If you’re a regular reader of our content, you’ll know we’ve recently tested the 2.0L version of the Subaru Crosstrek AWD, the impressive replacement for the ever popular XV. Well now we’re jumping behind the wheel of the petrol range-topper, the 2.0S.
We need to stress this isn’t the most expensive variant in the range, with that honour going to the Hybrid S offering, but it is the dearest petrol only model. It offers improved comfort, handling and an enhanced powertrain over the model it replaces.
Under the hood is a 2.0-litre Boxer engine, which generates 115kW and 196Nm. Subaru claims combined fuel economy of 7.2-litres/100km and we achieved 8.4-litres/100km during our test. That motor is married to the car maker’s all-wheel drive system.
Lots has changed when you compare it to the XV, including the price, with the 2.0S hitting the tarmac at $41,490 before on-road costs. That puts it on par with the front-wheel drive Kia Seltos GT-Line, Hyundai Kona Premium and Nissan Qashqai ST-L.
That means for the same amount of money (pretty much), your getting drive to all four wheels in the case of the Subaru. Inside, the cabin feels quite roomy and the driving position definitely suits taller drivers (like yours truly).
The seats and very comfortable steering wheel are leather-clad, and there’s a sunroof and Harman Kardon stereo to help ensure the 2.0S provides a high-quality user experience. An 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system sits in the centre of the dash.
It works well and touch responses are super smooth. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto feature, as well as cord free charging, although the base of the latter is plastic, which means your phone will slide around while you’re driving.
Interestingly, you are forced to scroll through menus to engage brake hold or disengage driver monitoring systems each time you start it, and that’s a little annoying. That aside, the storage up front is great, with a spacious bin, two cupholders and door pockets.
Second row seating is good, with plenty of headroom. The car’s shape and the transmission tunnel impact the centre-rear passenger space. There are no rear air vents, but you do get USB-A and USB-C charging points to keep your devices juiced.
The Crosstrek 2.0S will seat four comfortably, and can handle child seats thanks to top-tether points across all three seats and ISOFIX anchors on the outboard positions. Less impressive again is the boot area, which remains one of the smallest in class.
Subaru quotes a measly 291-litres with the rear seats up, which grows to 883-litres with them down (we’ve seen 1,278-litres quoted elsewhere though). That’s short of most of its rivals though.
On the safety front, The Subaru Crosstrek 2.0S scores forward and reverse autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, speed sign recognition, a digital speed display, tyre pressure monitors, blind-zone warning, rear cross-traffic alert and LED headlights.
In addition, it has some very alert driver-monitoring cameras that know when you’re sneaking a peek at your phone or when you’re not paying attention to the traffic ahead. The Crosstrek has rear parking sensors but lacks front ones.
It has a braked towing capacity of 1,400kg, with a tow ball download maximum of 140kg. The addition of extra roof damping, a new seat design and improved structural adhesives and chassis framework means it’s very quiet inside.
You’ll also notice the CVT has been refined to be more linear and auto-like in its response, whether you’re in town or on the highway. There’s a manual mode and paddle shifters too, should you want to take control yourself.
Around the city, the Crosstrek feels right at home, with its compact hatchback dimensions and light, precise steering. The suspension does a good job of smoothing out the urban jungle, and speed humps are just a ripple.
The steering rack brings a real sense of accuracy and security when driving on the highway or up a winding country road. While pretty light, its direct feel give the steerer a pretty good idea of what’s going on.
Ride quality is great on-road, and as an added bonus you also get access to one of the Crosstrek’s big draw cards; the promise of off-road ability. The ground clearance and short overhangs will come in handy during more challenging trail driving.
Standard hill descent control is activated whenever you engage X-Mode and are heading down a steep hill, and it smartly adjusts the set speed to whatever you last brake or accelerate to. It does a good job at keeping said set speed too.
The Subaru Crosstrek 2.0S comes with a 5-year unlimited-kilometre warranty that also includes 12 months free roadside assist. A range of pre-paid or capped price servicing options are available.
Should you want one, it can be had in Crystal White Pearl, Ice Silver Metallic, Magnetite Grey Metallic, Crystal Black Silica, Pure Red Offshore, Blue Metallic Sun, Blaze Pearl Oasis, Blue Sapphire, Blue Pearl Horizon and Blue Pearl.
Our test vehicle was provided by Subaru Australia for review purposes.