Subaru Crosstrek
December 20, 2018 7:44 PM   Subscribe

I am starting to shop for a car, either new or less than 5 years old. The current favorite is the Subaru Crosstrek. Questions ...

1. I've heard, but can't verify on the internet, that car manufacturers do a big redesign on models every 5 years. Is this true? If so, where is the line for the Subaru Crosstrek?
3. Do you own a Crosstrek? Are you happy with it?
4. I think I want a 6 cylinder. Talk me out of it.
5. Is a Crosstrek one of those cars that maintain their value well, such that you might as well buy a new one, as opposed to a 2 year old one?
5. Hybrid or not?
posted by falsedmitri to Shopping (25 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Make sure you test drive it on the terrain you’ll be driving on. I was convinced I would buy one, and I liked everything about it, right up until the point in the test drive that I took it up a steepish hill. (That was at least a year and a half ago, so they may have improved things!)
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:03 PM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

They must hold their value okay because we’ve been looking at 2-3 year old Crosstreks and not loving the price ranges we’re seeing (in Minnesota though, where that type of vehicle is pretty desirable and people tend to hang on to Subarus in general so inventory on used models is low). We loved test driving it though—my husband is a Car Guy and found it very fun to drive. I’m car agnostic and found it easy and comfortable.

I will say, if this matters to you—it comes in a lot of fun colors but they do seem to switch those up from year to year so if you get your heart set on a color you’ve seen in the wild, it may be gone by the next model year. I point this out because it’s one of the few cars that does come in a wider range of non-neutral colors and you, like my teenaged kids, may be slightly obsessed by certain colors that have caught your eye around town, only to find that they were phased out in 2016 or whatever.

You probably know that the Crosstrek is pretty much the Impreza with a higher clearance and different trim, but if you didn’t know—it is. Just in case that expands your possibilities at all.
posted by padraigin at 8:04 PM on December 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

1. The Crosstrek was refreshed in 2018. The 2019 is the model at dealers now. See the US News review for details of the changes.
3. No but I like our Forester.
4. Subaru does not currently make a six cylinder Crosstrek.
5. Subarus depreciate relatively slowly (like $3k/year from new, slower as they age, but check KBB for averages). A new Crosstrek is quite different to a 2 year old one before of the recent refresh. Base your old/new decision on whether those changes are worth it to you, and how confident you feel about managing problems with a used car.
5. The planet is dying, and you should get a plugin EV, and drive it as little as possible. But good luck finding a hybrid Crosstrek. They are brand new and have very limited availability in the US, and I haven't even seen many reviews.
posted by caek at 8:15 PM on December 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

>>Make sure you test drive it on the terrain you’ll be driving on
This is a good point. I definitely intend to take it on mountain forest roads. I don't know how I'll get a test drive on that.

Just want something, blue, burgundy.
posted by falsedmitri at 8:49 PM on December 20, 2018

For more info on each redesign, check out the Wikipedia entry. This details each generation of vehicle and which came out when, and which models were available.
posted by hydra77 at 8:54 PM on December 20, 2018

1.) They refresh slightly. It's a very successful model (in Colorado)
3.) Almost did, but since we haul kids and a trailer, we opted for the bigger Outback
4.) There are only two flavors of flat 4 cylinder out there.
5.) They are well liked in Colorado for people with a short commute who also go skiing / camping a great deal
6.) The hybrid really doesn't improve the milage enough to be worth the premium in my opinion.

In terms of product years, the biggest improvement in my opinion to Subarus has been their EyeSight lane and collision vision / auto braking system. Not as smart as a Tesla, but still always watching out for you.
posted by nickggully at 9:09 PM on December 20, 2018

1. As previously stated, they did the refresh for the 2018 models.
3. I own a 2018 Crosstrek. I'm reasonably happy with it (I don't think I would be necessarily happier with any other car, though; I just miss my old car).

The Crosstrek is capable. In the 7 months I've had it, I've never been in a situation where I felt unsafe or like it couldn't handle something (though I don't off-road). On really rainy days, I can drive pretty much normally and have no issues; coworkers come in and complain about hydroplaning. Rear cargo space is less than I was used to (station wagon), but perfectly adequate.

EyeSight is pretty great. I love the blindspot detection (I love that it's just a bar of light, because I can see it even with my terrible peripheral vision). The rear backup alerting is neat (if someone is near you when in reverse, you get warning lights and noises to stop moving until they are not nearby). Sometimes I think my car is a better driver than me (though I don't do the cruise control- my commute's not really ideal for that).

If I could change three things, it would be add a few more HP (it is just slightly slower than my old car and sometimes I miss the zip), overhead rear cargo space lighting, and tougher paint or clear coat or something (the chips! oh the chips!).

