The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek replaces the outgoing Subaru XV - and it’s one of the cheapest All-wheel drive family wagons you can get! Today we’ll thoroughly review everything included in the top-spec 2.0S petrol version of the Subaru Crosstrek, the new styling, interior changes, and driving performance, and finally end on - is it worth your hard-earned cash?
How much does the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek cost?
The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek comes in the following grades:
Subaru Crosstrek 2.0L - $34,990*
Subaru Crosstrek 2.0R - $38,490*
Subaru Crosstrek L Hybrid - $38,590*
Subaru Crosstrek 2.0S (Tested) - $41,490*
Subaru Crosstrek S Hybrid - $45,090*
*All prices exclude on-road costs
The above pricing marks a $2000-3000 premium over last year’s Subaru XV, and with similar competitors having more substantial price rises, this means the Crosstrek is quite competitively priced, considering the fact that it is an all-wheel-drive wagon.
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What do we think of the exterior looks of the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek?
The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek’s exterior design shares many aspects with the previous XV, and at first glance, it would be easy to mistake them, despite this new model being built on an entirely different platform. That is because the XV is actually called the Crosstrek in many overseas markets and Subaru has finally decided to standardise the name of their smallest crossover.
Being a small crossover, you get something that is between a hatchback and a mid-sized SUV, with some slightly sportier styling. Our test car came in ‘Sun Blaze Pearl’ which matches the rugged ‘off-road’ styling cues, such as the black plastic bumpers that have an interesting texture to them. Subaru claims that the texture helps with aerodynamics so there you go.
You get LED headlight units, connected by a silver piece that runs across the large grille, a couple of fog lights, and not much else on the front.
On the side you’ll find 18-inch alloys and - being the top-spec - they have a nice two-tone design as well. Above them the texturised black plastic continues, with some functional aero built into them.
A noteworthy addition to the side of the Subaru Crosstrek is, for the first time ever, a 360-degree camera on a Subaru! The side and front cameras are high quality, but the reversing camera is fisheye and makes it difficult to intuit distance.
Some more features on the side of the top-spec Crosstrek 2.0S are keyless entry, privacy glass, and some roof rails.
The rear of the Crosstrek continues the tradition of texturized black plastic, with an aggressive-looking diffuser and a cool new look for the tail lights. While the lights themselves are LED, the turning signals are incandescent bulbs which is disappointing at this price point. You also get the new ‘Crosstrek’ badge, as well as the ‘Symmetric AWD’ badge which this car is not, more on that in the driving section.
What’s the interior and connectivity like of the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek?
New name, new updated interior for the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek. The car features an 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system as a standard across the range. This infotainment system is equipped with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and our model, the 2.0S or Hybrid S comes with integrated satellite navigation.
Climate controls are also located permanently on the bottom of the display, with physical temperature buttons.
The standard audio system includes six speakers in the 2.0L and 2.0R models, but you can opt for the 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system in the S grades, and the upgrade is worth it if you like your bass - that subwoofer is beefy!
Inside the car, you'll find a mix of soft-touch materials on one side of the dashboard and scratchier materials on the other. There are also leatherette or real leather materials used in the interior of our S grade, along with some fake carbon fiber wrap that adds a ‘sporty’ touch to the car.
The shifter is housed with ‘liquid’ carbon fiber, and storage is ample with a decently-sized glove box and practical door bins. The top-spec model also includes a wireless charger.
The driver and passenger seats are comfortable, with the 2.0R model featuring a ‘premium cloth trim’ with electric driver’s seat adjustment and heating. The S models have soft leather seats with adjustable lumbar support.
The steering wheel is classic Subaru, made of hard-grained leather, with multi-function controls laid out well. There are analogue gauges in front of the driver, with a small colour digital display including various information and a digital speed read out.
Additionally, the Crosstrek comes with sports pedals in the R and S grades, a small sunroof, and USB C and USB A ports. There is also an auxiliary input for audio, which is pretty old-school.
Everything feels well put together and substantial, and people that have previously owned other Subaru models will immediately feel at home inside the cabin of the new Subaru Crosstrek.
What about the Back seats of the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek?
Being a small crossover - the back seats are not the strongest suit of the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek, and this is where it is eclipsed by the mid-sized SUV competition.
That being said, we found leg room, toe room, and headroom to be adequate, but it is the amenities that are lacking. You get a USB-C port and USB-A port but no air vents, a bit of a miss, and quality seems to have taken a dive compared to the front, with scratchy plastic found in more areas.
The seats on the S models are nice and soft leather, they have plenty of thigh support and have a fold-down armrest with a couple of cupholders.
How much can the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek fit in the boot?
If you opt for a small crossover, then the area you pay for it the most is in practicality, in particular boot space - lets talk about it.
Firstly, the Subaru Crosstrek has one of the smallest boots in its class at just shy of 300L with the rear seats up. Thankfully you can fold the second row completely flat and it expands to a decent 1278L (measured to the ceiling).
The petrol variants also get a space-saver spare wheel under the boot floor, while hybrid models get slightly more boot space.
What’s under the bonnet of the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek?
