– With the Crosstrek status as Subaru’s best-selling model in Canada, accounting for just over a third of all its sales last year, it’s perhaps not surprising that the company has taken a decidedly conservative approach to its 2024 redesign arriving in dealerships across the country now. This third-generation Crosstrek offers the same basic dimensions as the outgoing one, with the same engine choices – minus the limited production Crosstrek PHEV version.
And yet Subaru Canada has to draw a finer line in the sand with this latest Crosstrek, which continues to be a more off-road-ready version of the compact Impreza hatchback. Many of its subcompact crossover rivals (think Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, or Mazda CX-30) offer an off-road package, but in the Crosstrek, that ability is part of its DNA. Later this year, Subaru will also offer its Wilderness package on the Crosstrek, which will make it even more capable.
New exterior, new interior
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek certainly looks different, with all-new wheel designs for each of the four trims, with even the base Convenience model (which starts at $28,995) receiving black 17-inch rims. The new Onyx trim ($33,995) that slots between the Touring ($32,195) and the top Limited model (MSRP of $36,995) is the most unique, with colourful mustard yellow foglight housings, yellow seat trim, and stitching accents to match. The Sport and Outdoor trims are no more, as is the manual transmission option, with all models now automatic CVT only.
On our drive, we sampled the Limited for half the day, where we encountered a slow-moving mountain goat just outside Kelowna right in the middle of the road. It wasn’t white like the ones sometimes seen in the Subaru ads, apparently named Gus, but was happily munching on some nearby grass at the side of the road.
We then switched into the Onyx for the afternoon, and frankly didn’t note many additional features in the top trim outside the leather seats. The yellow-dabbed interior of the Onyx was much more fun and playful than the monotone black leather interior of the Limited, though some folks were not fans of the Onyx’s yellow fog light surrounds.
All ’24 Crosstrek models have new black cladding that incorporates subtle aero outlets on their trailing edge, which reduces wind buffeting at speed according to Subaru. The Onyx also has a black surround panel in between the rear lights, giving it a Nissan Leaf-like rear appearance, in contrast to the usual body colour panel on other trims.
Crosstrek is now pricier
The Crosstrek’s $29k base MSRP is higher than last year’s base price of just under $25,000 in Canada. Why? Much of that is because the Crosstrek no longer offers a manual transmission, which was one of the few vehicles that offered the stick with standard all-wheel drive. But the ’24 Crosstrek’s $28,995 base price is still $1,800 higher than the last base automatic CVT model due to the addition of a host of standard equipment.
This includes advanced LED headlights with steering response, auto high beams, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, a windshield wiper de-icer, dual seven-inch screens replacing a single 8-inch screen, and SiriusXM now standard on all trims.
As with most Subarus, AWD is standard, compared to many rivals where it’s an optional extra. Keep in mind too that even though the Crosstrek name is officially global now, with no more XV anywhere, there are still some key differences between Canadian and American Crosstreks.
Canadian versions all come from Subaru’s plant in Gunma, Japan, whereas the U.S. Crosstreks are built at Subaru’s Indiana plant. Our Onyx model is called the Sport south of the border, and its mustard yellow accents are in the grille versus the foglight surrounds.
But once the Wilderness arrives later this year, it will come from the Indiana plant, since Wilderness models are only offered in North America, for now. So a Crosstrek that doesn’t cross oceans to arrive should be less expensive, right? Well, likely not. Subaru Canada said official pricing has not yet been set, but will likely fall close to the Limited trim models.
New safety and interior tech, familiar driving feel
On the road, driving the Crosstrek feels very familiar. There’s the same base 2.0-litre four that produces 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque, with the upmarket Onyx and Limited models we drove getting a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that nudges the power up to 182 hp and 178 lb.-ft. of torque. Both of these engines are traditional (for Subaru) flat four engines, meaning the cylinders run side to side instead of up and down.
Paddles behind the steering wheel on Onyx and up allow for a bit of sporty character, though no one will confuse this for a sports car. And even though the Crosstrek is offered in other markets with a hybrid powertrain option, neither that nor the plug-in hybrid option will be offered anymore.
Subaru’s standard all-wheel system in the Crosstrek defaults to 60 per cent power to the front and 40 to the rear, then shifts back and forth as needed, versus an equal split previously. That slight difference wasn’t noticeable on either the winding mountain roads we encountered on our route, or the city and highway portions that will make up the vast majority of a typical Crosstrek’s life.
But the company did set us loose on a couple forested off-road paths to demonstrate that the AWD system could indeed tackle some dirt roads. Its 220 millimetres of ground clearance and lower cladding helping protect its underbody over the rough stuff, though some may argue against Subaru’s labelling of the Crosstrek as a “compact SUV,” versus a lifted hatchback.
There’s plenty of room in the Crosstrek’s cargo area but there’s no power tailgate option. Most buyers will be more impressed, however, with the upgrades inside, and especially the larger 11.6-inch touchscreen that’s standard on all but the base Crosstrek. It will bring with it wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though navigation will only be offered on top models, and after three months, you’ll have to subscribe to the SiriusXM service to be able to use the GPS directions from your car instead of your phone.
Wireless phone charging is also available on Onyx and up models, with both USB-A and newer USB-C options up front and for rear passengers. And perhaps most impressively, Subaru says over-the-air updates will also be coming, without specifying when, what type or how often.
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek is a solid value if an unambitious redesign. Especially since the company acknowledges that electric options are starting to arrive in this segment, and are helping drive its growth, all while Subaru itself dropped its own higher-tech PHEV option.
Subaru believes this more conservative (drivetrain) path for the Crosstrek in Canada combined with its notable styling and interior upgrades will make its most popular vehicle even more so, predicting Crosstrek sales to increase by over 10 per cent this year. But we are disappointed to see both the manual transmission and the PHEV are no longer available.
2024 Subaru Crosstrek Onyx and Limited
Compact five-seat hatchback
Front-engine, full-time all-wheel-drive, continuously variable automatic transmission
2.5-litre, boxer four-cylinder engine (182 hp, 178 lb-ft)
8.9/7.2 L/100 km (
564 litres (19.9 cu-ft); Seats down: 1,549 litres (54.7 cu-ft)
680 kg (1,500 lb.)
33,995 (Onyx)/ $36,995 (Limited MSRP, not including $1,995 freight, taxes and fees)