Subaru's go-anywhere, workhorse crossover utility vehicle sports a new engine, refreshed design and updated safety technology for 2021. The new Crosstrek also comes in a new Outdoor model that stands out with unique paint, a more powerful engine and enhanced off road capabilities.

Since its introduction in 2013 the Crosstrek has been a popular choice for those who need a practical small wagon with good ground clearance, and of course Subaru's famous all-wheel drive. Based on a reinforced Impreza platform, the 2021 Crosstrek boasts 220mm of clearance and standard symmetrical all-wheel drive.

It has a refreshed look this year, with a new grille, more prominent wheel arches and sleeker lines. Eight trims are on offer, from the base Convenience model that starts at $23,795 and topping out with the Limited that starts at $34,495.

The base engine is a direct injected, 2.0-litre Boxer 4-cylinder that makes 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. Adding to its versatility, this year's Crosstrek offers choices of transmission, with either the standard-issue CVT or six-speed manual which is available on the base Convenience model, the Touring model or the Sport model.

Standard equipment includes a 6.5-inch infotainment system with touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB port, auxiliary audio input and steering wheel controls with Bluetooth input for handsfree.

All of the CVT-equipped cars come with Subaru's EyeSight safety suite, which includes features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warning, lane-keep assist, lead vehicle start alert and more, as standard equipment. The latest generation of EyeSight introduces Lane Centering Assist – a new function integrated into the crossover’s adaptive cruise control system. While drivers must maintain control of the vehicle at all times and keep their hands on the steering wheel, this new function uses the EyeSight system's stereoscopic cameras to recognize lane markings and the vehicle in front to stay centered within the lane of travel.

Other safety features include automatic high beams, reverse automatic braking, standard rearview camera, and steering responsive headlights. Crosstrek 2020 models with front crash protection received the Top Safety Pick rating from the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), meaning they score good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests; receive advanced or superior ratings for available front crash prevention – vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations, and have either acceptable or good headlights available.

Joining the lineup for the first time in 2021 is the Crosstrek Outdoor. It sports a new 2.5-litre direct-injection Subaru Boxer (horizontally opposed) engine that makes 182 horsepower and 176 lb.-ft. of torque. It's available with a six-speed manual or the continuously variable transmission (CVT). This new engine will also be available on the Limited model, but only with the CVT.

Also new is dual-function X-MODE on the CVT model, which allows the driver to dial in different road conditions from Snow and Mud to Deep Snow and Deep Mud. X-MODE changes four areas: the engine, transmission map, torque distribution and brakes to make the vehicle more capable in off-road conditions.

The Outdoor model will have Subaru’s core safety systems, including Starlink Connected Services, Rear/Side Vehicle Detection (SRVD) and a new front-view camera which provides a near 180 degree view in front of the vehicle for safely entering blind intersections or when parking.

The Outdoor looks distinct with a new front grille accent, exterior mirror caps, Outdoor badging, fog light cover accents and a shark fin antenna – all with gunmetal colouring. New and prominent side cladding is unique to the Outdoor, along with dark grey painted 17-inch wheels, and an optional exclusive Plasma Yellow Pearl exterior colour. On the inside, the Outdoor has yellow and gunmetal trim accents, yellow stitching and all-weather soft-touch seating surfaces.

For fleet users the Crosstrek offers the utility of a small wagon with the ability to get to remote locations. If you don't need the carrying capacity of a big utility vehicle or pickup, but do require the capability to handle Canadian winter conditions or rough roads any time of year, this is a versatile package. Drivers won't get stressed out about managing a big vehicle in urban settings, can park anywhere and will also have the confidence to drive in all conditions.

The Crosstrek is backed by Subaru's comprehensive warranty program that includes 36-month/60,000 kilometres on major and basic components, 60 months/100,000 km on major components, surface corrosion for 36 months/60,000 km and unlimited-kilometres perforation coverage, and more.

The company has 94 dealers across the country to facilitate sales and service. The new Crosstrek arrives in Canadian showrooms this August.

2021 Crosstrek Specifications

Price: MSRP $23,795 to $34,495

Engine: 2.0-litre 4 cylinder Boxer or 2.5-litre 4-cylinder Boxer

Drive: CVT or 6 speed manual

Capacity: 5 passengers, 588 litres behind seats, 1,565 litres with rear seats folded

Fuel economy: 10.5/8.1 (City/Hwy) (L/100km) manual transmission

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