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2024 Subaru Crosstrek: Premium trim blends tech, functionality [First Drive]

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The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek isn’t supposed to be Rubicon-trail-ready. Nor is it meant to rack up luxury points with premium materials. Instead, with a base price of about $25k, this sub-compact crossover hits a sweet spot of adventure-ready drivability with just the right amount of tech to please a younger demographic.

During our brief first drive of the Premium trim with the 2.0-liter engine, we had plenty of on-road seat time and a brief stint off-road. While it’s not a lot of time to make a final judgement, it was plenty of time to get a favorable warm fuzzy feeling.

Effortless drivability

One of the things I love about Subaru vehicles is they’re just so damn comfortable. From the seats to the driving position, I feel like I can slide behind the wheel and begin driving with minimal fuss and adjustment. Once on the road, the feeling of comfort continues – even when you spend more than six hours in the front seats.

Plus, it’s worth noting Subaru has done an excellent job of quieting the cabin, so exterior and engine noises are kept to a minimum. This is a vast improvement over the previous generation.

The Premium trim is equipped with the base 2.0-liter engine that delivers 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. This is decent power for a vehicle of this size, but I wouldn’t call it peppy. It’ll get you merged on the highway and allow you to pass, but the zing of power is absent.

Adventure-ready functionality

Because Subaru has its finger on the pulse of its intended customer, the 2024 Crosstrek was designed to have a utilitarian interior with easily cleaned materials, functional roof racks for stowing kayaks and wide-open cargo space for bikes and gear. Crosstrek buyers will certainly use the vehicle as a commuter vehicle, but their primary purchase reason is the ability to get to weekend getaways off the beaten path.

The proportions of this third-generation Crosstrek aren’t that different from the previous generation – as Subaru pointed out during the presentation change by “tenths.” Thus, you still have compact but usable cargo space and 8.7 inches of ground clearance – which is solid for a sub-compact crossover.

Just enough tech

In some of my social media posts, I’ve had a few comments about the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek looking dated and low-tech with its analog gauges. But I’m going to counter with: This is an entry-level vehicle with an all-in price of $32k. That’s with the top-tier engine and more standard amenities. Thus, IMHO, what you see is what you should see for a vehicle in this segment at this price point.

The Premium trim we drove added a few options and had an as-tested price of just less than $30k. It included features such as Subaru’s Eyesight safety suite, an 11.6-inch infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, steering responsive LED headlights, USB-A and USB-C charge ports, all-wheel drive, a solid off-road mode with hill-descent control, heated front seats, blind-spot monitoring and a power moonroof.

No, it didn’t have a digital display, but on a vehicle like this it’s not necessary, and it’s highly likely customers don’t want it – so why waste dollars there?

AWD + fuel efficient

One of the biggest benefits you get with the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek is a nice blend of standard all-wheel drive and decent real-world fuel efficiency.

This vehicle is equipped with a 16.6-gallon gas tank, and estimated driving range is around 500 miles. We ended our drive with a half tank of gas and 250 miles of range left – so that estimate seems pretty spot on. Plus, EPA estimates you should get about 34 MPG on the highway and 29 MPG in combined driving. We ended up at about 34.6 MPG in mostly highway driving. Again, the estimates seemed spot on – and that rarely happens.

Nuts and bolts

Because we already covered a lot of the details on the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek when it was revealed at the Chicago Auto Show, we won’t rehash (click the link if you want to go more into the weeds), but it’s worth re-stating that Subaru did a good job holding the line on pricing. It did away with the manual transmission, so the base price of both the Base and Premium trims are exactly the same as the 2023 models equipped with the continuously variable transmission. So, even though the chart below shows an increase, it’s because we’re comparing the true base not the CVT bases.

Trim2024 price2023 priceDifference
Base $26,290 $24,870 $1,420
Premium $27,440 $26,020 $1,420
Sport$30,290 $29,220 $1,070
Limited $32,190 $30,720 $1,470

A few misses

Overall, the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek is a huge win. It manages to deliver on both an attractive price point and a nice blend of features. But there are few things I find a bit odd.

First, even though Subaru made it a point of increasing the heat on the heated seat because Crosstrek customers spend time doing things like skiing and hiking in cold weather – yet there’s no heated steering wheel. It’s not even available as an option on the upper trims.

Plus, for a brand that is so safety conscious, I find it weird that all safety features aren’t standard. While Eyesight is, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic reverse braking are not.

Finally, I know I’m in the minority on this, but I’m sad about the demise of the manual transmission on the Crosstrek. I get it. The take rate was so low it didn’t make sense to carry it through to the next generation, but the lack tears a hole in my heart. Combined with the fact that the CVT is just OK, I’m adding this to my misses list.

The bottom line

The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek remains an excellent sub-compact crossover. It’s drivable and comfortable and has just the right amount of tech without becoming overly complicated.

When you consider the top competitors include the VW Taos, Honda HR-V and Jeep Compass, Crosstrek’s accessible price point, standard AWD and excellent safety tech should push this little SUV to the top of your must-test list – along with the Mazda CX-30, which is another phenomenal tiny crossover.

Editor’s note: Driving impressions in this “First Drive” review are from an invitation-only automaker launch event that allowed special access to the vehicle and executives. Subaru covered our accommodations, meals and transportation costs.

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is the Managing Editor for Pickup Truck + SUV Talk as well as a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality and podcast host, with her articles and videos appearing in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on car stuff for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both newspaper and broadcast media conglomerates. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. Jill is also currently a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY).

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