2018 SUBARU CROSSTREK FIRST DRIVE: STILL BRILLIANT, BUT FOR ONE GLARING OMISSION
Subaru has been in the catbird seat when it comes to the crossover frenzy sweeping the States. It’s provided the right-sized, all-wheel-drive formula for years. We all caught on, and Subaru is now reaping the well-deserved rewards for its patience. Celebrating 50 years in the U.S., Subaru’s current reputation for safe, outdoorsy, and reliable SUVs is enjoying a sales streak, and the new 2018 Crosstrek aims to maintain that momentum set by its top-selling Forester and Outback. “If it’s not a nut, bolt, or fastener, it’s all new,” said a Subaru representative about the Crosstrek at the drive event in South Dakota’s Black Hills. We see no reason it won’t continue to satisfy active, outdoorsy, types—well, maybe one reason.
Our all-day drive in both a Premium and Limited trim levels left us mightily impressed. We can only think of one or maybe two other manufacturers with the guts to put us on gravel and dirt roads for half of the 100-mile route. This is, indeed, a genuine all-wheel-drive adventure vehicle with hardware to match its rugged looks—something we cannot say of all similarly positioned vehicles. With its all-new body and platform (shared with the 2018 Impreza), the Crosstrek’s solid foundation really shined on the drive. Standard torque vectoring (with brakes) across the line made the gravel roads a joy to drive with its playful and sure-footed agility. With this newfound rigidity, the Crosstrek’s new suspension soaked up all manner of ruts and bumps without a squeak or rattle. What’s more impressive is that it does so with very little upset to the occupants. “One and done,” we like to say. To show off how well the available X-Mode with hill-descent control worked, Subaru convinced a quarry owner to let us amble up and down various 100-foot-tall piles of loose egg-sized shale/rock. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance (and 18/29 degrees of approach/departure angle), the Crosstrek’s intelligent all-wheel-drive system and off-road calibrated ABS put fears of ever getting stuck in anything less than rock-crawling situations to rest. The way the Crosstrek effortlessly accepts its mission is remarkable and nearly seamless. Read more...