CHATHAM, Mass. – Familiarity breeds contempt is a proverb with roots in the 5th Century, but when it comes to the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek familiarity breeds admiration and respect.
I have owned a first generation Crosstrek Premium since 2015, reviewed a second-generation Crosstrek Sport in 2021 and now have spent a week in a new third-generation Crosstrek Premium.
The initial one remains my spouse’s reliable, comfortable daily driver; the second showed improvements in ride, handling and reduced cabin noise levels, and the latest version is an improvement in almost every area, from performance to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) to occupant comfort – all without diminishing my fondness for my 2013 model!
All-wheel-driver powertrain: heart of all Subaru vehicles
Like every Subaru (except the limited-volume, rear-wheel-drive BRZ sports car shared with Toyota), the 2024 Crosstrek Premium has a Boxer engine putting its power through a standard all-wheel drive (AWD) system.
This model features a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder version of the iconic Boxer design with double overhead chain-driven camshafts (DOHC), four valves per cylinder and Dual Active Valve Control System (DAVCS) which controls valve timing on intake camshafts. Output is 153 horsepower and 145 pounds-feet of torque.
Performance is peppy, with virtually instantaneous acceleration from a stop, achieving 60 miles per hour in 9.5 seconds (according to Car and Driver).
It returned good fuel economy for its capabilities as I saw 30.3 miles per gallon in my week behind the wheel (the federal Environmental Protection Agency rates it at 29 mpg overall, 27 urban, 34 highway).
A continuously variable automatic transmission transfers the engine’s output to the Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system now with a faster response time, which helps provide more agile handling and better control both on- and off-road.
Driver-selectable X-MODE with Hill Descent Control maximizes wheel control on slippery surfaces and steep inclines. In addition, it features Incline Start Assist, which briefly holds the vehicle while the driver pulls away from a stop on a hill.
The Crosstrek is a subcompact sport-utility vehicle (SUV), Its 8.7 inches of ground clearance gives it a leg up on going off road compared to many of the most popular SUVs, regardless of size. For example, by comparison, mid-size SUVs like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, 8.4, Ford Explorer, 8.2, and compact SUVs like the Honda CR-V, 7.8, and Kia Sportage, 8.3, are more challenged when obstacles – or snow – get in the way.
Enhanced platform supports the Crosstrek
Like the other members of its AWD family, the Crosstrek is built on the Subaru Global Platform which is enhanced in the 2024 iteration with 10-percent higher torsional rigidity. A complete inner frame construction with stronger welding techniques and additional structural adhesive (from 26.2 feet to 88.5 feet) contribute to better body rigidity and less weight.
These updates are major factors in improved dynamic performance, increase the feeling of overall solidity as well as helping reduce cabin noise.
The suspension design follows the company’s tried-and-true fully independent setup with MacPherson-type struts, lower L-arms, coil springs, dampers, stabilizer bar and hydraulic engine mounts in the front while the rear layout incorporates a double wishbone, coil springs, dampers and stabilizer bar.
Stopping the Crosstrek is an electronically controlled power-assisted dual diagonal four-wheel disc brake system with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), four- channel / four-sensor ABS, Brake Assist, Brake Override, Auto Vehicle Hold (AVH) and Active Torque Vectoring. It features 12.4-in. ventilated discs with dual-piston calipers up front; 11.2-in. ventilated discs with single-piston calipers in the rear.
Eyesight enhanced for ADAS 2024
Subaru enhanced its EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology (ADAS) for 2024 explaining it operates more smoothly and quickly and under a greater range of conditions. These improvements are thanks to a wider field of view, updated control software and the addition of an electric brake booster. EyeSight can identify bicycles and pedestrians at intersections sooner and, when necessary, alerts the driver and applies braking to avoid collisions.
EyeSight is now standard on all versions of Crosstrek, and the review model added blind-spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert and automatic emergency steering (part of a $2,245 option package).
More tech featured in 2024 Premium interior
Dominating the Crosstrek Premium’s interior is – available for the first time in the Crosstrek — the 11.6-inch color touchscreen for the SUBARU STARLINK Multimedia Plus infotainment system which also provides controls for the automatic dual-zone climate-control system and vehicle settings.
Additional features include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; Bluetooth streaming audio and hands-free smartphone operation; SiriusXM satellite radio and Travel Link; HD radio; six-speaker sound system, and over-the-air updates.
Steering-wheel controls can supplement those of the STARLINK screen for audio and phone operations as well as to control/customize the 4.2-inch LCD information cluster facing the driver through the steering wheel.
The option package mentioned above in addition to ADAS features brought a moonroof, 10-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat, and the all-weather package with dual-stage front-seat heaters (as well as windshield-wiper deicer and heated external mirrors).
Solid, small SUV package which works
The cabin of the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium might not be the most luxurious one we have sampled in recent weeks, but it is highly functional, comfortable and quieter than any small Subaru I have experienced.
Dynamically, the Crosstrek felt quicker than the numbers indicated, especially when the roads twisted, turned, changed elevation and got rough. I did not do serious off roading, but I explored some beach areas on Cape Cod, climbing sandy mounds, traversing some rough dirt trails off the beaten path.
I never was concerned regardless of the terrain – my long-term experience in a variety of Subaru AWD vehicles, especially the Crosstrek was reinforced by my time in the 2024 Crosstrek Premium. If the size fits as well as the $29,685 (including the $2,245 option package and $1,295 destination and delivery charge; base price of $26,145) price tag, it makes a solid choice in the subcompact SUV segment.