Reliability, when it comes to cars, has at least two meanings. One meaning involves a model’s likelihood to suffer mechanical maladies over time. The other involves how well it does its prescribed job.
Subaru has made its bones by being very good at the latter.
Yes, sure, the company isn’t completely boring – the WRX and BRZ exist, after all. But generally speaking, if you’re shopping a Subaru, you’re looking at a small crossover or wagon that will be safe and offer utility.
Speed, handling, luxurious creature comforts – those are nice but safety, ease of use, cargo friendliness, and the ability to do some very light off-roading take priority here.
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium fits that bill.
As I’ve often said in these reviews, those of us who are self-described car enthusiasts sometimes forget that while we might place a premium on acceleration or ride and handling, most car buyers don’t. Obviously there are plenty of vehicles that also don’t prioritize those things.
Once you get your Andretti fantasies out of your head and evaluate these vehicles based on how well they do what they’re meant to do, you gain clarity. And this Subie generally does what its meant to do and does it well.
Sure, it’s pokey. Don’t expect a lot of thrust from its 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder (152 horsepower, 145 lb-ft of torque). Don’t be shocked when you see that the handling is competent but not grin-generating, even though the 2024 model gets the WRX’s dual-pinion electric power-steering rack.
You should, at least, be happy that the continuously-variable automatic transmission mostly fades into the background. It does have an eight-speed manual mode and shift paddles.
Ride-wise, you get a mixed bag – the car is a bit stiffly sprung but it’s generally comfortable enough for trundling around town. Subaru did stiffen the chassis 10 percent for this year in a bid to improve ride quality and handling.
Other news for 2024 includes the availability of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assist system is now standard. So, too, is the CVT.
The 11.6-inch StarLink multimedia/infotainment system is now available, and models with blind-spot detection, lane-keep assist, and rear cross-traffic alert add automatic emergency steering.
This all comes in a package sporting new duds, including a frameless hexagonal grille. Oh, and the price is right – with options, my test vehicle cost a tick under $30K. Not bad in a time where average transaction prices are in the mid-40s.
Standard features included all-wheel drive (it is a Subie, after all), torque vectoring, dual-zone climate control, rear-view camera, hill-start assist, Bluetooth, engine performance management system, hill descent control, LED headlights that follow steering, LED fog lamps, 17-inch wheels, roof rails, and USB-A and USB-C ports. The starting price was $26,145.
Options included spot detection, lane-keep assist, and rear cross-traffic alert; a power moonroof; and an all-weather package.
The cabin puts function over form and the large infotainment screen is appreciated – and well-integrated. You won’t be overwhelmed with buttons here – but the most important buttons and knobs remain. It’s a nice enough place to hang out, though a little too much noise permeates the interior at highway speeds.
It’s easy to daydream about blitzing backroads in muscular Mustangs – but a lot of car buyers just want something easy to live with at an affordable price. Oh, and with decent fuel economy, if possible (27/34/29 here). It sounds insulting to say something is basic transport, but it really isn’t.
Sometimes you just need a car that can swallow cargo and save you money on gas – one that’s also decently equipped and considered safe. There’s a reason Subarus are so popular.
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium offers that and while it’s not particularly fun to drive, it’s not going to punish you, either.
Sometimes, you just want something that’s easy to live with.
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