The Subaru Crosstrek compact SUV, a darling among car owners in the Puget Sound region, has a new Sport trim for 2021 and an optional new 182-horsepower 2.5-liter engine. Those 182 horses do a lot more work than the 152 of the 2.0-liter standard engine, which was previously the only engine offered for the Crosstrek.
Exterior appearance modifications on the 2021 Crosstrek include a redesigned front bumper and grille, and new wheel designs. Subaru’s EyeSight suite of driver assistance features now includes adaptive cruise control with lane centering, and two new paint color options have been added: Plasma Yellow Pearl and Horizon Blue Pearl.
There are four trim levels of the 2021 Crosstrek: Base, Premium, Sport, and Limited.
Base and Premium models come with the 2.0-liter engine and are available with a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic (CVT).
Sport and Limited versions come with the 2.5-liter engine and a CVT. It’s the same horizontally-opposed four-cylinder used in Subaru’s Forester, Outback, and Legacy models.
Including a $1,050 destination charge, pricing starts at $23,295 for a Base model with manual transmission and tops out at $29,045 for the Limited. In traditional Subaru style, every Crosstrek includes the company’s stellar all-wheel drive system as standard equipment.
I drove the new Crosstrek Sport, whose base price is $27,545. Sport model-specific exterior features include the wheel arch moldings, 17-inch alloy wheels with dark gray finish, and gunmetal finishes for the grille, side mirrors, and badging.
Inside, the Sport is made distinctive by high-grade StarTex water-repellant urethane upholstery with yellow stitching that extends to other spots such as the door panels, steering wheel, dashboard, and center console box.
Interior roominess is generous, seats are comfortable, and the infotainment system is logical and friendly. Materials and build quality give the impression of long-lasting endurance.
Cargo area capacity isn’t quite as generous but is enough to be useful for day-to-day purposes. Its measurements are 20.8 cubic feet with rear seats in upright position, and 55.3 cubic feet with seats folded.
The Sport’s 182-horsepower engine gives Crosstrek the energy boost it needed. Acceleration from a stop, getting up to speed quickly on freeway onramps, passing prowess, and the fun-to-drive factor are greatly improved. Its torque rating of 176 pound-feet tops the standard engine by 31. Fuel economy ratings are 27 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, 29 mpg combined.
In the minus column, the automatic stop-start system could be less noticeable when performing its duties.
The Sport model is the only Crosstrek with dual-function X-Mode with hill descent control with Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow selectable settings, building on the already formidable AWD system’s abilities.
Standard features on the Crosstrek Sport include a 6.5-inch multimedia system with all the entertainment and connectivity equipment expected in today’s new cars, such as Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, HD radio, SiriusXM, and a six-speaker audio system. Crosstrek’s system has a CD player, too.
My test car had the one optional package available ($1,600) adding a power moonroof, blind-spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, keyless access with push-button start, and an 8-inch premium multimedia system.
2021 SUBARU CROSSTREK SPORT
Base price, including destination charge: $27,545
Price as driven: $29,145
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.