The common thought is that once you move from “fun” to family-first vehicles, you have you give up any thought or hope of enjoying driving again. Beyond that, despite their relative versatility, crossovers are also not always the associated with being overwhelmingly enjoyable. But for 2024 Subaru brings us the Crosstrek, and with it, maybe a little fun too.
With a geometry class’ worth of shapes and angles, the Subaru Crosstrek looks as if it could be the lovechild of the Ascent and the Outback. It isn’t quite a full-sized SUV, but it isn’t a big station wagon either. The Subaru Crosstrek, when outfitted in the right color like Horizon Blue Pearl or Pure Red (technically those are 2023 colors, so whatever Subbie decides to call them for 2024), gives it just enough pizzaz to feel unburdened by the fact that most of its trips won’t be to unload bicycles at the beach for the start of a triathlon, but more likely to the local Walmart to pick up paper towels and dog food.
Power for the Base and Premium trims, which are the two lower options for the Crosstrek come by way of Subaru’s corporate 2.0-liter DOHC Boxer flat-4 cylinder engine, which unlike the exhilarating WRX, does not come with a turbocharger in this iteration. The natural aspiration combined with their continued use of a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) provides a very lackluster attempt at satisfying any true need for speed and is the one true moment the Subaru Crosstrek feels like it is a sacrifice to someone that just traded in their BRZ or STI. Having to move about 3,400 pounds, while making only 152-horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque translates to a 0-60 mph time of 9.2 seconds, and a quarter mile time of 17.3 seconds at 84 mph.
The good news is that the upper tier trims do get the company’s larger 2.5-liter engine, which bumps power up by an additional 30-horsepower and seems more than worth the three grand surcharge. But, unlike some Subarus that have been burdened with this underwhelming engine/transmission combination in the past, the new Crosstrek doesn’t feel or sound like it is straining and struggling all the time. And if we’re being serious, no one is buying the Subaru Crosstrek to drag race. The standard all-wheel drive setup, plus a full 8.7-inches of ground clearance make it a capable companion in any weather condition. Beyond that, the ride itself has improved greatly over its predecessors thanks to a stiffer chassis for 2024, as well as better bolstered seats, making for a smooth commute to the mountains, or back to Walmart because you forgot to pick up eggs in that last run.
Inside, the interior is roomy and adaptable. The rear hatch has a large opening and low deck height, while the rear seats fold down with ease, offering up to 55 cubic-feet of cargo space. Storage and cupholders are hidden about the cabin in sneaky-smart places, while the big infotainment screen sits front and center, finally offering up wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility. The Crosstrek feels like a perfect candidate for a push-button transmission setup, or even a move to a column-shifter, as the gear-shift feels like it dominates a bit too much center-console real estate. But there is room for an optional phone charging pad and requisite cupholders nonetheless.
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek is an incredibly multifaceted crossover SUV that looks and feels more fun when the road becomes a little messy. On-road, it won’t impress with much more than a calm and relatively quiet drive, but if you do want to take a detour off the usual way home to stop and have a picnic with the kids (or just the dog), then you will truly begin to appreciate what the Crosstrek is all about. Plus, with a base price of just $26,290, there will be plenty of left over money in the family budget to go camping, white-water rafting, or snowboarding… and it will be because of the Crosstrek that you were able to add, and not give up, all that fun.