Buick Encore

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3117 

3042

2851

3237

Length (in.)

175.8"

164.0"

168.3"

168.4"

Width (in.)

71.0"

70.9"

69.6"

70.1"

Height (in.)

63.6"

61.6"

60.7"

65.3"

Ground Clearance (in.)

8.7"

6.7"

6.1"

6.2"

Wheelbase (in.)

104.9"

102.4"

103.9"

100.6"

However, the party trick for 2021 is the all new Sport model which might carry some visual distinctions from its family. We could see the 2021 Crosstrek Sport with an even more aggressive body kit, some black and red highlights, trim-specific wheels and also some badging on the outside.

Engine and Transmission

The new engine is certainly the most talked about element of the 2021 Crosstrek. The details of the new engine were revealed by Tom Doll, CEO of Subaru of America at the 2020 National Auto Dealers Association (NADA). He announced that the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek will be getting a new 2.5-liter Boxer-4 engine.

The upgraded engine should bring more swiftness to the Crosstrek's character

A new “Sport” trim will also join the lineup for 2021. As the name itself suggests, the new trim will feature some sport-specific treatment. Sitting at the top of the range, the Sport model will also get all the bells and whistles along with the new engine as standard. While the lower two trims will continue carrying the 2.0-liter pot, the Limited shall offer an optional upgrade to the 2.5-liter unit.

Models

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Mazda CX-3

2020 Buick Encore

Base MSRP

$23,000 (est)

$25,900

$26,200

$25,800

Engine

2.0L/2.5L Boxer-4

1.6L Turbo Inline-4

2.0L Inline-4

1.4L Turbo Inline-4

Transmission

6-speed manual/CVT

7-speed automated manual

6-speed shiftable automatic

6-speed shiftable automatic

Horsepower (hp @ rpm)

182 hp (est)

175 hp @ 5,500 rpm

148 hp @ 6000 rpm

138 hp @ 4,900 rpm

Torque (ft-lbs @ rpm)

176 ft-lbs (est)

195 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm

146 lb. ft. @ 2800 rpm

148 lb-ft @ 1,850 rpm

No detailed specification of the engine has been officially released by Subaru, but the Japanese’ marque’s family graph might have a hint for us. We suspect that the new 2.5-liter engine might be the same 182 hp unit that also powers Subaru’s other products like the Forester, Legacy and Outback. With the aforementioned new engine, the Crosstrek’s power output would surge by 30 hp 31 lb-fts. 

With the added power, the 2021 Crosstrek would be the most powerful product in its segment, racing past the swagster Hyundai Kona. The power surge shall be enough to feel a positive change in the communication from the powertrain. With the new engine, the 2021 Crosstrek should be more swift at startups and more confident during highway overtakes with better mid-range in the bank. 

Fuel Economy and MPG Figures

As the analysis suggests, there should be no decline in 2021 Crosstrek’s fuel efficiency despite an upgraded engine. This is for the fact that the larger and heavier Subaru Forester returns 29 mpg combined with the same 2.5-liter Boxer. We certainly have a good reason to be optimistic enough though. 

Models

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Mazda CX-3

2020 Buick Encore

MPG (city)

27*

28

29

25

MPG (highway)

33*

32

34

30

MPG (combined)

30*

30

31

27

Fuel tank capacity (gallons)

16.6

13.2 gallons

12.7 gallons

14.0 gallons

Range (city/highway/combined)

448/548 miles*

370/422 miles

368.30 / 431.80

350/420 miles

*2020 model data used for reference

Overall, we suspect that the 2021 Crosstrek shouldn't be hit by the added power on its efficiency. Even if it drops, it shall not drop down below marginal 1 or 2 mpg. Even in the latter case, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek shall be happy enough to churn out 28-29 mpg combined. 

While the Subaru Crosstrek trails behind the class-leading Mazda CX-3 in terms of efficiency, the latter does some significant trade-offs for the added mpg’s. It's the overall ruggedness and the utilitarian character of the Crosstrek that none of its rivals should catch- up with. Also noteworthy is the fact that there shall be no physical changes on the 2021 Crosstrek. What it means is that the Crosstrek will continue to offer customers, best in class fuel capacity and driving range. 

Interior, Seating and Cargo

Not to expect any stringent changes on the inside since we are very used to Subaru’s basic yet clean interior layout. That's also a good thing though, that works well with the overall raw flair of Subaru’s. Thankfully, with no probable changes on the inside, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek will continue to delight us with its spacious and minimalist cabin.

