By on July 31, 2017

2018 Subaru Crosstrek: Image: SubaruAfter the Impreza-based Subaru Outback Sport failed to catch fire with all the ignition of the Legacy-based Subaru Outback, Subaru’s approach differed only slightly when the XV Crosstrek debuted as an upsized rival for vehicles such as the Nissan Juke. Beating the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, and Jeep Renegade to the punch, the XV Crosstrek produced consistent and significant year-over-year U.S. sales growth.

From the 53,741 sold in 2013, Subaru reported a 32-percent improvement in 2014, a 25-percent gain in 2015, and a further 8-percent uptick to 95,677 in 2016.

Now that Subaru is preparing to launch the second-generation Crosstrek — the XV tag disappeared after MY2015 — it’s becoming increasingly apparent that Subaru isn’t just making hay off the Crosstrek by selling a whole bunch of Impreza-based tall hatchbacks.

Subaru also sells Crosstreks to the right people.

In 2018, after this transition phase (Crosstrek sales were flat, year-over-year, in 2017’s first-half) is over, you can expect to see substantially more than the 95,677 Crosstrek sales Subaru managed in the United States last year.

For a Subaru brand that’s also selling far more Impreza sedans and hatchbacks this year than last, 45-percent more to be exact, the addition of even more Impreza-based volume is something to behold. Subaru isn’t producing record sales on the backs of the Forester and Outback alone, not by any means.2018 Subaru Crosstrek - Image: Subaru“It’s been a huge part of growing sales during the past couple years,” Subaru’s Todd Hill tells Automotive News, as the Crosstrek claims 14 percent of the brand’s volume.

But in addition to being plentiful, Crosstrek buyers are also young — the youngest for any Subaru product, in fact. This means Subaru has time, decades even, to turn these Crosstrek buyers into owners of many future Subarus.

Moreover, Subaru says nearly two-thirds of Crosstrek buyers are first-time Subaru owners. That’s both Subaru’s way of stealing market share from rivals and the beginning of its intention to inspire loyalty. If the Crosstrek experience is good, perhaps the buyer becomes a Forester or Outback owner, and someday an Ascent driver.

Throw in the fact that some 40 percent of buyers of the new Crosstrek, Subaru believes, will opt for EyeSight, and the automaker will also be selling plenty of more profitable Crosstreks to plenty of the right buyers.

Now Subaru just needs to sell the second-generation Crosstreks. To do so, designers did not stray from established themes. The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is different, but it’s every inch a Crosstrek, instantly recognizable as something other than an HR-V, CX-3, Renegade, Trax, Encore, or Rogue Sport.

[Images: Subaru]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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52 Comments on “The Subaru Crosstrek Is More Than Just Big Volume for Subaru, It’s Good Volume...”


  • avatar
    make_light

    I had a 13 Crosstrek. It was a good car and a good value, but just too bumpy and noisy. It felt solid, roomy, and handled well. Slowness didn’t really bother me, I sit in traffic most of the time anyway. Since they apparently improved comfort quite a bit, I may go back to being a Crosstrek owner.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    That’s a nice AMC Eagle 4×4.

    Everything old is new again.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I went to Subbie dealer over weekend and found that they didn’t have ’18 Crostreck MT, which was already listed in inventory. Looks like in 15 days time I will be able to try one.
    I understand that Subaru is totally overrated. But I like few things about it – a bit elevated, wagon, MT, hand brake and analog instrumentation. If I end up buying it, will keep 6 years and let someone else deal with leaks down the road.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Only complaint I’ve seen about this solid vehicle is it’s somewhat underpowered. A turbo engine would let Subaru offer an “XT Crosstrek” in the spirit of the Forester XT.

    • 0 avatar
      jimble

      Subarus get reasonably good gas mileage with their base engines but the turbos are kinda thirsty — the Forester drops from 32/26 to 27/23 on premium gas when you put the 2.0T in it. I’d love a bit more power in my Crosstrek but something around 200 hp would be fine, it doesn’t really need the XT engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Landau Calrissian

      If that existed, it would 100% be my next car. A standard Crosstrek is already at the top of the list; it does everything I do with my 4runner (drive in the snow 5 times a year, go up logging roads, sometimes carry something home from Ikea) while getting more than double the MPG.

