Or is it? It’s a hatchback! Does it even matter? The Crosstrek is no doubt a hit for Subaru and it’s easy to understand why. It looks cool, is spacious enough and with the extra ground clearance and symmetrical AWD system, very little can stop it.
I’m at a weird place with this one because I’m a real fan of everything about it except for both transmissions. My tester featured the standard 5-speed manual ‘box that, by its operation, must pre-date Clinton’s impeachment. The gearing’s designed more for acceleration than fuel economy and in the top 5th gear, at 110 km/h, the engine drones on at an unpleasant 3100 rpm. It is good to shift but desperately needs a 6th gear. The CVT, on the other hand, is well, a CVT…
But beyond the disappointing transmissions is a car that rides supremely well, with equal levels of comfort and handling. No, it’s not a sports car but the suspension’s generous travel makes light of nasty pothole-riddled roads. The 2.0-litre engine generates a sufficient amount of power but when combined to the 5-speed, gets way too noisy.
The cabin is roomy with a generous boot. Seats, in both rows, are good to be in and the dashboard, although older in design, still holds its own. Having recently driven the all-new Impreza, I can safely say that everything about the car including engine and onboard technologies, but not transmissions, will get even better.
To be fair, the revised CVT has evolved in the right direction however the continued presence of a 5-speed manual is less than acceptable. Thing is, so few people stick with three pedals that it makes little sense for Subie to drop a 6-speed in the Crosstrek. Me sad, but this car is still great.