2024 Subaru Crosstrek 2.5 Adds Power, Gets Dirty


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Jun 19, 2023

2024 Subaru Crosstrek 2.5 Adds Power, Gets Dirty

The 2.5-liter adds 30 horses and 33 pound-feet, while revised all-wheel drive

The 2.5-liter adds 30 horses and 33 pound-feet, while revised all-wheel drive helps up the Crosstrek's crunchy capability.

Subaru's Crosstrek was a hit right out of the gate in 2013. Six years into the model's second generation in North America, its popularity continues to grow. According to Subaru, 154,142 examples of the crunchy subcompact crossover found a home in 2022, its best year ever. That's an increase of more than 27,000 units over 2021; not bad for an aging model born from a lifted Impreza concept unveiled in 2011.

To keep the product—and the profits—rolling, Subaru has ramped up the supply chain with an international approach. For the new third-gen 2024 Crosstrek, Subaru continues to build the 2.0-liter-equipped base and Premium models in Japan, while it assembles the 2.5-liter Sport, Limited, and upcoming Wilderness trim levels in Lafayette, Indiana. It's the first time the Crosstrek has been built stateside, though Subaru notes the facility in Japan continues to build 2.5-liter models for overseas markets. The strategy increases production volume and serves as a buffer for any supply-chain difficulties or pesky sociopolitical or economic issues that might throw a wrench in their cash-printing machine.

We drove a 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium 2.0-liter in California earlier this year. The reduced interior sound levels, improved CVT performance, and addition of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were all signs of progress. To get a taste of what an additional half-liter of displacement can bring to the table, we joined Subaru in Woodstock, New York, and settled into a Crosstrek Sport.

The Crosstrek's 2.5-liter flat-four engine produces 182 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, an increase of 30 horsepower and 33 pound-feet compared to the 2.0-liter. Sharp-eyed Subaristi will note an additional two pound-feet compared to the previous 2.5-liter. More significantly, peak torque now arrives at 3700 rpm, 700 lower than before. The manual transmission option is gone for 2024, but 2.5-liter cars have paddle "shifters" and a manual mode. EPA estimates come in at 26 mpg city and 33 highway; versus 2.0-liter models, the larger 2.5-liter requires a 1-mpg sacrifice in each measure. Both engines score 29 mpg in combined driving.

If those numbers paint a mental picture of launching away from stoplights like a WRX, you might want to get out your cognitive eraser. Yes, the Crosstrek's lower torque peak reduces the wait time when slicing and dicing around town in Sport mode, but steep hills and freeway on-ramps require some advance planning in the throttle department. Still, the flat-four exudes that warm, familiar, willing personality that summons a peaceful grin rather than a mischievous one. Yes, this Subaru is comparatively slow, but somehow it convinces the driver that its pokey nature is endearing rather than irritating.

Part of that calmness comes from the dramatically quieter cabin and seat design, as we mentioned in our Crosstrek 2.0 Premium drive story. The updated chassis is 10 percent stiffer yet also lighter, thanks to fewer subsections and 89 feet of structural adhesive. Subaru also claims 20 percent less engine vibration makes its way to the cabin because of various updated mounts, cradles, and component cases. On the downside, the increased use of sound-deadening materials negates the weight reduction. According to Subaru's figures, the 2024 Crosstrek Sport tips the scales at 3333 pounds, 68 more than the outgoing version. It's a tradeoff we'd make every day of the week, as that NVH reduction makes the 2024 model a far more pleasant space to spend time.

Like the 2.0 base and Premium models, 2.5-liter Crosstreks get a modified version of the WRX's electronically assisted power steering and larger 12.4-inch front brake rotors to replace the previous car's 11.6-inch discs. Rears increase in size to 11.2 inches from 10.8 and are now ventilated like the fronts. The parking brake is now electrically operated, which is sure to disappoint at least a few budding rally drivers.

Eager to prove the Crosstrek Sport is more than just another lifted hatchback clad in plastic attitude its internals can't back up, Subaru directed us to the nearby Plattekill Mountain ski resort. Looking every bit the set of a zany '80s ski movie, minus the cheesy soundtrack and token stoner employee, its gracious owner was game to let us traipse across the property's less critical bits, meaning not the main ski runs.

Preceded by two days of rain, we eyed our Crosstrek Sport's 225/55 18-inch all-season Falken tires with suspicion. Can the Crosstrek's 8.7 inches of ground clearance, standard-but-revised all-wheel-drive system, and Deep Snow/Mud mode keep us from sinking door-handle deep in one of several strategically placed mud pits? There's only one way to find out.

With 3500 feet of total elevation, the opportunity for hilarious out-of-control downhill careening was high. Still, the Crosstrek managed to keep us off the "tragedy-for-clicks" side of the internet—for now, anyhow. Ascending the wet, rocky terrain proved relatively uneventful with the AWD system in its Deep Snow/Mud setting, which also engages hill-descent control.

Things got muddy as the pitch of the descent increased. Removing our feet from the pedals and leaving the hard work to the software, the car crawled downhill at about 4 mph, alternately increasing and decreasing brake pressure with a stuttering action, occasionally adding throttle and diverting torque as needed with remarkable efficacy. Mud pits, too, presented little challenge. Our Crosstrek navigated them with dogged determination, thanks to the software sorting out the traction and wheelspin particulars. Progress proceeds at a slow and steady pace regardless of any ham-footed accelerator inputs. A second loop of the circuit at triple the speed yielded the same results with an increased odor of burning brakes and mud baking on the exhaust.

Prices for the 2024 Crosstrek Sport start at $30,290. That's the entry point for the 2.5-liter engine, and it is $4000 more than a base Crosstrek with the 2.0-liter. The Sport also includes a wireless phone charger, the All-Weather package (heated front seats, windshield, and exterior mirrors), and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. A package adding a power driver's seat, power sunroof, blind-spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert is a steal at $1920.

The $32,190 Limited includes everything on the Sport and adds leather seating, the safety package, a slightly different 18-inch wheel design, and some additional minor trim bits inside and out. Bundling a power sunroof with a Harman/Kardon audio system is an additional $1795, or $2445 with navigation added to the package. Unfortunately, no matter how much you spend, Subaru will not sell you a power front passenger seat.

Will most owners ever abuse their Crosstreks as we have? Probably not. By that same token, few buyers who lay down the cash for a set of Atomic Redster skis will ever take first in a single downhill, let alone a record 53 World Cup slalom wins like Mikaela Shiffrin. But sometimes, it's nice to know that what's inside the box can actually deliver the goods promised by the packaging.


2024 Subaru Crosstrek 2.5-liter Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICESport, $30,290; Limited, $32,190

ENGINEDOHC 16-valve flat-4, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injectionDisplacement: 152 in3, 2498 cm3Power: 182 hp @ 5800 rpmTorque: 178 lb-ft @ 3700 rpm

TRANSMISSIONcontinuously variable automatic

DIMENSIONS Wheelbase: 105.1 inLength: 176.4 inWidth: 70.9 in Height: 63.6 inPassenger Volume. F/R: 55–56/44 ft3 Cargo Volume, Behind F/R: 55/20 ft3 Curb Weight (C/D est): 3450 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST) 60 mph: 7.5 sec1/4-Mile: 16.0 secTop Speed: 120 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMYCombined/City/Highway: 29/26/33 mpg

Andrew Wendler brings decades of wrenching, writing, and editorial experience with numerous outlets to Car and Driver. A rust-belt native and tireless promoter of the region, he once won a $5 bet by walking the entire length of the elevated People Mover track that encircles downtown Detroit.

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