Should Subaru Offer A New Upscale Crosstrek Like Mazda3 Turbo? Why It Won’t Work
If Subaru customers want luxury, they can buy the top-trim 2021 Forester Touring, Outback Touring XT, and Ascent Touring trim levels. Why doesn't Subaru offer a more upscale Crosstrek Touring trim to compete with the new Mazda3 2.5 Turbo model?
In a new report from Automotive News (by subscription), Mazda brings new "upscale" models to compete with German and Japanese luxury rivals. Should Subaru build a new Crosstrek Touring like its siblings, Forester, Outback, and Ascent?
Subaru's Crosstrek compact SUV is the closest in size to the Mazda3. 2021 Limited starting at $27,995, featuring leather seats and a new 2.5-liter non-turbocharged engine, is its most upscale trim level.
The article says, with the new Mazda3 2.5 Turbo, the automaker is trying to woo buyers of premium models from Audi, Mercedes, and other luxury brands that offer entry-level vehicles starting around $35,000. The Mazda3 Turbo Premium Plus starts at $33,750.
Subaru gets criticized for its cabins that are more utilitarian than luxury-oriented. Subaru has made their mark with affordable all-wheel-drive SUVs, and to create a luxury trim with the Crosstrek would be a mistake for the Japanese automaker. Subaru knows their place, and they intend to stay in their lane.
The AN story quotes Jay Chen, manager of powertrain performance at Mazda North American Operation, who says, "We saw this (Mazda3 Turbo) as a business opportunity and a way to grow our products and our brand to satisfy more mature drivers."
Subaru Corporation designed the Crosstrek compact SUV to do the opposite. Todd Hill, Subaru's car line manager, says the second-generation 2021 Crosstrek appeals to a younger demographic.
There is a growing trend toward car ownership due to COVID, and people ages 24 to 39 are leading the push. The demographic is buying more all-new 2021 Crosstrek Sport and Limited trims with a new 2.5-liter engine than ever before.
The Crosstrek Sport offers the new non-turbocharged 2.5-liter Boxer engine, offers StarTex water-repellent cloth upholstery, and built for off-pavement adventures. 2021 Crosstrek Sport is priced at $27,545, hits the sweet spot with a younger demographic, and doesn't appeal to more mature drivers.
The Subaru brand is at the lower end of the price scale and has created a niche market with its affordable all-wheel-drive vehicles. Subaru won't bring a 2022 Crosstrek Touring trim to compete with the Mazda3 Turbo Premium Plus. Subaru knows their niche, and they will stay in their lane.
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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, Mazda