REVIEW: 2016 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium – Your Frugal Crossover

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2016 Subaru Crosstrek Profile

The 2016 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium is a great example of what draws so many to the brand. It combines utility, updated safety features, and an affordable price point that make it a crossover that stands out from the crowd.

Subaru is not a flashy brand. It’s frugal and so are its customers. Subarus do the job without all the pricey extras you’ll find on many competitors and that’s why people are so loyal to the brand. The Crosstrek 2.0i Premium delivers that frugality in a capable and well-equipped crossover.

The Crosstrek comes in several flavors including a hybrid, but you don’t need to go for that one in order to get great fuel economy. Fuel economy estimates of 26 city/34 highway/29 combined make the gasoline engine a winner at the pump even when prices go back up.

2016 Subaru Crosstrek Rear Seats

The base price of $22,395 for the middle of the range 2.0i Premium is refreshingly affordable, and it doesn’t mean you’re driving a stripped down econobox. Standard features include a rearview camera, daytime running lights, 6.2-inch infotainment screen with HD Radio and CD, Bluetooth hands-free phone, and cruise control. There’s even a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. It’s a good deal.

Power comes from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine with 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. This is paired to either a 5-speed manual or the continuously variable automatic in our tester, which added $1,000 to the price.

That’s not a huge engine, but it’s enough to get the Crosstrek moving with authority. Its performance is on par or better than competitive cars. The CVT is, as expected, a bit droning, but acceptably so. The sound is noticeable, but it doesn’t intrude into the cabin to the point that conversation becomes difficult, even at higher speeds when CVTs can be miserably noisy.

2016 Subaru Crosstrek Dash

The ride in the Crosstrek is firm yet comfortable. Front seats are supportive without being stiff, and rear seat passengers will also be happy; despite the curved rear profile, there’s a surprising amount of room back there. Put a 6-footer up front, and the rear passenger will still be able to sit without their knees pressed into the back of the front seat.

Handling is good with responsive steering and a smooth ride. The suspension evens out the roughest bumps with only larger bumps and dips giving passengers a jolt. This is a crossover, so it feels heavier than a sedan, but that doesn’t make it unwieldy. It’s a very controlled, well-mannered ride, even in snow.

A winter storm gave us the chance to put that all-wheel-drive to the test, and it performed admirably. Even in snow depths that threatened to be too deep, the system pulled the Crosstrek through the white stuff without trouble.

2016 Subaru Crosstrek Front

Our Crosstrek was also equipped with a $1,995 option package, which included the Subaru Starlink multimedia system. This added an upgraded infotainment system, pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, pre-collision throttle mangagement, and eyesight driver assist. It’s an expensive package, but the safety features it includes make it worth the price, with the better infotainment thrown in there as a bonus.

The one drawback to the frugal Subaru is that it’s decidedly minimalist. The interior is very Spartan with lots of hard plastics and not much in the way of visual punch. If what you want is fancy, then the Subaru Crosstrek is not your crossover.

If, however, you’re looking for a capable crossover that delivers a nice mix of features and technology with all-wheel-drive to keep you from getting stuck when the weather turns, then the 2016 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium is a great choice.

2016 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium

Base Price: $22,395
Price As Tested: $25,390 (not including destination charge)


  • Pricing
  • Capability
  • Roomy Interior


  • Spartan Interior
  • Stiff Seats