The 2021 Crosstrek is most likely to carry its familiar minimalistic interior theme

Its best in class legroom and cargo capacity of 20.8 cubic-feets will still remain intact in 2021. However, the new Sport trim might feature some minor physical ornamenting over the regular models. With a greater inclination towards sportiness, we might see some bucket or sports seats with better adjustability and lumbar support on the Sport model. Some red and black contrasting along with trim specific badging wouldn't be a surprise either.

Models

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Mazda CX-3

2020 Buick Encore

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

39.8/56.7/43.1

38.0/55.5/41.5

38.4/53.5/41.7

39.6/54.2/40.8

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

38.0/55.6/36.5

37.8/54.5/34.6

37.2/50.4/35.0

38.8/52.5/35.8

Cargo Capacity (cu.ft.)

20.8

19.2

17.8

18.8

Because the redesign has nothing to do with the Crosstrek’s proportions, the 2021 Crosstrek will still boast of its class-leading cabin space. Bearing the heat for its dated cabin appointments, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek might also feature an updated dashboard design with a large infotainment display as seen on the new 2020 Outback

Infotainment and Connectivity

There is no shortage of tech packaging in the Subaru Crosstrek for sure. Most of the day-to-day essential gizmos do have a firm place in the popular crossover’s features list. It already comes loaded with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth and USB along with a 6-speaker audio system. However, no surprises if we see some upgraded redistribution of features across trims with something similar to a Subaru Ascent.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport migt feature an Outback like large infotainment display

We suspect enhanced standard equipment on all the trims. The range-topping new Sport trim, in particular, might come with never seen before amenities in the Crosstrek lineup. We really hope that Subaru makes Satellite Radio, in-built Navigation along with Eyesight Advanced Driver Assistance Safety Package, making way into the standard tray. The aforementioned exclusive features are only available on the higher models of the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek family. 

Safety features and ratings

Apart from its complete ‘wholesomeness”, the Subaru Crosstrek is also one of the safest products in its class. Since no structural and mechanical changes are to follow in 2021, the mass-favorite crossover will continue to greet customers with complete peace of mind. With a rigid frame and most of the advanced safety features onboard, the Crosstrek already enjoys top-class grades from safety institutions. 

The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek proudly flaunts its 5-star rating from NHTSA and Top Safety Pick award by IIHS. Any change in the degree of 2021 Crosstrek’s safety concern is very unlikely. All the latest driver assistance and safety aids should still happily serve the 2021 Crosstrek. That being said, some of the highlights of the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek’s safety suite are listed below:

  • Pre and post-collision safety system
  • Rearview camera
  • 4-wheel ABS
  • Passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation
  • Dusk sensing adaptive headlamps
  • Front and rear ventilated disc brakes
  • Emergency braking assist
  • Blindspot and lane departure warnings accident avoidance system

Verdict

The Subaru Crosstrek is certainly one of the best products in its segment right now. The core value that this Japanese sub-compact crossover brings to the table, none of its competitors do. It exceeds all your expectations from a daily-driving machine. It's comfortable, spacious, has the bells and whistles, is efficient and rugged and even takes you to places where no other sub-compact SUV can. What else do you need from a practical daily-driver?

Also Read:

Does the overall value of the Subaru Crosstrek truly make it stand out in its segment?

Does the Hyundai Kona offer a better driving experience than the Subaru Crosstrek?

FAQ’s

Is Subaru Crosstrek a good car

Yes, the Subaru Crosstrek is a very good sub-compact crossover that offers great value and practicality. It has all the qualities that one would expect in this class and price point. It's comfortable, spacious, efficient, easy to maneuver and can happily take some off-road beating as well. Above all, it also comes at a competitive price. 

Is Subaru discontinuing the Crosstrek?

Not anytime soon. The production of Forester and Crosstrek was certainly halted for a while in 2019 following a steering defect. The unprecedented move did hit stocks of both the models in the US. but that is long gone. However, the issue has been resolved and the story is long gone. The Crosstrek is one of Subaru’s best selling products and after the Japanese brand releases its 2020 model, developments on its 2023 redesign should commence very soon.

Which is better Crossstrek or Forester?

Both of these cars are very good machines from two different segments and with their own distinctive USPs. If you are someone who frequently moves with 5-7 people or have a larger family, the Forester would very well cater to your necessities. However, if you are looking for a small and compact daily driving crossover with comfort, practicality and efficiency as your top priority, the Crosstrek is the vehicle that you are looking for.