      • 0 avatar
        quaquaqua

        Unless your 4Runner is from 1982, there’s no way you’re gonna get twice the MPG in this thing.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Yeah, this Subaru is not going to return 34/42 mpg. Even the 4.7L V8 gets more than half the mileage, and if someone’s using one of those like a Crosstrek…

      • 0 avatar
        Antediluvianbaby

        “…it does everything I do with my 4runner” …”It” being any modern crossover. Glad to hear you’re questioning your assumptions about what kind of capability you need. I have happily done all those things you mention in my stick-shift 2nd gen CR-V for years, enjoying sedan-like gas mileage and more interior space/headroom than I’ve seen in 4runner.
        That said, I’m getting ready to test drive 4runners because I want to give up some economy to be able to do a some more truck stuff- tow a boat or big trailer, drop it into 4WD-L and crawl up snowed-in logging road, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “and more interior space/headroom than I’ve seen in 4runner.”

          Nope, but not too far off either in a 2nd gen. My ’96 4Runner has 45cu ft of rear cargo space, 80 with seats folded. 2nd gen CRV is about 33cu ft seats up, 72ish(?) seats down. The difference in seats up space (length of cargo area) is substantial in real life. The headroom comment you’re definitely right about.

          As also a primarly ‘logging road’ non-rock crawling sort of offroad user, I will say I’ve been in more than a handful of situations where a crossover based vehicle or even a lesser SUV with a worse approach angle/clearance would have suffered significant damage and would have been stranded. Likewise for beach driving, me pulling a crosstrek out of the sand at the OBX with the 4Runner illustrated my point perfectly.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Rereading the comment, if the “interior space” is in reference to passenger space, I agree. I focused in on cargo capacity for some reason (it’s a priority for my own situation).

      • 0 avatar
        VW4motion

        It’s called a Forester XT. Extremely under rated vehicle. 250hp with paddle shifters. Actually a fun vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Subaru is going to get left in the dust with their antiquated AWD and no 1.5T….just like Toyota lack of engines.

          https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/222752-which-compact-suv-has-the-best-all-wheel-drive-system-for-snow-and-ice

          TFL has a YouTube video of it. Also check out the CX-3 vs Crosstalk incline roller test with steering wheel slightly turned…Subaru could make the test.

          The only thing keep non-turbo-4 manufacturers in the fuel economy game are CVT’s and 149 horsepower weaklings.

          The Subaru XT with the turbo-4 and finally torque vectoring rear but it probably brakes the inside wheel in a turn instead of sending power to the outside.

          Even my 2016 Buick Envision 2.0T Premium can ace the single roller test the Acura MDX cannot with one front wheel pulling forward while the other three slip.

          • 0 avatar
            VW4motion

            Your point makes so much sense when Maazda is putting $3000 to $6000 on the hood of almost every SUV sold. Meanwhile Subaru has a hard time keeping up with demand and usually doesn’t take more than $1700 any vehicle sold.

          • 0 avatar
            brawnychicken333

            “Subaru is going to get left in the dust with their antiquated AWD and no 1.5T….just like Toyota lack of engines.”

            I mean…I guess this is a possibility. On the other hand, Subaru is selling every car they can make. So that doesn’t seem to actually be a real issue.

            And really? Having owned a few Subies and a variety of other 4 and AWD vehicles this is just asinine. I don’t know about some silly test, but the Subies I’ve driven have all been extremely capable in foul weather. The only vehicle I’ve preferred in the snow was a 2006 4Runner.

          • 0 avatar
            VW4motion

            @NORMsv
            My local Mazda dealer as of last week still had new 2016 cx-3 and cx-5 models. Won’t see that at any Subaru dealer.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Both Subaru and Mazda have dealerships advertising $4,000-8,000 off 2017 models, take your pick on cars for sale website. So to regurgitate a salesman or a press release leaves you looking funny in your rose colored glasses.

          • 0 avatar
            VW4motion

            @Normsv,
            Please sent link to $4000-8000 off Subaru models. Yeah, you can’t because your comment is BS / “alternative facts”.

