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New Subaru Crosstrek Is A Top Finalist But Can’t Finish In M/T’s SUV Of The Year

MotorTrend’s SUV Of The Year award is announced, and only one Subaru model is even a finalist for the top prize. See why the all-new 2024 Subaru Crosstrek is included but doesn’t cross the finish line.


Even though the 2023 Subaru Forester, 2023 Subaru Outback, and 2024 Subaru Crosstrek are in high demand this year and flying off retailers’ lots in 2023, only one Subaru SUV is a finalist for MotorTrend’s SUV Of The Year award

Motor Trend had 31 nameplates and 40 total SUVs contending for the title of MotorTrend's 2024 SUV of the Year, but the 2024 Crosstrek is the only Subaru that could muster a look from the judges. 

2024 Subaru Crosstrek is a top 10 MotorTrend finalist

It’s a surprise the Outback was not even a contender because, in Motor Trend's Ultimate Car Ranking for the second half of 2022 that I covered, the newly-updated 2023 Subaru Outback scored a best-in-class award. 

To contend for the 2024 SUV of the Year, each vehicle is evaluated on six critical criteria: efficiency, design, safety, engineering excellence, value, and performance of the intended function. Eligible vehicles must be all-new or significantly revised. The 2024 Outback Wilderness trim level did receive significant new revisions but was not a contender. 

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness is a finalist for MotorTrend car of the year

Outback is best in class in Motor Trend's Ultimate Car Ranking in 2022.

The 2023 Subaru Outback scored number one in MotorTrend’s Midsize SUV segment, scoring 8.8/10. M/T says, "When is an SUV, not an SUV? When it's the Subaru Outback. This vehicle resembles a high-riding station wagon, yet it has been a longtime favorite among crossover shoppers. The Outback has been on sale since the mid-1990s, and the current generation debuted in 2020. Subaru applies several updates for 2023 to keep the Outback a top competitor.”

I can understand why the 2023 Subaru Forester did not make the MotorTrend list because the compact SUV needs a complete remodel. And the 2024 Forester is a carry-over model.

2024 Crosstrek Wilderness gets off-road upgrades

Crosstrek makes the final round.

The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek was one of the ten SUVs that made the finalist round for MotorTrend’s 2024 SUV of the Year Golden Calipers.

Here is what Motor Trend says about the 2024 Crosstrek.

“The Subaru Crosstrek has been a longtime MotorTrend favorite, and for good reason: Its charming size, smooth ride, and off-road abilities have always stood out. It continues to rank high in our Ultimate Car Rankings, and now the 2024 Crosstrek boasts some important improvements. First was the arrival of a more powerful boxer engine, which it needed from its inception. Second, a new Wilderness trim elevates this small SUV to new heights by allowing it to tackle more treacherous terrain and making it look cooler while doing so.”

What MotorTrend doesn’t like about the new Crosstrek.

MotorTrend says, “With lots of advanced safety features and decent fuel economy, the Crosstrek scored well on safety and efficiency, but it didn't perform as well in advancement in design or engineering excellence. A few judges called the Crosstrek's design dated, and some also noted issues with the transmission tuning.” 

Which SUV is the winner?

The top award goes Electric. The Chevrolet Blazer EV gets MotorTrend’s 2024 SUV of the Year Golden Calipers

I get why the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek did not get the top MotorTrend Car of the Year award. The Crosstrek is a niche SUV that is only for some. It appeals to a customer who wants a fuel-efficient commuter vehicle during the week and an SUV that can go off-road on the weekends. 

The outdoor-themed 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness is even more narrow in its appeal. The Wilderness trim appeals to a small section of new active SUV buyers who want to get further off the grid. Overall, the redesigned 2024 Subaru Crosstrek is too specialized in its appeal for MotorTrend. 

Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this Subaru Crosstrek report. See you tomorrow for my latest Subaru Report.

For additional articles related to the new Subaru Crosstrek, here are a few of my top stories you may enjoy. 

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Denis Flierl - I have over twenty years of Subaru and automotive journalism experience. I enjoy bringing you, the Subaru fans and customers, the most up-to-date Subaru news, reviews, and new model information. You'll find the latest Subaru stories on the Subaru page. Follow me on my The Dirty Subaru website, Dirty Subaru blogSubaruReportAll Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierlFacebook, and Instagram.

I’ve got you covered! - I cover all Subaru all the time - It’s called the “Subaru Report.” Check back daily for my expert Subaru analysis!

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Photo: main image Tucson Subaru


Dale finger (not verified)    October 27, 2023 - 10:04AM

Motor trend gives the highest ratings to the companies that spend the most on advertising in their magazine. Where Consumers Reports doesn't accept ads