One other thing to note: unless you get the Limited trim level, there's no real cup holders in the rear. This doesn't bother me, because I don't trust the people most likely to be rear passengers in my car to have drinks in my car, but you may not like this.

Probably the ultimate question: if mine was totaled tomorrow, would I get another one? Yes. Yes, I would. And probably in the same color and trim combination.

Also, the Crosstrek red is more of a cranberry than a burgundy but it's still great (definitely biased here; mine is red).
posted by smangosbubbles at 11:15 PM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Get the keyless system. Subaru keys are otherwise huge and annoying. Get the eyesight safety system. We found the Forester to be a handier size for us, in terms of trunk space, but the CrossTrek is good.
posted by w0mbat at 4:42 AM on December 21, 2018

I like my recent non-crosstrek Subaru a lot, only mild regret is not springing for the EyeSight package, it’s nice and can actually help prevent collisions, unlike most other upgrades.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:55 AM on December 21, 2018

People seem to love these things. I know several people who have one and they all really like them. They're very popular too—I think they offer a lot of bang for the buck if you're someone who wants a car that is functional and a bit rugged but not totally ridiculous. They're more fun-looking than alternatives like a CR-V or RAV4.

I can't speak to the value of the 6-cylinder, but the one thing I've never heard anyone say about a Crosstrek is that they are fun to drive. The 6-cyl will give it a little more pep, but enough to actually be worth the expense? Enough to justify the ecological impact of reduced fuel economy? I dunno. They're just not sports cars, despite coming in orange. Get an Impreza if you want something fun, that's just a Crosstrek with a couple inches less ground clearance and none of that black plastic cladding along the bottom.

I rarely see the hybrid ones. I don't think they sold very well. If I recall correctly, the fuel savings vs. the added cost and complexity never really added up to a good deal financially.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:06 AM on December 21, 2018

If you go on mountain roads in winter, you will never be sorry if you get an Outback. I’ve had some nice cars and resisted getting a Subie but now that I have experienced the fearlessness that comes with a car that can handle almost anything, I’ll never stray. Also, get the Eyesight.
posted by HotToddy at 6:05 AM on December 21, 2018

EyeSight lane and collision vision / auto braking system.

Definitely agree with shelling out for the safety features. We have an Impreza and I can't believe how good these features are compared to many of the others I've had the opportunity to try (mostly Toyota and GM rental cars). It's intuitive, the displays and indicators are designed very well, and (critically important in my opinion) it does an excellent job of telling you when it is and is not working.

Also get the winter package if you deal with snow or ice at all. Heated side mirrors sound like a gimmick until you're on a long snowy drive and you can just push a button to melt the accumulated ice off the mirrors. I consider it a definite safety improvement in those conditions (and the heated seats are a nice bonus).
posted by backseatpilot at 7:08 AM on December 21, 2018

Our older Crosstrek is great for winter with our house on a steep hill. I prefer manual transmissions and have a 5 speed. It’s a family vehicle that easily handled the drive up Pikes Peak. Routine maintenance is simple enough that DIY is a healthy option. The Bluetooth pairing as a second owner was wonky, but replacing the battery got it back to consistently connecting, which might be worth knowing if you go with an older model. We’ve put 70,000 miles on ours with routine maintenance, YMMV.
posted by childofTethys at 7:19 AM on December 21, 2018

I drive a 2016 Crosstrek, having switched to it from my beloved 2001 Forester. Gotta tell you, I don't love it. It's fine, there's nothing I can specifically point to and say 'this is a problem'. But there's nothing the least bit fun about it either. It's a boring drive, no zip at all - if anything, it's a little sluggish. The design of the front doors means I often bonk my head a little bit on the car getting in. And I find the seat a bit uncomfortable for a long drive - nothing that will cripple me or anything, but I'm definitely relieved to get and stretch after an hour or two. And the all-wheel drive means that when I next have to deal with the tires I'll have to replace all four at the same time, which ain't cheap.

On the other hand, the thing is reliable as all get out - apart from the usual tune-ups, it hasn't been to the shop at all. And the mileage is pretty good, particularly since I'm mostly using it for city driving in extremely hot weather with the AC blasting. So I'm planning to keep it for the foreseeable future. It's just a little 'meh', you know? Honestly, if I were going in to the dealer today, having driven a Crosstrek for a few years, I'd get a Forester again.
posted by DSime at 8:20 AM on December 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Make sure you test out the phone connectivity on the car for navigation, etc. I had a loaner 2018 outback this year, and trying to connect my phone navigation was pretty miserable: my phone would just not stay connected. Even with Apple Play. Subaru forums confirmed this.
posted by homodachi at 8:42 AM on December 21, 2018

I have a manual transmission 2017 Crosstrek that I regularly take to the mountains. Re-iterating some points above...
I love it, I've also never been in a situation where I didn't feel safe. It handles wet conditions / rugged terrain beautifully. Many of my friends / colleagues also own Crosstreks and love them. It is a very beloved car where I live.

