2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review

2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review
  • Seamless CVT
  • Off-road capable
  • Standard AWD
  • Standard safety tech (with the CVT)
  • Familiar if not fresh mechanics and design
  • Hard-to-access USB ports
  • Limited-release hybrid
  • Manual transmission omits more than it adds
  • Limited trim not a value
  • The Crosstrek Sport’s stronger engine and better tech make it the best value.

The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek skips power for safety and stability, like any middle-aged catch.

What kind of car is the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek? What does it compare to?
The Crosstrek is a small crossover with five seats that is essentially a raised version of the related Impreza hatchback. It rivals the Honda HR-V, Kia Seltos, and Jeep Renegade. 

Is the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek a good car?
With standard all-wheel drive and a strong crash-test record on most models, the Crosstrek prioritizes safety while giving it an off-road edge over other small crossovers. It earns a TCC Rating of 6.0 out of 10.

What's new for the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek?
The only change to the 2023 Crosstrek is a Special Edition with an exclusive Desert Khaki, or sand, color and dark gray accents on its 17-inch wheels and other exterior elements. It gives the stubby, low-cut look of the Crosstrek a contrast from its larger sibling, the heavily cladded Outback. The SE’s interior flashes red on black upholstery with red cross stitching, but that’s about as fancy as it gets inside the utilitarian Crosstrek. 
2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review

The base Crosstrek putters around on a 152-hp 2.0-liter flat-4, but we prefer the 182-hp 2.5-liter flat-4 that behaves with more gusto. The Crosstrek prioritizes grip over speed with a standard all-wheel-drive system and an off-road function that limits wheel slip. Skip the 6-speed manual for a seamless CVT with stepped gears that mimic an 8-speed automatic. The Crosstrek handles more like a rally car than a dull crossover, even with its higher ground clearance of 8.7 inches that affords it time off the pavement to adventure on access roads and rutted dirt trails. 

The Crosstrek has five seats but sits four comfortably, and the versatile cargo area expands to up to 55 cubic feet. The front seats are covered in cloth and most grades rely on manual adjustments, not power. 

For the safety minded, and for those who care about fuel economy, the CVT is the choice. Those models come with active lane control and automatic emergency braking, and earn top marks from the IIHS. Any Crosstrek aces the NHTSA crash testing. 

How much does the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek cost?
The base Crosstrek costs $24,870, including a $1,225 destination fee for a manual shifter, 17-inch wheels, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A CVT available on base and Premium grades adds $1,350 but saves money at the pump; it’s standard elsewhere on the lineup. The new Special Edition based on the Premium costs $27,970 for its unique color scheme and 8.0-inch touchscreen. Still, we’d opt for the $29,220 Crosstrek Sport for the stronger engine and additional off-road modes. Tap out there, though, because prices keep climbing past $40,000 for the plug-in hybrid.

Where is the Subaru Crosstrek made?
Gunma, Japan.


The Crosstrek evolves from the Impreza toward Outback territory.

Is the Subaru Crosstrek a good-looking car?
So many automakers have copied Subaru’s look of a hiking boot on wheels that the Crosstrek blends into the small crossover space, as a kind of low-cut day hiker. The utilitarian interior also skips frills for function. It’s a solid 5 on style, neither good nor bad. 

Black body cladding rings around the rosie of the Crosstrek like thick soles, cladding  the lower bumpers and available fog lights. Up top, available roof rails stopping at the snub end add more low-cut appeal as a mini-Outback.  
2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review

Base cloth seats with manual adjustments can be upgraded to nicer materials, same as the touchscreen can be upgraded to 8.0 inches and gold accents can be added on certain trims. The hooded vehicle info display atop the dash carries over, and a functional interface with climate dials and volume and tuning knobs keeps it familiar, if not fresh. A manual emergency brake also continues, bucking the trend to upfit consoles with more tech pieces. Thus the USB ports are hard to access, but the Crosstrek keeps cool amid the mad rush to fit every car with every gizmo.


The Crosstrek has legitimate off-road ability.

A high ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive let the Crosstrek traverse more terrain than other small crossovers, but the point earned for that capability is offset by a pokey but adequate base engine. It’s a perfectly average 5 overall. 

Is the Subaru Crosstrek 4WD?
All-wheel drive, all the time. The 8.7 inches of ground clearance in the non-hybrid models doesn’t penalize comfort on pavement due to a well-tuned independent suspension. It handles competently, and the larger flat-4 engine adds enough pluck to inspire rally car fantasies on dirt roads. The Crosstrek’s steering wheel tends to wander over the road crown, but that’s helpful when it goes off-road. Deeper in the woods, the X-Mode off-road function with the CVT comes with hill descent control that manages speed so the driver can focus on obstacles. Under speeds of 18 mph, X-Mode cuts throttle response to deliver torque more evenly and lock the slipping wheel. The Sport grade adds a Deep Snow/Mud function that essentially shuts off the traction control to permit wheel slip in a lower gear ratio that modulates torque so it can grunt its way out of sticky situations. 
2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review

How fast is the Subaru Crosstrek?
The base Crosstrek has a pokey 2.0-liter flat-4 that makes 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. It plods along with either the 6-speed manual or CVT. Push it to 0-60 mph in 9.7 seconds at best and it will groan its disapproval into the cabin. Despite our fondness for manual transmissions, the CVT with paddle shifters mimics an 8-speed and is quieter, more efficient, and comes with standard driver-assist features. 

