By Peter Perrotta
It’s hard to live down your reputation once it has been achieved.
You know, we all have that “frugal” friend who has earned his or her reputation by accounting for every penny when it comes time to chip in to pay the bill at the diner.
Much the same can be said for Subaru’s Crosstrek – a popular four-wheel drive compact crossover SUV.
No, this car or its owners aren’t frugal.
It’s just a vehicle that has, over the years, earned a reputation for being very utilitarian, but at the same time, a bit slow.
Up until 2021, the only engine the folks at Subaru offered in the Crosstrek was a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder boxer-styled powerplant that delivered an unimpressive 152 horsepower.
Many in the North American motoring press rightfully pointed out that this base 2.0 engine needed to be improved.
“Slothful acceleration with base engine,” is what the editors at Car and Driver noted.
So, lo and behold, Subaru has set out for the 2021 model year, to change that reputation by offering up a new standard engine for the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Limited and Sport models – a 2.5 liter, four cylinder boxer-styled engine that puts out 182 horsepower, 20 percent more than the 2.0.
2021 is the ninth consecutive year that Subaru has offered up the Crosstrek in its model offerings and, to date, the Crosstrek’s equipped with the 2.5 liter engine make them the most powerful ones to date.
So as to not disappoint my On The Road fans, I recently jumped behind the wheel of the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Limited – equipped with the more powerful 2.5 engine – for one week to get a firsthand feel for this upgraded crossover.
I must say, I was immediately impressed with the new engine and some of the external design tweaks that Subaru packed into this refreshed model.
The enhanced power is immediately noticeable and it seems to mesh quite well with the CVT transmission – continuously variable transmission – making for a very smooth and seamless acceleration pattern.
The 2021 Crosstrek Limited feels bolder and more substantial with its enhanced ability to make aggressive lane changes and passing maneuvers.
The newly offered 2.5 engine comes standard on both the Limited and Sport models. The base and premium trims continue to use the 2.0 liter engine.
In actuality, the 2.5 engine offered for 2021 in the Crosstrek is not new to this Japanese car maker. It is the same 2.5 engine that Subaru has used in its mid-sized Legacy sedan and Outback station wagon.
The 2021 Crosstrek Limited model I road tested carries a base sticker price of $27,995. The only other added option was an option package for $2,395 that included a power moonroof, navigation and an upgraded Harman Kardon sound system.
When you add in the additional $1,050 for destination and delivery, the bottom line sticker price on my tester was $31,440.
Truth be told, though, folks, Subaru has a very loyal following. And, for most Subaru lovers, it really isn’t all about power.
Subaru has staked its reputation on offering up very solid, four-wheel drive vehicles that are quite versatile. This Crosstrek can be taken off road where it chews up dirt and sand quite well.
It will also hold its own with the best of them in any kind of inclement weather.
It is spacious and comfortable on the inside and has an ample amount of cargo room.
This is the perfect vehicle to bring to the mountains to go on a hike or throw a kayak on top and motor off to the Pinelands for a day of fun on the water.
At the same time, it is also refined enough to offer a bit of luxury in its interior ergonomics so that you can take it with you on “date night” as well.
All of the 2021 Crosstreks will offer up redesigned wheels – giving it a sportier look – and a redesigned front fascia that includes a new bumper and grille.
The newly offered 2.5 liter engine offers up an impressive overall EPA mileage rating of 29 miles per gallon – 34 mpg in highway driving and 27 mpg in city driving.
The Crosstrek is loaded with a ton of the usual safety features. Its Subaru Starlink 8-inch multi-media touchscreen infotainment system is top notch, as well.
I found it very easy to link up my phone or iPod music system, and when it came time to enter an address into the navigation system that went seamlessly well too. It’s an all around good system that easily recognizes voice commands as well.
As a total package you get a lot for your money with Subaru Crosstrek and I would recommend that anyone who is in the market for a compact crossover SUV give this model some heavy consideration.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears weekly. If you have an questions or comments he can be reached at email@example.com.