The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek petrol variants are equipped with a 2.0-litre Boxer engine that generates 115kW of power, and 196Nm of torque, which has apparently undergone ‘enhancement’ for this new generation.
Hybrid models are available and come with a 2.0-litre e-Boxer Hybrid engine, combining a 12.3kW + 66Nm electric motor with a slightly detuned version of the standard Boxer engine, which produces 110kW/196Nm. The electric motor is powered by a small lithium-ion battery.
Fuel economy on the standard petrol variants is claimed at 7.2L/100km, while the e-Boxer Hybrid manages to bring down the claimed fuel consumption to 6.5L/100km.
How does the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek drive?
Driving the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek gave us a mix of feelings about its performance and driving dynamics. One major point of contention is the vehicle's power and engine setup. The 2.0L 4-cylinder naturally aspirated boxer engine, with its output of 115 kW of power and 196 Nm of torque, left us a bit uninspired.
The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is another area where the Crosstrek didn’t shine. I found that the CVT doesn’t pair well with the engine’s lack of power, making the car feel like it's working extra hard, especially during uphill drives, and producing lots of noise.
When it comes to the all-wheel-drive system, Subaru has changed from a 50:50 symmetric all-wheel drive to a 60:40 front-rear torque split asymmetric all-wheel drive system. While this new system gives the car a bit of a front-wheel-drive feel, I can appreciate the effort to make the Crosstrek more versatile.
In fact, the Crosstrek is a fairly capable off-roader, with a 220mm ground clearance enabling it to take the beaten path, as we demonstrated briefly in our video review.
In terms of performance and handling, the Crosstrek has received a new electric power-steering rack from the WRX, meaning steering feels light and precise. The vehicle handles urban roads with ease and offers improved ride comfort compared to its predecessor. This improvement is particularly noticeable on the back roads, where the new steering rack helps navigate sharper corners. The suspension is a little harsh at the rear at times, and engaging the Sport setting on the SI-Drive button adds a slightly heavier weight to the steering, providing a more engaging driving experience, with a slight hit to comfort.
Safety and convenience have been a focus of the Crosstrek's design, with features like adaptive cruise control and lane-centering functionality. Improved noise insulation compared to the previous XV ensures a more comfortable and relaxing ride. This is in contrast to that CVT drove, but no amount of Noise, Vibration and Harshness testing can erase that…
We also tested the 0-100km/h launch and clocked it at 10.34 seconds, which is what you’d expect from a pretty underpowered family wagon.
Is the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Safe?
The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek has not yet undergone testing by ANCAP, and as such, it currently holds no safety rating. However, given that all Subaru vehicles currently boast five-star ANCAP and Euro NCAP safety ratings, it is reasonable to anticipate that the new Crosstrek will similarly receive a high safety rating soon.
For the 2023 model, the Subaru Crosstrek comes equipped with a comprehensive range of safety features, including:
A total of 9 airbags, consisting of dual front, dual front side, dual curtain, driver's knee, far side, and front passenger seat cushion airbags.
The EyeSight Driver Assist system includes the following features:
Front Pre-Collision Braking (AEB)
Pre-Collision Braking System (AEB)
Autonomous emergency steering
Adaptive cruise control
Lane departure prevention
Lane centering assist
Lane keep assist
Lane departure warning
Lane Sway Warning
Lead Vehicle Start Alert
Intelligent speed limiter
Speed sign recognition
Brake light recognition
Pre-Collision Throttle Management
Wide-angle monocular camera
The Subaru Vision Assist system adds:
Rear cross-traffic alert
Reverse Automatic Braking (AEB)
Lane change assist
Front side radar
Rear parking sensors
EyeSight Assist Monitor
The Driver Monitoring System – Driver Focus offers:
Climate control setting memory
MID display memory
The Crosstrek 2.0R model adds (over the 2.0L):
Front View Monitor
Side View Monitor
How much does the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek cost to service?
The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek is covered by Subaru Australia’s five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, with an additional 12 months of Subaru Roadside Assistance included with the purchase.
Scheduled maintenance is required every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first.
Five years of capped price servicing is offered, covering the first 75,000km, costing:
1 year - $346.25
2 years - $473.47
3 years - $420.60
4 years - $771.74
5 years - $361.13
For a total of $2372.19.
Final thoughts - should you buy a 2023 Subaru Crosstrek?
Given the level of competition - both in the hatchback and mid-sized SUV segment, It is tough to recommend the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek unless you NEED All-wheel-drive and some off-road capability. The power train is lacklustre, and interior packaging and practicality is compromised compared to, for example, the Toyota Corolla Cross, which also has a much more efficient Hybrid option.
Inside, the updates are appreciated and some of the additional features are great for families, it drives pretty well apart from the insufficiencies of the power train, so we’d probably wait until another option - potentially - is announced in the coming months!
Jacob Brooke, a respected voice in the world of automotive journalism, brings a wealth of knowledge and insights to his reviews at CarSauce. His keen eye for detail and passion for all things cars shine through in his in-depth analysis and honest evaluations of the latest models of cars. Join him as he guides readers through the car-buying process and explores the exciting world of motoring.