2015 Subaru Crosstrek Tightens Up the Urban SUV

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Most modern crossovers or small SUVs masquerade as tough vehicles with off-road potential. But, they’re really just urban transport with a little more size — bulked up hatchbacks that would shrink from the challenges of trekking into the wild.

The 2015 Subaru Crosstrek is no such shrinking violet. Designed inside and out for both street driving and rougher duty (with styling to match) the XV Crosstrek flashes reliable, rugged build quality and up to date safety and infotainment philosophy.

Starting around $21,595, with prices heading above $25,000 for rounded out trim levels, the Crosstrek employs a 2 liter, 160 horsepower Subaru Boxer engine  — more than enough power for street use and reasonable off-road adventures. Don’t slap too much tow weight on the vehicle, and you should do fine in varied duty.

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To cruise seamlessly from pavement to dirt, water or snow, the Crosstrek offers essential all-wheel drive and uses four wheel independent suspension with more than eight inches ground clearance. Add that to Subaru’s usual sound build quality, and it’ll be a multi-use vehicles without the need of special tuning packages. 

Related: NYIAS 2015: Subaru Legacy Road Test/Review

It’s not a coincidence that the vehicle handles with a response like a lesser powered rally car. Subaru is an automaker well-represented in the off-road and racing worlds. So, with the Crosstrek, there is no give in that steering wheel — allowing the driver to feel his or her way and make adjustments as quick as the senses can order them. The Crosstrek goes where you put it when you put it there with deft, tight steering.

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The exterior styling is also more sleek and aggressive than the vast majority of other vehicles in its class. The front end narrows to an aerodynamic point and sweeps smoothly to the rear.

The Crosstrek already includes a full suite of the latest automotive technology taking care of everything from comfort to safety. The major addition for 2016 is Siri Eyes Free – an iOS-centric feature allowing an easy link between an iPhone and a Subaru’s voice control system. Eyes Free taps into Siri’s inbuilt ability to understand natural language commands to allow the driver to control both the vehicle’s voice control functions and the iPhone itself.

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Siri Eyes Free joins an already impressive collection of in-car tech aimed at making every drive comfortable, entertaining and (most importantly) safe. Every Crosstrek comes equipped for all-around driver awareness with standard Blind-Spot Detection, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and backup camera.

Inside the Crosstrek, a standard, 4.2 inch color LCD Multi-Function Display lights up the center dash. From there, the user can access the vehicle’s Bluetooth connectivity capabilities and a complete app suite, including Pandora and Aha. The in-car entertainment, including HD AM/FM Radio and options SiriusXM, is controlled through the screen, along with the onboard navigation and phone capabilities.

If there’s a minot quibble for the Crosstrek, it would have to be a slightly tinny build quality inside the cockpit. The interior dials, bents and handles don’t quite match the outwardly tough quality of the crossover. But, that no doubt stems from the ever-present need to cut weight in the hope of preserving fuel economy. I’m sure once any driver is taking his or her Crosstrek from street into the woods, they won’t care how the buttons feel.