Subaru upgraded the newly-refreshed 2021 Crosstrek subcompact SUV with the latest safety technology with advanced adaptive cruise control with lane centering capability but failed to give lower trims the best LED steering responsive headlights. The Sport’s inferior Halogen headlights could leave you stranded on the trail. If you want the best headlights, you’ll have to opt for the top-trim Limited or Hybrid model.
The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Premium starts at ($23,295) with a 6-speed manual and ($24,645) with optional CVT. The all-new Crosstrek Sport starts at ($26,495) and both trims come with Halogen reflector headlights that are not curve adaptive and have no high bean assist.
You will have to buy the top-trim Limited ($27,995) to get the best LED steering responsive headlights with automatic height adjustment control and LED daytime running lights and LED fog lights.
Why do I want LED headlights?
We aren’t sure why Subaru didn’t give the new Sport trim that will be more likely used on dark trails at night the best headlights. And there is a big difference between the Halogen reflector headlights and the LED headlights.
There is so much difference that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2020 Crosstrek Premium Halogen headlights a “Poor” rating and the Crosstrek Limited with LED headlights an overall “Good” rating. This is the difference between the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport getting the highest IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award or the lesser TSP.
Are LED headlights that much better?
Around a curve, in IIHS testing, the LED Steering Responsive Headlights will project up to 300 feet, while the Halogen headlights only project a little over 200 feet. That could be the difference between seeing a deer jump into the road and being able to avoid hitting it.
The Halogen headlights are ok for urban driving but not the best on a dark mountain road or driving in the fog. Imagine being deep in the high country, hitting a deer, or worse, hitting an elk, and having it go through the windshield. You could be stranded with no cell service until someone comes along the next day.
We know why Subaru didn't upgrade the new Crosstrek Sport with LED headlights. All automakers hold some new features back for the next model change. It's called planned obsolescence, and next year they can tout the new 2022 model as better and improved without making expensive major chnages.
The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek does come standard with EyeSight and received the highest possible rating of “Superior” for front crash prevention by the IIHS if you do hit something. Now Subaru needs to give the trail-rated Crosstrek Sport the best LED steering responsive headlights so you can see farther and around corners. It will likely be coming next year.
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 USA