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How The Hot New Subaru Crosstrek Could Quickly Pass The Redesigned Outback

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek could become the second best selling SUV in the lineup. See how it's well-positioned to pass the newly-redesigned 2021 Outback.

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There's a significant shift going on at Subaru of America. Last year, the Subaru Outback was the Camden, N.J. automaker's number one selling car in the all-wheel-drive lineup. In 2019, SOA delivered 181,178 Outback wagons, and Forester was a close second with 180,179 sales. Through eight months of 2020, the hot Forester compact SUV is far ahead of Outback with 118,434 sales compared with Outback's 89,323.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is another hot model in the stable, and it could pass the Outback this year. The Crosstrek received a refresh for the 2021 model year change, but more importantly, the subcompact SUV now has a new 2.5-liter engine with 30 more horsepower and excellent fuel mileage. It's given the Crosstrek a boost in power, and it could propel the popular model past Outback.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport

The Crosstrek finished 2019 with 131,152 sales, which was 50,026 units less than the Outback. But through August, Crosstrek is catching the Outback and is now only 24,349 units behind the wagon.

With new 2021 Crosstrek Sport models with the 2.5-liter engine and dual-function X-Mode at retailers this month, the subcompact SUV will move closer and could pass the Outback in the next four months. The Crosstrek was popular before and the best-selling subcompact in the segment. With its newfound power, it will move farther ahead.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport

Why has the Subaru Outback slipped so far in 2020? Our guess is, buyers are looking at the newly-redesigned Outback and picking the new Ascent 3-Row family hauler instead. Customers can get an Outback Premium trim for $30,095 and a comparably equipped Ascent Premium for $35,845 ($5,750 more.)

To get the Ascent's 2.4-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine in the Outback, customers need to buy the Outback Onyx Edition XT ($36,195), $350 more than Ascent Premium.

New SUV shoppers get the same features in the Ascent as Outback. Ascent also comes with standard all-wheel-drive, 8.7-inches of ground clearance, safety features, and driving dynamics. But buyers get the third row and more cargo room. It's an easy choice to opt for the more spacious Ascent.

A significant shift at Subaru of America is occurring now. Look for sales of the hot new 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport and Limited trims with the 2.5-liter engine to skyrocket as more models arrive from Japan. The updated Crosstrek could pass Outback this year. Stay tuned.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press and the founder of Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru

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Jared (not verified)    September 8, 2020 - 10:52AM

The Crosstrek is indeed selling well but the Outback is not suffering due to competition from the Ascent, it's more that a lot of long time Outback customers are super displeased with the infotainment screen setup. Very unintuitive and just plain harder to use than the last generation, especially for older consumers, things like climate control are just ridiculous.