    • 0 avatar

      Totally onboard with this idea. The only Subarus I’m interested in are the Forester XT (but now it’s pretty outdated) and Outback 3.6R because they actually have power.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Echild, the 3.6R is one of the lowest output 6-cylinders sold today. It only tops at 27 mpg in the Outback where our slightly smaller 2.0T in a 4,000 lbs Buick Envision is easily 30+ mpg and used is right around $30,000 right now.

        • 0 avatar

          Oh trust me norm, I’m aware. I don’t know why Subaru has kept in the OB versus their turboed option.

          And thanks for comparing this to a Buick, as you invariably do, but the Envision is a different beast and has no proven track record of reliability in North America. I won’t be buying anything GM until they can prove their ability to produce reliable, well-built vehicles for an extended period of time across their full range.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Subarus do little but clog up the fast lane on Denver expressways. There is no good Subaru volume, therefore.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    My local Subaru salesman says everyone that gets in a Crosstrek thinks it has more room over a Impreza wagon. And that feeling of sitting up a little higher gives people a feeling of being safer. All these little factors increase sales of the Crosstrek.

    It is nice pulling in and out of driveways without hitting the bottom front of the car. Awful seeing so many front ends pulled off and hanging do to driveways and parking lots.

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    I’ve had a 94 SVX, 05 Legacy, and 17 Forester. Without the turbo, the Forester with CVT is quite quick. Quicker than the previous 2, and with much better fuel economy. I’ve driven an Outback and Crosstrek also with CVTs, and found them to be quick. It’s almost like they are just precisely what you need on a daily basis, and not a bit more. Anyway I don’t ever find myself in want of a turbo or 2 extra cylinders.

    • 0 avatar
      jimble

      I don’t know if I’d put “Crosstrek” and “quick” in the same sentence. It’s fine probably 99.9% of the time but that 0.1% of the time when you really need more power RIGHT NOW can be frustrating and even scary.

    • 0 avatar
      dmoan

      Crosstrek being quick?? It does 0-60 at around 9-10 secs.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Yes. The SVX was about two seconds quicker to 60, which is a huge gap without making the SVX particularly quick.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        I haven’t driven the Crosstrek but other recent Subarus are “quick” in that they have very aggressive throttle tip-in. They feel peppy when you don’t get on it – at parking speeds, too peppy – but when you do there’s nothing there.

  • avatar
    TW5

    I’ve wanted a Crosstrek since Subaru released it, but a couple of things have stopped me from taking the plunge.

    First, the manual iterations of the first-gen were 5-speed, but the gears didn’t feel well-selected. The highway rpm was too high, and it made this weird hollowing din in the passenger compartment. Since I’m accustomed to the world of harsh offroaders, cabin noise is a deal breaker, if I’m purchasing a compromised, car-based CUV.

    Second, the 2.0L engine in the first-gen was underpowered. Velocity and acceleration are not must-haves in this segment, but losing 15%-20% of the engine’s modest power when driving at high altitude is another deal breaker.

    The 2018 model addresses one of these issues, hopefully, by offering a new six-speed manual. Maybe this will also be enough to compensate for power loss at high altitude, but I’m not sure. Looks like the 1.6L turbo will not be forthcoming. That’s life.

    Unfortunately, the 2018 has some drawbacks as well. The 18″ wheels violate my sidewall requirements, and X-mode is buried behind the Limited-paywall, though it’s basically just a software program for their torque vectoring system. Foolish decision made by pricing wonks trying to relieve you of your paycheck.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The Crosstrek styling is actually very good for what it is, the styling of everything else these days seems to range from neutral to holy **** that’s terrible. Going with anything other than a slight variation of what was ***working*** in gen 1 would be very foolish, and Subaru seems to have realized this. Kudos.

