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How Subaru Crosstrek Sport Pulls Off More Power And Improves Fuel Efficiency

We recently drove the new 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport with a more powerful 2.5-liter engine. See how the new Sport delivers more power and improved mpg.

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Our first look at the new 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport with the new 2.5-liter Boxer engine reveals the power difference is significant from the 2.0-liter engine. The 30 extra horsepower in the new Sport trim felt like a lot more in the subcompact SUV. We drove the Sport at altitude in the rarified air west of Denver to give it a good test. You can read our full report here.

The 2.5-liter engine comes with more horsepower and improved fuel mileage over the 2.0-liter engine. The 2.5-liter comes with 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque which is considerably more than the 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque from the current Crosstrek’s 2.0-liter engine.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport

With more power, it costs less when it comes time to fill up. We weren’t able to check the mileage in the new 2021 Crosstrek, but the EPA estimated fuel mileage is now 27/34 city/highway mpg and 29 combined mpg. The 2020 Crosstrek with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine gets, and EPA estimated 28/33 mpg and 30 combined mpg.

With 30 more horsepower, the Crosstrek with the bigger 2.5-liter engine coupled the CVT automatic transmission gets one more mpg highway than the smaller 2.0-liter engine. How did Subaru accomplish better fuel mileage with the bigger engine?

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport

Subaru does not reveal how they pulled off the improved one mpg highway fuel mileage. According to the Japanese automaker, the 2.5-liter Boxer engine comes with an “enhanced” direct-injection system. It also comes with higher compression and an active valve control system (AVCS) on the exhaust side.

According to a report from Wikipedia, some of the pressure created during the exhaust stroke flows into the intake manifold, having the effect of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). The intake valves close earlier during the intake stroke improving engine efficiency and fuel economy.

Subaru also tweaked the Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission that also improves fuel efficiency. The CVT features a manual mode simulating an eight-speed manual transmission and also features steering wheel paddle shifters.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport

How does the Crosstrek compare with other subcompact SUVs?

When it comes to subcompact SUVs, the Crosstrek’s fuel economy is good or better for all-wheel-drive models. The Nissan Kicks gets (33 mpg combined w/front-wheel-drive), Hyundai Venue (32 mpg combined w/front-wheel-drive), and Toyota C-HR (29 combined w/front-wheel-drive) It takes less fuel to send power to the front wheels than operate all four wheels.

When it comes to all-wheel-drive models, the Crosstrek is equal to or better than the competition. Kia Seltos gets (29 mpg combined w/AWD), Honda HR-V (29 combined w/AWD), and Mazda CX-30 w/AWD 27 combined mpg). The 2021 Crosstrek with the 2.5-liter engine is at the top of the class. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport delivers more power and will cost less at the pump when you fill-up.

You Might Also Like: The New Crosstrek and Forester Models Sell Twice As Fast As The Average New Car

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: Competition Subaru, Torque News

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ExFlyGuy (not verified)    August 28, 2020 - 2:26PM

Just wondering if anyone notice the torque spec on the 2021 Crosstrek Sport/Limited - max torque from 0 to 4400

The only thing I know that'll do that is an electric motor. Misprint or CVT trick? Any ideas?

Edwin T. Santiago (not verified)    September 19, 2020 - 2:55PM

Because of all the hoopla on the more powerful crosstrek, I feel a buyer’s remorse on my 2019 crosstrek; lame and underpower SUV.

Edwin T. Santiago (not verified)    September 19, 2020 - 3:23PM

With all the hoopla on the new crosstrek, I feel a buyer's remorse on my 2019 crosstrek; lame and underpowered SUV. Am I right?

VS (not verified)    October 4, 2020 - 11:52AM

No worries, the CVT still make this thing feel underpowered. You can shoe-horn a 426 hemi in there with that CVT and it still wont move.