2019 Subaru Crosstrek Expert Review

Editor's Overview

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek enjoys a great reputation for reliability and strong resale values. Its owners will enjoy this subcompact-crossover SUV’s excellent practicality, refinement, relatively roomy cabin, capable driving manners and generous levels of equipment. And now, there's a hybrid version.

You'll Like The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek If...

When you need something with a wide spectrum of qualities, check out the Crosstrek. The security of all-wheel drive is enhanced by fuel economy, that much-loved high driving position, versatility when carrying people and/or cargo, refined driving manners, and Subaru’s superb reliability. And if a plug-in hybrid-SUV inspires you, we wholeheartedly recommend that you test the new Crosstrek Hybrid.

You May Not Like The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek If...

Size matters. Not everyone can live with a subcompact-crossover SUV. The Subaru Forester is the next step up and might be more suitable. And those requiring greater driving talents should check out the Mazda CX-3 or the VW Golf Alltrack.

What's New

The biggest news for the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek is the launch of the Crosstrek Hybrid -- Subaru's first-ever plug-in hybrid. Throughout the line, the Crosstrek now offers EyeSight Driver Assist Technology (including Pre-Collision Braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist) in the automatic version of its most basic trim level. The Limited trim and Hybrid have those driver-assistance features as standard, along with reverse automatic braking and automatic high beams.

Interior Features

The 5-seater Crosstrek has a decent amount of cargo and passenger space for a subcompact-crossover SUV. The rear seats fold flat, opening out from 20.8 to 55.3 cubic feet. The A-pillars and B-pillars are relatively thin, contributing to first-rate outward vision, while the dashboard is unfussy and uses good-quality materials. Our complaints are reserved for the strangely firm front headrests, and the fact that the Crosstrek Hybrid's battery pack compromises the rear cargo capacity. The seats could use a little more lower-back support as well. And the sunshades are almost comically small.

Exterior Features

Every beholder will have their own notion of beauty, but Subaru has never really been a company to place much emphasis on exterior design. On top of that, the current Crosstrek isn’t a departure from its predecessor. Hardly a concern, since this vehicle has other virtues and sells pretty well. Nice to know Subaru fans aren’t shallow. They’ll appreciate the fact that the new Crosstrek’s tailgate is four inches wider than the first generation’s, creating a larger aperture through which to load luggage and things like sports equipment. Roof rails are also standard. The Crosstrek Hybrid get its own exterior color schemes and a gloss black rear roof spoiler to set it apart.

Driving Impressions

If we’re just talking about general day-to-day stuff, the 2019 Crosstrek is a perfectly acceptable drive. Comfortable yet controlled, fairly quiet and easy-going. The biggest gripe, which also afflicted the previous generation, is that engine output (152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque) is barely adequate. Those situations when joining the freeway flow or planning an overtaking move involve a foot to the floor and a prayer for a following wind. The standard transmission in the lower trims is a 6-speed manual, which doesn’t really help get the most out of the engine. The automatic alternative is a continuously variable transmission (CVT), known for being slow to respond but cheaper than a conventional planetary-gear setup. At least the new Crosstrek has useful off-road chops (with 8.7 inches of ground clearance). In our test, the standard all-wheel drive and torque-vectoring system coped easily with miles of unpaved roads.

While the new Crosstrek Hybrid is heavier and less powerful than the non-hybrid, it's actually a bit quicker, though both can only boast moderate -- though adequate -- power production. The Hybrid is also quieter, thanks to extra sound insulation. And when the road turns rotten, the Subaru Hybrid's all-wheel drive and off-road instincts come to the fore, and standard X-Mode with Hill Descent Control masterfully tames slippery downhill crawls.

Pricing Notes

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek range begins at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $21,895. Add the $975 destination charge and we’re talking $22,870 for a base 2.0i model with the manual transmission. The automatic (CVT) option is an extra $1,000. Again, we reckon it’s a smarter call to stretch the budget by another $1,000 for the better-equipped Premium trim. Limited models start at $28,170; a fully loaded Crosstrek Limited can exceed $30,000, and if you find yourself inspired by the new Crosstrek Hybrid, pricing starts at $35,970.

Crosstrek rivals like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Kicks, Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X start slightly lower, but they don't have all-wheel drive as standard. The VW Golf Alltrack, starting a few thousand higher, is a larger and perhaps less obvious Crosstrek rival. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying. Also, the Crosstrek's resale value is the best in its segment according to the 2019 KBB Best Resale Value Awards, and this model leads its segment in terms of long-term ownership costs, based on the 2019 KBB 5-Year Cost-to-Own Awards.

Notable Equipment

The 2019 Crosstrek range starts with 17-inch alloy wheels, rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, smartphone integration, all-wheel drive with torque vectoring, driver-knee airbag, and a 6.5-inch touch screen. Nice, but for an extra $1,000, the Premium trim brings a leather-wrapped steering wheel, sound-insulated windshield, heated front seats and side mirrors, fog lights, and an upgraded infotainment setup that includes satellite radio and Subaru’s Starlink system (featuring emergency assistance, remote lock/unlock, stolen-vehicle recovery service and automatic collision notification). It’s also eligible for more options. The Limited trim includes 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, 8-inch touch screen and some advanced driver aids.

Standard pluses on the bountifully equipped Crosstrek Hybrid include leather upholstery in exclusive colors, power driver's seat, heated front seats, keyless entry and push-button start, 18-inch wheels, and the EyeSight suite of safety features, plus blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking.

Notable Options

The 2.0i base version can be fitted with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and forward-collision mitigation. Premium trims may also include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Other options include a powered moonroof, navigation, reverse automatic braking, and a Harman Kardon audio system. The Crosstrek Hybrid's only option is a $2,500 package that includes the moonroof, nav and Harman Kardon audio, plus a heated steering wheel.