The larger 182-hp 2.5-liter flat-4 found in the Sport and Limited models is worth the upgrade. With its 176 lb-ft of torque, it can hit 60 mph in a Subaru-promised 8.2 seconds, but all around it feels more confident. 

A dodo bird in the family, the plug-in hybrid Crosstrek employs a 118-hp motor and a 137-hp flat-4, with an 8.8-kwh battery pack that allows for 17 miles of electric driving range. It’s quicker than the base Crosstrek, but weighs about 500 lb more, and only can be had in a handful of states.

Comfort & Quality

Like the related Impreza hatchback, the Crosstrek seats four and their gear in comfort.

The Crosstrek and related Impreza hatchback share the same platform and footprint, except the Crosstrek rides higher with a ground clearance that’s 3.6 inches higher. The tall hatchback versatility earns it a point as does the good rear leg room that enables comfortable enough seating for two adult passengers in back. It’s a 7.  

If the Crosstrek had a work uniform, it would consist of overalls. It prides itself on utility and functionality, with manually adjustable front seats on all but the top trims. Cloth upholstery covers base and Premium models, but we prefer the water-repellent synthetic leather on the Sport grade that suits the Crosstrek’s character more than the real hides on top trims. The front buckets are comfortable and full but tend toward the stiffer side. 

Head and leg room are fine in front, but the middle seat in back won’t accommodate many fifth wheels. Shoulder and hip room would be cramped for five, but the decent head room and 36.5 inches of leg room provide plenty of space for four. The 60/40-split rear seat folds down to expand the cargo space from 20.8 to 55.3 cubic feet. 
2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review

Subaru options all the accessories at the point-of purchase, ranging from all-weather mats to collapsible pet kennels and harnesses to a Thule bike carrier.


Crosstreks with a CVT rate high on safety.

How safe is the Subaru Crosstrek?
When equipped with the CVT, the standard driver-assist features help earn it a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS and a five-star crash rating from the NHTSA. Each of those marks earn it a point, and since most shoppers will buy a Crosstrek with the CVT, it earns another point for its standard automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. It’s an 8, but if the manual were rated separately it would earn only a 5 since automatic emergency braking is optional.

There are more safety caveats with the 2023 Crosstrek. The IIHS Top Safety Pick applies only to Crosstreks equipped with LED adaptive headlights standard on top Limited and Hybrid trims. 
2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review

Like other Subaru crossovers, outward vision is good, but the crimped rear and blind-side views limit vision over the shoulder.


Take the Sport for the best blend of features and value.

The Crosstrek earns a 7 for its standard features and its value, even if the price jumped $1,300 this year. 

Based on most shoppers’ preferences, the Crosstrek starts at $26,220 with the CVT. The 6-speed manual might shave $1,350 off that price, but not only does it lack the recommended safety features mentioned above, the average driver will pay $500 more annually in fuel costs. We’d skip the base model anyway for the $27,370 Premium that adds heated front seats, fog lights, two more drive modes, and two USB-A ports on top of the base cloth upholstery, 17-inch wheels, and 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Which Subaru Crosstrek should I buy?
2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review

The Special Edition costs only $600 more than the Premium and adds more character as well as the larger 8.0-inch touchscreen. The larger engine is worth the upcharge to the $29,220 Sport. It too has dark trim elements, as well as keyless entry and start, water-repellent upholstery, yellow accent stitching, and the more advanced off-road system. 

How much is a fully loaded Subaru Crosstrek?
The hard-to-find 2023 Crosstrek Hybrid tops the lineup at $40,570. It has a heated steering wheel, adaptive LED headlights, and more, but there are better choices for range and value in the plug-in hybrid crossover segment. 

The Crosstrek carries an average 3-year/36,000-mile warranty.

Fuel Economy

The CVT outdoes the manual, which is more available than the plug-in hybrid.

Is the Subaru Crosstrek good on gas?
With the CVT in 2.0-liter flat-4 models, the Crosstrek earns an EPA rating of 28 mpg city, 33 highway, 30 combined. That’s average for small crossovers with AWD, and gets a 4 here. 

The larger 2.5-liter flat-4 in Sport and Limited versions costs it only 1 mpg combined, yet it’s more efficient on the highway at 34 mpg. With the 6-speed manual, the ratings plummet to 22/29/25 mpg. 
2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review

A Crosstrek with a manual might be easier to find than the chimeric plug-in hybrid variant limited for sale in 10 zero-emission states. It gets 17 miles on electricity alone, and when the battery runs out it gets 35 mpg combined. Together, the EPA rates it at an equivalent of 90 mpg.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on August 11, 2022 Rating: 5


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