2017 Subaru Crosstrek Limited

I’ve driven a few Crosstreks since the vehicle’s introduction in 2012 as the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek (Subaru eventually gave up on “XV” designation in Canada, as predicted by moi). Over the years, Crosstrek has been tweaked and refined, emerging as a complete package that emphasizes value, practicality and safety.

Starting at $26,670 (including $1,675 freight/pdi), my 2017 tester was the fully loaded $33,970 Limited version with Technology Package.

Crosstreks, however, are built on the Impreza compact sedan platform (the new Subaru “Global” platform) and that platform (including drivetrain) is all-new for the 2017 Impreza. The current Crosstrek has not yet received the updates so the 2017 Crosstrek will be the last version on the “old” platform.

Does that matter to prospective buyers? Well, maybe. It depends on your priorities. The 2017 Crosstrek is responsive enough with its 148 horsepower “flat-four” engine and is still one of the best choices for winter driving. With its standard all-wheel drive and very impressive 220 millimeter ground clearance (a Jeep Wrangler is 225mm; an Impreza sedan is 155mm), Crosstrek’s body and undercarriage will be protected from icy curbside protrusions that will wreck the bumper covers of most vehicles on contact). It’ll also traverse road surface irregularities (including aggressive speed bumps) that can damage exposed vehicle components.

Along with a smart leather interior with stylish contrasting red stitching, and features including automatic climate control, keyless access and start, “automatic” CVT gearbox, aluminum pedals, HID headlights, sunroof, rear/side vehicle detection system and foglights, the Technology package in this vehicle includes Subaru’s award-winning “Eyesight” safety system.

Eyesight is Subaru’s suite of electronic safety aids that include pre-collision braking, pre-collision brake assist, pre-collision throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane sway warning and lead vehicle start alert (prompts the driver when stopped that the vehicle ahead is moving away). This is state-of-the-art technology at an agreeably low price point that anticipates such systems becoming standard equipment on cars in the near future. I should point out, however, that the EyeSight hardware located in front of and beside the mirror is rather large. It blocks proper operation of the sunvisors, in fact.

But as I say, the driving experience in the 2017 Crosstrek is fine; the fuel consumption good and the ride comfortable and smooth. The dashboard (that is, gauges, displays, controls) is not a favourite of mine, being too busy, too “Tokyo by night,” if you will. But it’s echoed throughout the Subaru line-up right now, so if you want a Subie this is what you get.

Passenger and cargo capacity is also good, the seats roomy and the cargo area large enough to accommodate luggage for four on a long trip. Won’t tow, though. It’s that Impreza platform; not designed to haul.

But back to the platform. Adequate as it is, I’ve driven the 2017 Impreza, and I can tell you it’s noticeably superior to the previous model. Tighter, quieter, stiffer and more agile, it’s a different car in my opinion, so if I were going to buy a Crosstrek, I’d wait a little for the 2018 which will ride on the new Global Platform. It will also arrive with enhancements to EyeSight and a retuned drivetrain.

That said, maybe you can snag a great deal on the 2017 Crosstrek, and if so, maybe you’re happy with that. That’s always a possibility as the model year — and in this case the model cycle — ends.

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