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2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited Test Drive Review

“There’s always room for more stories.” If you go to the page for the 2018 Crosstrek on the Subaru website, you’ll see that’s the automaker’s philosophy behind the newest version of its all-wheel-drive adventure vehicle.

Clearly, Subaru also thinks there’s always room for improvement. It overhauled the Crosstrek from the ground up for the 2018 model year. It now features revamped exterior styling and rides atop the new Subaru Global Platform, whose increased rigidity makes the Crosstrek more stable, agile, and comfortable on the road. Active Torque Vectoring, designed to sharpen turn-in and handling, is standard across the range of Crosstrek models (2.0i, 2.0i Premium, and 2.0i Limited). The 2018 Crosstrek is also safer because its ability to absorb crash energy has gone up by 40 percent compared to the 2017 model. Company engineers made enhancements to the Crosstrek’s engine and infotainment setup, too.

So Subaru found room for improvement in the 2018 Crosstrek, and we recently found ourselves behind the wheel of a 2018 Crosstrek 2.0i Limited for a week.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited Exterior

Subaru chose to express the lines of the 2018 Crosstrek in a design language it calls “Dynamic x Solid.” Some of the words in that include a hexagonal grille, “hawk-eye” headlights, L-shape taillights, 8.7 inches of ground clearance, pronounced black wheel arch trim, and black roof rails and lower rocker panels. Our Limited model came covered in Crystal White Pearl, which only made those dark exterior accents all the more noticeable.

All Crosstrek Limited models come standard with LED low beams and high beams, steering responsive headlights, fog lights, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, and 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-season rubber.

The main thing we saw when we looked at our test vehicle was the rolling embodiment of the word “fun.” The ample ground clearance and all-business black trim made the Crosstrek look as if it was ready to get dirty far away from the suburbs. It’s too bad we didn’t get chance to go camping in the Crosstrek because all we wanted to do was put a couple of mountain bikes on its roof, zoom down a gravel road, splash through a muddy puddle, and pitch a tent near the Crosstrek’s rear hatch.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited Interior

We also enjoyed looking inside our Crosstrek review special. That was mainly because its two-tone gray and black seats and door panels with orange stitching just looked so cool.

There was plenty more inside to like, though. The three-spoke steering wheel was perfectly sized and felt natural in our hands. The large HVAC dials had a solid, high-quality feel to them. In front of the shifter, there was an area that was more than large enough to fit a phone quickly and easily. (We may have also used the space to transport a tasty muffin. When something’s that delicious, it’s precious cargo.)

All Crosstrek Limiteds come off the assembly line with heated front seats (thanks to the All-Weather Package), auto up/down front windows, keyless entry and start, and a cover and tray for the 20.8-cubic-foot rear cargo area. The eight-inch STARLINK multimedia navigation system with Apple CarPlay; Android Auto; Aha; Pandora; STARLINK Cloud Apps; and SiriusXM radio, traffic, and Travel Link was attractive and easy to use. Subaru was kind enough to add the Harmon Kardon audio system with eight speakers and an amplifier, and a power moonroof to our particular Crosstrek.

Given that it had so much ground clearance, the Crosstrek felt tall in turns, although its suspension was taut enough to keep the body from noticeably rolling. We wouldn’t exactly call it a driver’s car, though. The Crosstrek is more of a comfortable bridge to “roughing it”–whether that means camping, rock climbing, or hiking.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited Performance

The changes to the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek are more than skin-deep. Its naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine now has direct fuel injection and other upgrades. Horsepower is up from 148 to 152. Torque stays the same at 145 lbft. According to the EPA, the combination of the tweaked flat-four and the CVT is good for 27 city and 33 highway mpg.** We averaged 26 mpg in mixed driving.

Subaru offers the Crosstrek with either a six-speed manual or Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Limited models come only with the CVT, which has a seven-speed manual mode that’s controlled through the shift paddles behind the steering wheel.

Pushing a button near the shifter engaged X Mode. That optimized the engine, transmission, and other components to give the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system more traction in low-grip conditions. X Mode’s Hill Descent Control manages the Crosstrek’s throttle and braking to make sure it tiptoes instead of charges down steep grades.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited Safety

Engineers found plenty of room in the Crosstrek in which to stuff a variety of safety features. All Crosstrek models come with dual-stage front airbags, front seat-mounted side pelvis/torso airbags, side-curtain airbags above the outboard seats of both rows, a driver’s knee airbag, and a rollover sensor. Additionally, all Crosstreks are fitted with Brake Assist, a Brake Override System, a rear camera, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Our test vehicle came with the optional EyeSight Driver Assist Technology suite that included Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, and Lane Keep Assist. Reverse Automatic Braking and automatic high beams which shut off and switched to the low beams whenever they sensed an oncoming vehicle were also part of our test vehicle.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited Overall

Prices for the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek start at $21,795.* That figure jumps to $26,295* for the 2.0i Limited model. Expect to pay $30,655 for a Crosstrek Limited just like the one we drove. If you decide to do that, make sure you do it at an AutoNation Subaru dealership. The staff there will make plenty of room for you in its schedule.

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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