By on February 26, 2020

Image: Subaru

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.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek - Image: Subaru

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]

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33 Comments on “More Power Coming to Tepid Subaru Crosstrek...”


  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Long, long overdue. Wonder why they didn’t just apply boost to the 2 liter? Probably would’ve netted still more HP and TQ…

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    Lemme guess. The Sport trim will come standard with the CVT and Eyesight. If so, it would be a dealbreaker for me. At least, as of this model year, the base and Premium Crosstreks can be had with a manual and no Eyesight. But you’re stuck with an almost dangerously underpowered engine.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      STEVE….

      Why is Eyesight bad?

      Carand Driver tested Subaru, Volvo, Caddy, Mercedes i think.
      The Subaru system was the best.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenn

        I believe Steve is including Eyesight with all the other complex “driver assistance” packages. I, too, don’t appreciate being forced to adopt these features which will likely lead to interesting (and possibly dangerous, and costly to troubleshoot and repair) glitches as they age.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    They really need to put the FA20 in there (WRX 2.0 turbo). Even with just the CVT. They’d sell like hotcakes.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      Agreed. That’s the only scenario I can see the CVT being acceptable.

      Oh – did I mention auto start-stop? It seems to be standard in all 2.5-liter Subaru’s this year. I had a 2020 Forester as a loaner a few weeks ago. Nice vehicle but auto start-stop is miserable. And there’s no way to turn it off.

  • avatar
    make_light

    With the bigger engine, this will essentially be a perfect car. It’ll be interesting to see how this more powerful version compares to the new CX-30.

  • avatar
    blackEldo

    People, please…just buy a Forester.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Still, CX30 is a better crosstrek.

    • 0 avatar
      StudeDude

      Agreed. The Mazda will cut into the Crosstrek sales on looks and refinement for those willing to compare.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        Yeah, that’ll happen. LOL!

      • 0 avatar
        Mike-NB2

        Where I live those are probably mutually exclusive populations. The average age of a Crosstrek driver is well north of 60. I suspect the CX30 will attract a much younger demographic.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          you know what is funny about your statement – I was sitting in cx30 at the car show and who was checking it out? – old couples.

          Also, 60+ people were checking Miata, not young guys. I found bunch of 60-70yo dudes around Miata-based Fiat and even got to talk to them. Oh, these these are the car enthusiasts, not you people here. They have garages full of MT cars of different generations. Fun people!

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Here we go with the Dangerous comments. Having driven Volvo 240 for 9 years, and Forester 2.5 for 3 years, I always have a laugh about those as I pass most of the cars on highway. And Subaru’s stick shift is only for those who are used to drive a Mack truck, rev-matching and all.

    Anyway, if Crosstek gets the 2.5, does it mean that Forester gets 2.0T?

  • avatar
    deanst

    Does the 2.5 still require a quart of oil with every gas fill up? ( I get this info from a loyal Subaru family who hate their legacy but love their Crosstrek.)

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Let me give you a life lesson – don’t buy what you hate. Now, deliver this you your Subaru family

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      > Does the 2.5 still require a quart of oil

      The current FB engines are a different family to the old EJ series.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        The high oil consumption issue was especially bad on the early FB series motors with low tension oil rings, but apparently was rectified after the 2016-ish (?) model year.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      In a word, no. A quart of oil with every gass fill up would be a BMW, the vehicles with the factory option oil container basket that is mounted in the trunk. The low-tension oil ring issue was fixed 5 or so years ago on the FB engine – 12oz of oil per 1200 miles was the limit and Subaru would replace the short block at their cost for the problem vehicles. Try the meme about leaky head gaskets or CV-joint boots…

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Of course you have to buy the top trim.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    I seriously never thought I’d see the day. For CAFE reasons, Subaru needs to get the fleet fuel economy figures up for the Crosstrek… high volume, small engine. It makes sense that they are dumping the Forester engine into the highest trim only. Basically, we’re returning to a power-to-weight-ratio similar to the third gen Impreza, but at a higher average transaction cost. Also begs the question, would they put the FB25 into the Impreza as well?

  • avatar
    gtem

    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).

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    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.

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