    “The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is different”

    Crosstrek is just an Impreza hatchback. If you want to make the argument it is different than HR-V, CX-3, Renegade et al, I agree. Crosstrek is the closet thing to a ***Capable*** Utility Vehicle in the lot, whereas the rest are transverse econo****boxes sold for 15-20% more to uneducated proles. If you like this sort of thing, one would be be foolish to buy anything other than Crosstrek and buyers seem to agree.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      This…and it’s one reason why I’m happy with my Jetta. The styling’s anodyne, but it’s *correct.* Every line makes sense. It’ll wear well over time. Can’t say the same for the Civic I came close to buying…

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    Of course it’s recognizable, with a snout like that.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    Funny thing about acceleration. A friend and I recently picked up a 1972 VW Superbeetle cabriolet. It does 0-60 in, maybe, 20 seconds if the road is perfectly flat. Driving around town, though, I am still having trouble accelerating slowly enough when the light turns green to keep a safe distance from the cars in front of me. Most of those cars have 4x the horsepower. Maybe it’s a Michigan thing, but why don’t people accelerate from green lights? I am not talking drag racing, just pulling out with reasonable haste so that an extra 4 cars aren’t left idling through an extra cycle of the light?

    Subarus and Crosstreks, in particular, are also very popular around here (Northern Michigan) for the reasons people have mentioned. Not cheap, but certainly below the cost of many other CUVs. They are certainly capable in the snow (my own car is FWD with winter tires, so, yeah, I know). And their resale value is seemingly insane judging by the crazy prices dealers ask for used examples.

    Back to the VW, it seems that back in the day, VW had many drivers who chose them despite being able to afford much pricier and capable cars. I think Subaru has hit on that same marketing bullseye. They seem to be cars without class bias. You see them parked in front of modest homes as well as being driven by the wealthiest folks in town. Leaving out the STi, they speak to practicality, a certain simple honesty, and quiet capability.

    I think they also did well by basically sticking to the hatchback and station wagon formats which really meets the needs of a lot of people as nearly everyone else abandoned them over the past decade. They are now getting more competition.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I’ve noticed the same thing about drivers not accelerating away from traffic lights. I have the PHEV version of the Fusion, which is a 4000 lb sedan that has a 2.0L I-4 that makes 140 hp, plus the 88 KW electric motor. I have no problem keeping up with traffic using half the available acceleration from just the electric motor.

      I don’t get the obsession with power for cars used as daily drivers, there’s seldom an opportunity to use it.

      • 0 avatar
        Pete Zaitcev

        There’s plenty of opportunity where I drive, but hardly any need. In addition, acceleration from traffic lights is the biggest driver of fuel consumption. I basically never break 2,100 rpm when accelerating (it’s an automatic transmission). If a driver in the next lane wants to floor it, then it’s his choice, I don’t mind. But I don’t need or want it.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      When you get used to being able to accelerate away from a stoplight with a Yamaha Zuma 125 scooter, you really start wondering how other people are driving. Although that Zuma is pretty quick off the line up to 30mph. It certainly fun to watch drivers go out of their way to not get behind me in line assuming I’ve got a 50cc moped scooter – and then I’m gone before they really get moving.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Subaru, PLEASE use this car as the basis of the next WRX!

  • avatar
    matt3319

    Gotta say I love these Crosstreks. When my daughter gets my current car next year Im certainly going to consider a MT Crosstrek. I know going in that it will be slow as molasses even with a MT. Even slower than my CVT SE Corolla.

    Subie has got know that(us enthusiasts) want more power. But I just dont see it happening. It would probably price it somewhere in the low to mid $30’s. I bet Subie thinks that not a good idea.

    We(us enthusiasts)can wish though.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      I still don’t know where this slowness talk comes from. I’ve had my’16 for 8 months now and I never feel it lacks for power for what it is. This is not a sports car. It’s a relatively inexpensive, well made, all weather CUV. It gets incredible gas mileage and is practically unstoppable in the snow. I love mine, and before I bought it I was afraid of the perceived lack of power. After a test drive I couldn’t understand what the hell reviewers were talking about.
      I traded in a pretty fast Bmw 328 and haven’t missed it at all.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “I still don’t know where this slowness talk comes from”

        “I traded in a pretty fast Bmw 328 and haven’t missed it at all.”

        If you can’t notice how much slower a 3200lb car with 148hp is than something that has 100hp more without much more weight…I don’t know what to tell you.

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