By Derek Price
Subaru calls the 2024 Crosstrek “all-new,” but a more accurate description would be “properly evolved.”
That’s a good thing for a vehicle that has grown into one of Subaru’s most popular models since it was launched 11 years ago. Why mess with success?
Just like before, the 2024 Crosstrek is designed for people who want a bit more off-road capability and adventurous styling than they can get from an Impreza. The fresh version follows that familiar formula in a slightly more refined way thanks to updated looks, more tech goodies and better handling.
Its most noticeable change of all is that last point, the way the Crosstrek feels from the driver’s seat.
Engineers stiffened the Crosstrek’s structure by 10 percent, Subaru claims, and you can feel the difference in corners. The new version is more composed than before, delivering enough feedback to the driver to make it surprisingly fun on winding roads and a bit more like — ironically enough — the Impreza.
There are lots of small changes to the styling, but honestly, I struggle to see much difference when I squint. Subaru claims aerodynamic changes improve the Crosstrek’s stability and performance, and I believe it based on the driving feel. My jaded eyes remain skeptical.
Inside, the updates are more obvious.
A huge, 11.6-inch touchscreen is now available in most trim levels to provide plenty of digital acreage for connecting smartphones and using its myriad built-in features. The base version comes with a 7-inch screen.
Unfortunately, big screens make it a bit more obvious that Subaru’s digital interface looks out of date. It’s not the flashiest system, but I found it functioned just fine in my weeklong test with one exception: wireless Apple CarPlay didn’t stay connected consistently. It maddeningly disconnected from my phone at random times, something that hopefully will improve with software updates in the future.
One thing that works perfectly right off the bat, though, is the EyeSight driver assistance system. It combines adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist to feel somewhat autonomous in a wide range of situations, smoothly adjusting to the speed of traffic while staying centered in the lane. It comes standard on every 2024 Crosstrek.
Newly designed seats are both comfortable and supportive, and lots of soft-touch materials in the right places give the cabin a premium tactile feeling. Careful sound deadening and solid construction add to the upscale impression.
Acceleration was acceptable, but hardly exciting, in my tester with the upgraded 182-horsepower, 2.5-liter engine and the only transmission available, the continuously variable type. CVTs don’t bother me in family cars like this.
If you coupled it with the Crosstrek’s base engine, a 2.0-liter four cylinder that makes 30 fewer horsepower than my tester, though, and the CVT might drive me crazy. The engine upgrade seems worth it.
On the bright side, both powertrains are incredibly fuel efficient for an all-wheel-drive SUV. My tester is rated for 33 mpg in highway driving and 26 in the city. The smaller engine improves both those numbers by just 1 mpg, which is another good reason to spring for the extra power.
Overall, I like what Subaru has done with this SUV. It remains true to its lovably quirky mission — capable of adventure, but not in a pretentious way — while updating its tech, style and handling for the high expectations of today’s SUV buyers.
At A Glance
What was tested? 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Limited ($30,895). Options: Option Package 33 with power moonroof, Harman Kardon speaker system and Subaru Starlink 11.6 multimedia ($2,445). Price as tested (including $1,295 destination charge): $34,635
Wheelbase: 105.1 in.
Length: 176.4 in.
Width: 70.9 in.
Height: 63 in.
Engine: 2.5-liter four cylinder (182 hp, 178 ft. lbs.)
Transmission: Continuously variable
Fuel economy: 26 city, 33 highway
Why buy it?
The redesigned Crosstrek stays true to its mission while offering more features and refinement, especially in its driving feel. Standard EyeSight driving assistance and a large touchscreen option keep it feeling modern.