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The New 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Special Edition Isn't Special Enough

Subaru announced a new 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Special Edition trim level for U.S. customers. What makes it special, and why did Subaru swing and miss?


When Subaru of America announced the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek, it should have received a complete remodel. What happened to the next-generation Crosstrek? The global microchip shortages, and supply chain issues have struck again. Subaru Corporation has decided to put the third-generation Crosstrek that should have made its debut for the 2023 model year on hold another year.

Subaru Corporation continues with the second-generation Crosstrek model with no changes or upgrades, except Subaru of America gets a new Crosstrek Special Edition (SE) model. What do customers in the U.S. get with the 2023 Crosstrek SE?

2023 Subaru Crosstrek features, pricing, Special Edition

2023 Crosstrek Special Edition

The new 2023 Subaru Crosstrek SE is not much more than an appearance package with a new color. The new subcompact SUV features an "overland-inspired" Desert Khaki exterior color not offered on any other trim level.

The SE comes with 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels in a Dark Gray finish, side mirrors, front grille bar, antenna, and door handles in Crystal Black Silica. The exterior badges are finished in a Low Luster Black finish.

2023 Subaru Crosstrek features, pricing, Special Edition

The 2023 Crosstrek SE does not come with the 2.5-liter engine

The SE is powered by the standard 152 horsepower 2.0-liter Boxer engine coupled with the Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission. If the Crosstrek SE is for Overlanding, it should be offered with the 2.5 liter Boxer engine or, better yet, the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine.

SE interior upgrades

The SE interior features black and red upholstery with red contrast stitching throughout the cabin, including the front and rear cloth seats, door armrests, leather-wrapped steering wheel, shifter boot, combination meter visor, dash panel, and center console.

Interior trim accents are finished in Low Luster Black. The Special Edition includes all features from the Premium trim level and adds the Subaru Starlink 8.0-inch Multimedia Plus system as standard.

What is the Crosstrek SE price?

The 2023 Crosstrek Premium starts at $26,020, and the Crosstrek Special Edition has an MSRP of $27,970. That's a $2,000 bump over the Premium trim for the new exterior color and a few interior accents. The Crosstrek Sport ($29,220) is only $1,250 more than the SE, and we think it's the best value compared with the new Special Edition trim level. Prices include destination and delivery fees ($1,225).

Customers who want the redesigned next-generation Crosstrek will have to wait another year. The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek remains unchanged, and the Crosstrek Special Edition isn't special enough. The 2023 Crosstrek Sport is still the best trim level for active customers.

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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. Check out 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 USA


Frank A Martin (not verified)    June 15, 2022 - 7:50AM

Captain, the ship is sinking. Global vehicle sales have dropped 29% in just two years. Throw them some desert khaki and maybe they won't notice until we can get the ship rightside up.