2021 Subaru Crosstrek updated with new engine, refreshed styling

John Beltz Snyder


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For the 2021 model year, the Subaru Crosstrek is getting some mechanical and aesthetic updates, along with a new Sport trim (pictured above).

The biggest difference you’ll find for 2021 is the addition of a new engine to the lineup. While the base and Premium trims will continue to use the 152-horsepower, naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder carried over from 2020, the Sport and Limited trims will employ a new-to-Crosstrek 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine. Borrowed from the Forester, and also found in the Outback, this naturally aspirated 2.5-liter provides 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. That power is put to the wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and Subaru’s torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. The base and Premium trims, with the holdover motor, still come with either a six-speed manual or optional CVT.

In terms of efficiency, the new 2.5-liter offers 27 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. The 2.4-liter still provides 22/29/25 mpg with the six-speed manual, or 28/33/30 mpg with the CVT — just one mpg better across the board than the 2.5.

That aforementioned Sport trim is new to the Crosstrek, and it has more to set it apart than just the engine. It’s the only version with the dual-mode X-Mode system, with Snow/Dirt and the additional Deep Snow/Mud setting. Standard X-Mode — which essentially offers better traction in snow and dirt — with hill descent control comes on the rest of the CVT-equipped Crosstrek trims. The Crosstrek Sport also gets unique visual touches to set it apart from the other trims, like more prominent wheel arch moldings, dark grey 17-inch alloy wheels, and a gunmetal finish on the grille, side mirrors and badges. Inside, it gets StarTex synthetic upholstery, yellow stitching and other yellow accents throughout the cockpit, and gunmetal and faux-carbon fiber accents. Sport Trim exterior paint colors include new Plasma Yellow Pearl and Horizon Blue Pearl finishes.


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Speaking of looks, all 2021 Crosstrek trims (like the Limited pictured above) get refreshed grilles and an updated front bumper, with fog light insert covers on the base model, and other trims getting new fog light covers. Subaru has also updated the Crosstrek’s Eyesight driver assistance technology — standard on all CVT-equipped versions — with adaptive cruise control with lane centering, in addition to the suite’s other active and passive safety features. CVT-equipped Crosstreks also get a rear-seat reminder to check for children or pets when exiting the vehicle.

We haven’t learned pricing for the Sport trim, or finalized pricing — if it changes at all — for the rest of the Crosstrek lineup. We’ll know closer to the 2021 Crosstrek on-sale date late this summer.

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