Combining off-road agility with luxury details and features, the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek carries forward the second generation model introduced in 2018. More Crosstrek features have been moved to the standard list for each trim level and the 2019 model continues with the ever-increasing variety of infotainment and EyeSight active safety features. Test drives tend to produce happy reviewers except in the performance department, where the Crosstrek remains average but acceptable. There's no hybrid model available at the start of the model year, but Subaru is suggesting it's not too far off.
What's new in the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek?
One year after the second generation Crosstrek was introduced in 2018, there aren't really any major changes in this model. Some realignment of standard features with trim packages has taken place and there are plenty of ways to navigate the new second generation features to mix and match standard transmission or CVT, moonroof choices, infotainment options and external styling features.
What are the powertrain features and options?
The Crosstrek keeps it pretty simple with a 2.0-liter flat-four which is rated 152 hp, 145 lb-ft of torque. Lower trim levels get a 6-speed manual transmission, but buyers will probably choose a continuously variable transmission option which comes with paddle shifters. AWD is standard on all models and versions with CVT also get Hill-Descent Control and X Mode which helps with low-traction situations. Subaru has been preparing a plug-in hybrid Crosstrek which should help with performance as well as emissions.
What is the range of infotainment electronics, including navigation and high-end audio options?
The base Crosstrek 2.0i comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system which provides Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity along with basic internet radio services such as Pandora. At Premium level, CD and satellite sources are included along with more internet streaming options. At Limited level, the STARLINK display is 8.0 inches, Harman Kardon premium audio is available, and the unit can accommodate a TomTom navigation option.
What EyeSight and other active safety features are available?
EyeSight, so named because it uses stereo camera image processing instead of radar or LIDAR, is optional on every level except Premium, where it is part of the standard configuration. It is paired with the CVT drivetrain only, providing lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and pre-collision braking. The Limited model has automatic high beams and automatic reverse braking. An option on Premium and standard on Limited, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert completes the extensive Crosstrek active safety feature choices.
How's the interior? Is there still plenty of cargo room this year?
The 20.8 cubic feet of cargo space available with all seats occupied, 55.3 with rear seats lowered is not only the same as last year's numbers but also identical to the Impreza's stats. This is about middle of the class for competitive crossover models. The Limited interior is available in gray leather, the Premium in gray cloth. Other trims can get two-tone upholstery with contrast stitching as an option.
Does the Crosstrek provide off-road advantages over the Impreza?
The higher clearance (about 8.7 inches), fender protection and preinstalled roof rails are ready for offroad activities on the Crosstrek. While the Crosstrek isn't outfitted with all that's needed to head down the trail, it does have a couple of features which leave the Impreza doing AWD as an all-weather street vehicle and Crosstrek taking on more significant challenges. The X-Mode, which helps control wheel slippage can help to get you out of tough situations or scale muddy hills. Hill Descent Control makes descending slippery surfaces a bit easier.
Is there a hybrid version of the Crosstrek in the works?
After a false start in 2014, Subaru is ready to re-launch the Crosstrek Hybrid in 2019, sources say. It is Subaru's first PHEV, all-electric for local use and chargeable at both Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations. Observers say the hybrid should add a bit of power for mountain driving, an area in which the gas Crosstrek drew complaints. Initial availability in 2019 will be in states with zero-emissions standards such as California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.