More Power Coming to Tepid Subaru Crosstrek

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
more power coming to tepid subaru crosstrek

Turning the five-door Impreza into the lifted Crosstrek was a brilliant bit of strategy for Subaru. Sales of the jacked compact soared following its late-2012 release, rising year after year until 2018, where it managed 144,384 U.S. sales.

While the model slipped last year, Subaru is not content to leave things be. Later this year, the automaker will answer a long-standing cry from Subaru loyalists and endow the Crosstrek with moar power.

Indeed, power was one of the Crosstrek’s most significant drawbacks. Decently potent for grocery-getting duties, the 2.0-liter Boxer four-cylinder felt sluggish under hard acceleration or when tasked with navigating deep snow. The model’s continuously variable transmission didn’t help that sensation.

You author found the current-generation Crosstrek to be a fun and capable partner in the deep stuff, but the experience was marred with the curious feeling that, somewhere beneath the hood, a rubber band was about to snap. With 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque on hand, the Crosstrek is no stump puller.

This year, Subaru plans to solve the problem once and for all. Speaking at last week’s NADA dealer bonanza in Las Vegas, Subaru of America CEO Tom Doll said displacement is on the way.

“One of the things that our customers were telling us about the Crosstrek was it was maybe a little underpowered with the 2.0-liter engine,” Doll said, as reported by Automotive News. “Well, the 2.5-liter engine will solve that problem.”

Great news for Crosstrek lovers, but a potential tease for low-end Crosstrek buyers. Doll said the familiar 2.5-liter will find a home in the Limited model. Making 182 hp and 176 lb-ft, the naturally aspirated four-banger will undoubtedly deliver more muscle to the Crosstrek experience, but will do so at a cost. A 2020 Crosstrek Limited starts at $28,405 after destination. A base model goes for $23,155.

It’s not the largest price gap, but it will be enough to keep some buyers away, though not necessarily from the Crosstrek itself. Indeed, the uplevel Crosstrek stands to gain potential buyers from the engine swap. There’s still hope for cheapskates, however, as Doll also announced a new Sport version carrying the same 2.5L. Where exactly that trim will fit in the Crosstrek price ladder remains to be seen, but it will surely undercut the Limited.

Redesigned for 2018, the Crosstrek’s U.S. sales peaked that same year, with sales falling 9.2 percent in 2019. Juicing the model’s appeal with more power could return the model to shopping lists.

[Image: Subaru]

Join the conversation
2 of 33 comments
  • Gtem Gtem on Feb 27, 2020

    Everyone used to complain about the mediocre MPG Subarus got, so they went ahead and downsized their motors (on the Impreza line) and neutered their AWD system. I miss the older Outback Sports with the 2.5L NA motor. Very satisfying car to drive on a back road with a stick shift, my family looked at them in 2006 ("bug eye" years).

  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Feb 27, 2020

    Ok, I stand corrected about the BSoDs. I must be one lucky guy, I haven't experienced them in a while. But I believe that my basic argument still applies: Developing a reliable complex software architecture, being used in thousands of different ways by thousands of different users, is a skill set that automotive companies have yet to master.

  • Keith Maybe my market's different. but 4.5k whack. Plus mods like his are just donations for the next owner. I'd consider driving it as a fun but practical yet disposable work/airport car if it was priced right. Some VAG's (yep, even Audis) are capable, long lasting reliable cars despite what the haters preach. I can't lie I've done the same as this guy: I had a decently clean 4 Runner V8 with about the same miles- I put it up for sale around the same price as the lower mile examples. I heard crickets chirp until I dropped the price. Folks just don't want NYC cab miles.
  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.