These updates make the 2021 Crosstrek an absolute cracker of a package

The Subaru Crosstrek is one of the most underrated crossovers available in the market today. It is one of the best-selling Subarus in the States, but not the breadwinner for the Japanese automaker. The crossover has been lauded for its excellent overall value for money, hatch-like driving experience, and versatility. It is essentially an Impreza with an off-road bias.

The company introduced the second-gen of the crossover in 2018, and for the 2021 model, Subaru has refreshed the car. It comes with a few aesthetic changes, a new mill under the hood, and a new trim. Will this help boost the Crosstrek’s sales?

A New ‘Sport’ Trim Graces The 2021 Crosstrek’s Lineup

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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For the 2021 model, Subaru has introduced a few changes to the Crosstrek. For the standard models, it is a new grille and fog lights inserts and covers. The changes are so limited that a layman might not even notice the difference. However, the company has introduced a new Sport trim that takes its off-roading prowess to the next level. Well, that doesn’t mean this is your go-to adventure vehicle, but its off-roading skills are surely enhanced here.

In terms of appearance, it receives a few exclusive elements that set it apart from the other trims. First of all, the Sport trim can be had in all of the seven exterior shades that Subaru offers on the Crosstrek, along with two new shades – Horizon Blue Pearl and Plasma Yellow Pearl. Up front, the grille is finished in gunmetal. The black plastic cladding on the bumper remains as it is, but the wheel arches look distinct.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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Subaru has redesigned the cladding a tad bit here and it doesn’t look as rounded and simple as it does on the other trims. The wing mirrors are given the gunmetal treatment, too. The Sport trim rides on 17-inch wheels with a dark gray finish. As if these changes were not enough to distinguish the Crosstrek Sport from other variants, Subaru has also slapped receives trim-exclusive badges on it. All-in-all, it looks a lot more rugged and ready to go off the road.

How Is The 2021 Crosstrek Sport On The Inside?

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Interior
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On the inside, the Sport trim receives all the bells and whistles of the top-Limited trim, and then some more. This includes:

  • Six-way power driver’s seat
  • Keyless Access with Push-Button Start
  • STARLINK 8.0-inch Multimedia Plus system
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Interior
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Apart from this, new StarTex upholstery with yellow stitching finds its way onto the seats. The yellow stitching is further seen on the door panel, armrests, floor mats, steering wheel, center console, and basically wherever stitching was needed. The instrument cluster is benefitted from this color combination, too. The inner rings in the speedometer and the tachometer are finished in yellow, with a color LCD MID screen throwing out all the necessary information in the between them. The bottom spoke of the meaty steering wheels is the most prominent yellow in the whole cabin. With the amount of yellow all around the cabin, I think Subaru should gift Coldplay a copy.

The 2021 Crosstrek Comes With A New, Powerful Engine

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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Subaru has introduced a new 2.5-liter engine on the 2021 Crosstrek. This mill made its debut in the 2019 Forester.

This four-cylinder block churns out 182 ponies and 176 pound-feet of torque. It makes 30 horses and 31 pound-feet of torque more than the standard mill available in the lineup.

The new engine sends power to all the wheels via the Lineartronic CVT, which is available as optional with the other engine. The Japanese automaker will be offering the bigger block on the Sport and Limited trims. Subaru is offering the Sport trim with an exclusive dual-function X-mode with Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes. It also comes with Hill Descent Control, thus making it more acclimate to beaten paths and difficult road and weather conditions.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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The 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine is carried over as it is. It makes 152 horses and 145 pound-feet of torque, and is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. A CVT is also available as optional gear. The engine will continue to be offered on the Base and Premium trims. CVTs are known for using the last drop of fuel for maximum efficiency, yet they are also infamous for their lousy performance. As long as you go easy on the A-pedal, you won’t have any complaints. But, the minute you create a sense of urgency and unleash your adrenaline rush, you will be left wanting for more.

If it’s of any consolation, all CVT-equipped trims, except for the Base, feature an eight-speed manual mode function with paddle shifters that allow the driver to control the transmission via eight pre-set ratios. The Base trim features a driver-selectable Low Shift Mode for more control when descending hills.

The New Mill Is Also Fuel-Efficient

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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Speaking of fuel efficiency, the new 2.5-liter engine delivers 27 mpg in the city, 34 on the highway, and 29 miles per gallon combined.

The smaller engine paired to the CVT, the fuel efficiency is more or less on par with the bigger engine. It delivers 28 mpg in the city, 33 on the highway, and 30 mpg combined.

The same engine mated to the manual transmission achieves an EPA-rated economy of 22 mpg in the city, 29 on the highway, and 25 combined.

Subaru Has Enhanced The Safety Features Even More

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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The Subaru Crosstrek is known for being one of the safest vehicles not just in the segment, but also compared to any vehicle across segments at this price point. It has received the Top Safety Pick+ rating consecutively since 2015. For the 2021 model, Subaru has taken it up a notch by offering the EyeSight Driver Assist Technology suite on all the trims. It includes:

  • Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering
  • Automatic Pre-Collision Braking
  • Pre-Collision Throttle Management
  • Lane Departure Prevention
  • Lead Vehicle Start Alert
  • Auto Start-Stop
  • SI-Drive

How Much Does The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Cost?

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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Subaru has not unveiled the pricing yet, but the starting price will be more or less on par with the outgoing model; perhaps a couple of hundred bucks extra. The Limited trim could see a significant increase since it features a new engine. The Sport will be the new top-of-the-line trim, making it the costliest of the lot. A premium (pun unintended) of $1,000 over the Limited trim would be a fair price. Here’s how the 2020 Crosstrek is priced:

2020 Subaru Crosstrek prices
Base $22,125
Premium $23,195
Limited $27,395
Hybrid $35,145

Final Thoughts

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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Subaru just made the 2021 Crosstrek even more desirable. The addition of a new engine will draw a lot of buyers to the showroom. The automaker smartly plonked the engine only in the top and the new Sport trim. This way, the Crosstrek’s starting price will still be as low as the outgoing model. The Sport trim covers up for everything that was lacking in the Crosstrek. It has more power, better off-roading capabilities, and a host of features.

If I were to nitpick, I’d prefer a torque converter transmission here. 182 horses are adequate for a subcompact SUV, but when its paired to a CVT, you can’t extract the maximum joy and performance. If I had an option to choose between performance and fuel efficiency, I would certainly go with the former even if that meant compromising the fuel economy and getting figures in the ballpark of the manual gearbox’s economy.

With its hatch-like driving behavior and improved off-roading capabilities, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek feels like a great buy. In 2018, the company sold 144,000-odd copies, but moved only 131,000-odd examples in 2019. Do you think the sales figures will be boosted post this 2021 update? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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