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Why Subaru Crosstrek Takes a Back Seat to the Hyundai Tucson

Subaru’s 2016 Crosstrek came in a close 2nd in the J.D. Power APEAL study. Who was #1?

The Hyundai Tucson barely beat out the Subaru Crosstrek in the J.D. Power APEAL Study in the Small SUV category. The Volkswagen Tiguan comes in third. What is it that is most appealing to Crosstrek owners? Driving dynamics, overall performance and design, comfort and design are all rated high. Only one area is rated low.

The 2016 Subaru Crosstrek is superior when it comes to driving dynamics. In the APEAL study, Crosstrek beats the Tucson and all other small SUVs in the performance ratings factors. Where Crosstrek falls short, is in the features and instrument panel category. Subaru has never been known for having well-appointed interiors. But that could be changing with the new-generation models coming soon.

How does J.D. Power conduct the study?

In the APEAL Study, which takes place once a year, J.D. Power surveys new car customers 90 days after they have taken delivery of their vehicle. This year’s 21st edition of the Study questioned new car drivers in the U.S. on 77 characteristics in 10 categories between November 2015 and February 2016. Among the attributes evaluated by the owners were “interior” and “driving dynamics.”

Sporty performance is what buyers like

The 2016 Crosstrek is powered by a 2.0-liter boxer engine which sits low in the chassis. This design is what puts all Subarus high on the fun-to-drive meter. Even though the Crosstrek has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the crossover performs like a car that sits much lower to the ground. The Crosstrek’s center of gravity is lower than all other SUVs making it more engaging for the driver.

Standard all-wheel-drive also contributes to the Crosstrek’s performance factor. The design of Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD offers the maximum traction in all-weather situations. It also helps deliver improved handling, and a quicker response to road conditions.

It’s not a surprise the 2016 Subaru Crosstrek is tops when it comes to driving dynamics in the J.D. Power APEAL Study. Where Subaru needs to catch the Hyundai Tucson, is in the interior features and instrument panel category.

Source: J.D. Power

Image source: Subaru


Jeff (not verified)    August 5, 2016 - 7:23PM

The Tucson is far better than the Subaru. Better reliability, better warranty and far better creature comforts. Besides the Tucson comes with available hydrogen power.

Hyundai will bring the driving dynamics of the Tucson on par with the Subaru long before Subaru will bring the interior of the Crosstrek anywhere even near the Hyundai. And once Hyundai puts their H-Trac AWD system into their SUVs along with a turbocharger like in the Kia Sportage, the Tucson would be a blast to drive. The H-Trac is being reserved for the Genesis for now, but it will come to the SUV line eventually.

I can see Hyundai putting together an N-performance version of the Tucson also eventually.

Subaru is living on borrowed time. Hyundai is bringing it on. Hyundai's technology is far better overall than Fuji heavy industries. Subaru's automated double clutch? Oh they don't have one. How about their 8 speed automatic? They don't have that one either. How about GDi? Well they have the Toyota cobbled together system in the BRZ which cannot even keep up with the Genesis coupe. The rest of the Subaru vehicles are still using port fuel injection. How about a hybrid? Maybe they can borrow the Toyota system with the inferior NiMH technology. What is Subaru's answer to Bluelink? Where is the Apple CarPlay support? And finally, how about the IIHS safety rating of the Crosstrek when compared against the Tucson?

The Subaru is for people who remain ignorant of what is available. Other than driving dynamics, the Tucson is far superior in every other way including the most important one, safety.

Good luck with Subaru catching Hyundai. Hyundai is close to trouncing Subaru in every category. And good luck waiting for Fuji Heavy industries to upgrade the interior of Subaru vehicles along with the electronics. It won't be happening anytime soon.

Brian (not verified)    August 9, 2016 - 6:34AM

In reply to by Jeff (not verified)

Thank god Subaru doesn't have that Hyundai double clutch. Have you seen how many of those have failed (and very dangerously I might add). Have you seen all the YT videos and people who have turned their Hyundai Tuscon back i to the dealer under lemon laws because the vehicle fails to move when pressing the accelerator? I was seriously looking at the Tuscon because of articles stating how awesome it is...then I spoke to owners who wish they had gone with something else...

Michael (not verified)    August 25, 2016 - 10:51AM

Maybe not everyone wants Bluelink or AppleCar Play. Some people don't want an ugly futuristic interior. If I want to put the AC on, I want to push a BUTTON, not scroll through a futuristic menu on a touchscreen because it looks cool.

Some people actually want to DRIVE their cars. A fun, good handling manual transmission car which is still offered in the Subaru Crosstrek. If I want to check Facebook I'll go home and do it at home.