Subaru has introduced the newly refreshed 2021 Subaru Crosstrek and it gets a new 2.5-liter engine with 30 more horsepower power, a 20 percent increase over the 2020 model. The new engine is offered in Sport and Limited trims, and it’s a substantial improvement and will give the new model just what it needed to pull extra cargo and gear up a mountain pass.
But the 2021 Crosstrek Sport gets a feature no other trim gets. The dual-function X-Mode is what will set the subcompact SUV apart from all others. All other trims with a CVT come with the standard X-Mode for low-friction and off-road conditions, but the Crosstrek Sport gets enhanced all-wheel-drive performance adding Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud settings for more extreme conditions.
How does the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport compare with its two main competitors, the Mazda CX-30 and Honda HR-V?
The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport 2.5-liter engine produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb.-ft. of torque and has overcome its biggest complaint of needing more power. The Mazda CX-30 2.5-liter engine produces 186 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque. Honda HR-V comes with a 1.8-liter engine producing 141 horsepower and 127 lb.-ft. of torque.
The 2021 Crosstrek Sport now has equal power but better fuel economy. The Crosstrek gets an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 27/34 city/highway and 29 combined mpg beating both Mazda and Honda models. Mazda CX-30 with all-wheel-drive gets an EPA estimated 25/32 city/highway and 27 combined mpg.
With the smaller engine and 141 horsepower, you would think the Honda HR-V would get the best fuel economy but it falls behind there too. In all-wheel-drive trim, it only gets 26/31 city/highway and 28 combined mpg.
Cargo carrying ability
If you are going to be taking the subcompact SUV away from the city to go camping, mountain biking, or hiking, you will need cargo room for your gear. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek should have the same cargo room as the 2020 model with 20.8 cubic ft with the seats up and 55.3 cubes with seats folded flat.
The Mazda CX-30 comes with less at 20.2 cubic feet and 45.2 cubes. The Honda HR-V comes with the most at 23.2/55.9. But if you don’t have the power to pull the extra weight, it’s only capable for city hauling.
The 2021 Crosstrek Sport gets a significant upgrade with dual-function X-Mode. This feature moves the Crosstrek further away from the completion. It also incorporates Hill Descent Control that helps to maintain a constant speed when descending a steep trail, enhancing vehicle control. You can read how dual-function X-Mode works here. The Crosstrek Sport has 8.7-inches of ground clearance which is important for clearing rocks on the trail.
The Mazda CX-30 has a new Off-Road Traction Assist mode which offers capable light off-road capability but has less ground clearance at 8.0-inches. The CX-30 does not come with a hill descent control, so you’ll have to control the brakes to slow you down on a steep descent.
The Honda HR-V does have all-wheel-drive as an option and is probably the worst performing subcompact SUV in off-road capability. The HR-V does not offer an off-road mode and only comes with 7.3-inches of ground clearance in all-wheel-drive trim.
The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport is even more capable now for trail duty. The subcompact SUV comes with equal power as the Mazda CX-30 but far exceeds the CX-30 and HR-V in off-road ability. As a bonus, the upgraded Crosstrek with a 2.5-liter engine with more power wins in fuel mileage too.
Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!
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