Things I wish I knew / did differently:
- It is indeed sluggish (that's the exact phrasing I've been using to describe it to friends). This isn't noticeable on my commute / getting around town, but I'm staying in the right lane for the steeper pitches driving in the mountains. Not sure if the manual transmission has different power from the automatic version, but I'm definitely flooring it sometimes trying to keep with the flow of traffic.
- Eyesight! I so wish I had sprung for this. I drove my friend's Outback who had this feature and it is fan-freaking-tastic. The car-distance sensing feature is so amazing. It made dealing with traffic so much less of a chore, and I can imagine this would be a huge plus if you sit in traffic for your commute.
- The thing about the paint chipping easily is true. I've had to do a lot of touch ups in the two years i've owned this car.
- I do wish the trunk space was a little more generous. My roommate's Honda Fit has better cargo capacity.

All this being said, I truly love my car and it fits my current lifestyle perfectly (as a person with no family, who likes to go outside on the weekends, but also needs to park in the city regularly). Subarus have a good reputation for a reason.
An extra bonus - if you're ~5'5" or shorter, you can comfortably sleep in the back with seats folded down.
posted by blueberrypuffin at 8:46 AM on December 21, 2018

One point: the 6-cylinder Subaru engines have a better reliability reputation than the 4-cylinder. Also, if you look at—compare—the big maintenance intervals between the two you will see that the intervals for the H6 are about half as frequent as the H4s. My daughter has a 2008 Outback 3.0R and has about 130k miles on it now. It has gone through a set of half-shafts and recently, a steering rack but the engine is tight as ever.
posted by bz at 9:56 AM on December 21, 2018

I've briefly driven a Crosstrek but don't own one, I found it nice enough to drive but underpowered, and the automatic seems to have unusual programming. If you're used to driving 6 cyl or turbo cars you may also find it sluggish. However— the hybrid might fix this issue.

I've also seen them in the wild with what appear to be slightly oversize all-terrain tires which would benefit clearance and traction on forest roads, at the expense of acceleration and gas mileage in regular driving.
posted by a halcyon day at 11:57 AM on December 21, 2018

You will get 4 miles per gallon better gas mileage with the CVT automatic transmission. That's 13% better, which is pretty substantial.
posted by JackFlash at 12:14 PM on December 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have had Subaru's for 30+ years and now drive a 2016 Crosstrek with 38000 miles on it. Subarus are pretty much an acquired taste. Once you get used to them and know what to expect it is difficult to think of owning something else if you live in a place with difficult winter weather.

The only downsides that haven't been mentioned here is a tendency for the brakes to wear out early. I had both front and rear pads and rotors replaced under the 36000 mile warranty. Underpowered is not a problem. I can cruise comfortably at 80 in freeway driving and pass others quickly if I need to. Wish they were more compatible with Apple products.
posted by Xurando at 4:11 PM on December 21, 2018

Thanks for all the input, especially on the EyeSight.
One option is:
Auto-Dimming Mirror with Compass and HomeLink® (2019-$365)
Yay or nay?
posted by falsedmitri at 5:30 PM on December 21, 2018

I can certainly tell you that my old 2003 Outback, with bog-standard tires on it, is perfectly capable of hauling itself uphill through soft sand and has done so many times. I've parked that thing in feet of fresh snow and not gotten stuck, just had to rock it back and forth a bit to pack things down and away it went. For something that is just a normal-ass car it handles poor road conditions extremely well. You still have to watch out when you're driving in the snow of course, it's not magical, but Subaru's AWD systems really live up to their reputation.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:33 PM on December 21, 2018

I would pay $365 for auto-dimming side mirrors if I had the budget; having someone in the next lane over on the highway with super bright lights who's just holding steady over your left shoulder at night is unpleasant as heck. If they're just talking about the rearview mirror, no. Just flip a little tab when you're driving at night, works fine. My Outback came with an auto-dimming mirror and when I bought the car (which was several years old at the time) the liquid crystal in there had dried out such that it not only didn't dim as designed, but was also permanently blurry. I eventually replaced it with a standard, manual rearview mirror.

A compass is pointless, we all have GPS now. HomeLink just means you don't have to have a garage door opener clipped to your sun visor, which is not something I've ever considered a hardship and I've no idea why I would pay extra to have it be a built-in button instead.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:37 PM on December 21, 2018

Any serious Subaru shopper should know about this site: Cars 101 - Crosstek page. All sorts of detail about every Subaru model year etc.
posted by snoboy at 10:44 PM on December 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you can wait, The Prius is coming out with AWD
posted by lalochezia at 8:34 AM on December 22, 2018

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