The Subaru Crosstrek: A Colorado-ready CUV.
When it comes to cars, there are just some people out there who want reliable, efficient, and capable transportation from point A to the trailhead. They don't want fancy overly complicated infotainment centers, neck-snapping acceleration, racecar-like handling, no—just a safe, well-equipped, mild-mannered way to perform the "chore" of driving and perhaps tell the world "yes, I'll see you on the slopes." Well, to those individuals, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport is a perfect pick.
The Crosstrek has long been a popular choice in Colorado, and for good reason. It's not so large it's a pain to pilot around LoHi; it's not so small that you can't fit all of your ski gear in it, and it's not so high off the ground that your dog has trouble hopping in and going for a ride (yet, it still offers 8.7 inches of ground clearance). It's a perfect size for most peoples who find themselves somewhere between a night out downtown and a day up in the mountains.
Of course, it's standard all-wheel-drive and 30 combined MPG doesn't hurt either.
Inside, the Subaru is delightfully simple and slightly rugged. Everything seems fairly well-built, but not so high end that you'd feel bad getting it dirty, and the seats are particularly comfortable. Sure, the infotainment center might not be the most visually appealing, but it performs the functions asked of any modern car. The best part, though, is how simple it is to use climate controls. In a world where touch screens needlessly complicate the basics, the Crosstrek still uses knobs which is the way it should be. Then there's the option to have air blast out from the panel, the footwell, both or the panel, and just a little on the feet—simple and brilliant.
Driving the Crosstrek is a different story. All 2021 Crosstreks come with Subaru EyeSight, or Subaru's suite of driver assistance technology, which in our experience has performed flawlessly. The handling is predictable, brakes work well, and the ride is compliant—even on dirt roads—but when it's driven hard it's clear that the Crosstrek is designed for people who say things like "I don't understand why you need a (insert sports car), it's not like you can legally drive that fast anyway."
Still, the Crosstrek's new powertrain featuring a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter boxer engine producing 182-horsepower, and the CVT transmission is underwhelming. And going higher in altitude certainly doesn't help. With that said, it'll still reach I-70 speeds with your hiking boot pinning the throttle to the floor. As for every other "normal" driving situation, the Crosstrek is more than adequate if not enjoyable to use.
In the end, our test model ticked the box at roughly $29k and that's a perfect price point for one of Colorado's favorite utilitarians. Just plan to get your thrills on the slopes or the mountain biking trail—which we know you'll do.
**All photos courtesy Jeff Erbert
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Are you a fan or not of the Crosstrek? Share your feedback in the comments.