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Cars Gives 7 Reasons Why Subaru Crosstrek Wins “Best Subcompact SUV” Challenge

The Subaru Crosstrek beats four popular small SUVs to win "Best Subcompact SUV" challenge. See their seven reasons why. It’s not all good.


The redesigned Subaru Crosstrek is Subaru’s shining star in sales and leads the brand as their top nameplate with an increase over last year. Customers are responding to the second-generation Crosstrek in a big way and snatching up the small SUV in record numbers. It’s also being recognized by the media as the Best Subcompact SUV by in their recent challenge. gives four reasons why it beats the 2018 Hyundai Kona, 2018.5 Nissan Rogue Sport, and 2018 Ford EcoSport in the 2018 Subcompact SUV Challenge. The verdict: “Redesigned for its second go-round, the reigning champ does it again thanks to a mix of drivability, roominess, practicality, and quality”, says Kelsey Mays, senior consumer affairs editor.

They like seven characteristics that make it the “Best Subcompact SUV” according to the automobile website. It’s not a surprise safety is the top feature they like because of the brand’s EyeSight driver assist system. They also liked Crosstrek’s visibility, interior quality, child seat accommodations, backseat comfort, 2.0-liter powertrain, ride quality and handling.

It’s not all good

What didn’t like was Crosstrek’s lack of features one or more competitors included, as equipped. It doesn’t come with automatic climate control or power seat adjustments, no moonroof, navigation system or overhead sunglasses holder. It also got dinged for having a noisy cabin, its CVT automatic transmission, obstructive seat belt, and interior styling. Other nitpicks: "Subaru needs to improve on the rickety gear selector and clumsy climate dials,” says Mays.

What was surprising, didn’t mention Subaru Crosstrek’s 8.7-inches of ground clearance, standard X-Mode off-road feature and lower center of gravity with the Boxer engine. These features are the reason why the brand dominates all other small SUVs when it comes to getting away from civilization and keeping travelers safe. Adventurous buyers would say it’s the reason why it’s the best small SUV.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


T Majka (not verified)    October 22, 2018 - 1:30AM

In reply to by Ed B (not verified)

Underpowered is a subjective term. If a vehicle has the longest stopping distance in a group you can objectively say it has poor brakes. The difference being that there is no upside or positive to the longest stopping distance. At 33 MPG highway with 8.7" of ground clearance and full time symmetrical all wheel drive, that's called class leading 3 categories by only being adequate at acceleration. Please nane the non-hybrid 2 wheel drive compact CUVs that get better than 33 MPG and have at least 8" of ground clearance. These cars are amazing and should be recognized for it. That being said, Crosstrek, Forrester, Outback should all offer an optional engine with higher towing capacity and better performance.

Ed Blair (not verified)    October 11, 2018 - 11:17PM

Subaru has had continual issues regarding the CVT transmission. Yet the media has nothing to say about it. My 2018 has problems shifting to the point of being a daily annoyance. Subaru is no help. Ironically the rest of the car is pretty good despite being underpowered, and having a buggy radio. Lastly, the gas mileage is nothing near the stated mileage and I am not alone in this assessment. I wish for once the automotive journalists would get real with assessments and tell it like it is. All of these things show up repeatedly on forums but somehow the press thinks the car is great!

Tom Majka (not verified)    October 22, 2018 - 1:42AM

In reply to by Ed Blair (not verified)

My wife's 2017 Impreza sport does not have those problems, though her radio used to be glitchy til the dealer reprogrammed it. On the MPG side, she drives it from the west to the north suburbs of Chicago, 104 miles round trip daily for work and the trip computer was only showing her 28, actual calculation showed 26. On a 680 mile trip with cruise control set at 5 over the posted limit we got calculated 33.716666666cont. Trip computer said 32.75 for the whole trip. I am sorry your CVT acts up, but the overwhelming majority of people we meet that have Subaru cars are very satisfied and enthusiastic about their car. I wish you the best...

Robyn Z (not verified)    October 18, 2018 - 11:09AM must have driven a base model Crosstrek. The vehicle absolutely does come with automatic climate control, power seat adjustments, moonroof, and a navigation system, available standard on certain trim levels, or in option packages. I'm surprised they would base their assessment on one car, and not educate themselves on what is available across the entire lineup.