Favorite Features

X-MODE WITH HILL DESCENT CONTROL

Should any Crosstrek driver be so adventurous as to tackle a steep and slippery downward slope, this feature will be a boon. Just press the appropriate button, then resist the urge to put any feet on any pedals, and concentrate solely on steering. The Crosstrek’s X-Mode system (in CVT models only) will handle the rest.

APPLE CARPLAY & ANDROID AUTO

Smartphone integration for both of these major players is becoming increasingly popular in new cars, but it’s quite often an option. Even in the lowest 2019 Crosstrek trim, it’s standard equipment.

Under the Hood

Subaru’s 2019 Crosstrek has one engine: a 2.0-liter unit with four horizontally opposed cylinders. This “boxer-engine” configuration means a lower center of gravity compared with the more common upright/inline arrangement, bringing benefits to the handling. Base and Premium trims come with a 6-speed manual transmission. Most buyers will choose the CVT automatic; it’s optional in the lower two trims, standard in the Limited. We’ve moaned about a lack of power, but fuel economy is impressive, especially since all-wheel drive is standard. Unlike some subcompact-crossover SUVs, the Crosstrek is rated to tow, albeit a humble 1,500 pounds.

Rated to tow 1,000 pounds, the Crosstrek Hybrid combines a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with an 8.8-kWh battery to run 148 horsepower to all four wheels via a CVT. The battery charges in five hours if you use your 120-volt household outlet, and just two hours if you install a 240-volt system. That full charge will get you 17 miles of pure electric travel up to 65 mph.

2.0-liter flat-4

152 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/29 mpg (manual), 27/33 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter flat-4 + 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery

Engine only: 137 horsepower, 134 lb-ft of torque

Total combined system horsepower: 148 horsepower

EPA city/highway (combined) fuel economy: 35 mpg, 90 MPGe

Electric-only range with a full charge: 17 miles

Editors' Notes

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek comes with all-wheel drive as standard and useful ground clearance, putting it firmly in the subcompact-crossover-SUV camp as opposed to a mere small hatchback with a slightly raised ride height. The 2019 model year represents the second year of the Crosstrek’s second generation. This version follows on from the success of the first wave, adding more driver-assistance features and raising refinement levels while remaining a value proposition. New this year, Subaru is broadening the Crosstrek's appeal with a plug-in hybrid good for 35 mpg and 17 miles of electric-only range. If there’s one complaint it’s that we’d like to see a chassis as good as this accompanied by more engine power, but the rest of the class is similarly modest. The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack comes with more punch and athleticism, but the Crosstrek counters that with a solid reputation for practicality, reliability and high resale values.

Road Test Video Reviews

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Owner Reviews

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46 Reviews
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Couldn't ask for a better car

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Premium

My Crosstrek is the perfect vehicle for my lifestyle. I own dogs and having the Crosstrek makes it easy to take them wherever we go. It will also be the perfect car for my family to grow into. I love the features in my premium model. My favorite feature is the apple car play. I use the apple car play the most for navigation, and since we travel a lot it's perfect. The car also gets great gas mileage. On average I get around 27 miles per gallon. The Crosstrek has also proven to be reliable in the snow. My first car had front wheel drive and I usually did pretty well. Now that I have all wheel drive though, I feel extremely confident while driving in any kind of weather. The premium model does not have the leather seats, but the seats are so comfortable and I really like the pop of orange color that comes from the stitching. My Crosstrek is the cool gray khaki which I'm totally in love with. I used to say that I never wanted a car with a lot of color. This exterior color is just too good to be true though. When I saw it in person I just fell in love. I get so many compliments about the color. I was also fortunate enough to get a premium model with a sunroof and I got heated seats. These are features that I consider to be a necessity. The sunroof makes the car feel even roomier than it is. The heated seats are great for the winter or for when my back is sore. I couldn't ask for a better car.

- Summer M

Want to feel completely safe while driving? Buy a Subaru.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Premium

I absolutely love my car. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't do anything different. It was worth it to purchase the subscription to the app because I can start my car from anywhere and control the climate settings as well. The total 7 airbags makes me feel very safe especially when so many drivers today are distracted. I feel so comfortable in the seats. I feel like my car is hugging me every time I get in it. The apple carplay feature awesome! I basically have Siri access to my entire phone hands free! I'm able to search addresses using maps, play music from Apple Music simply by asking Siri. The app also give you a monthly health check of your vehicle and even shows you how much tire pressure you have. I love tech and this car has it. The ONLY thing I don't like and wish they would change is that I cannot remotely open my hatch back/trunk. It's a little inconvenient to have to use the key fob to unlock my vehicle and trunk and then have to have a hand free to actually open the trunk. And even then it takes a minute to find the trunk release button. Now with that being said, I would still purchase this vehicle over and over again. I will always own a Subaru from here on out.

- Devon K

Cool grey khaki is the new black!

2019 Subaru Crosstrek

I love my new Subaru Crosstrek! The vehicle came with rubber floor mats that are a must have for my family- 3 dogs and a kid! There are a ton of features that make this car awesome- Bluetooth connectivity, apple carplay, excellent safety rating, sunroof, unique colors, excellent gas mileage, etc. The car is comfortable and roomy as to be expected from a midsize car. I have had zero mechanical (or otherwise) issues! It is super fun and easy to drive/ maneuver/ handle whether in bad weather or winding roads on a sunny day. I love that it sits a bit higher than an average sedan but not quite as high as a truck. One of the extra features that comes with all Subarus is the Subaru community; it is a blast to be a part of. These people love there vehicles and for good reason!

- Ashley O

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