I know I’m getting older because the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is finally starting to make sense to me. Listen, if you need a small, pragmatic, cheap car with all-weather capability, and don’t require WRX or WRX STI speed, it’s probably a great buy. But for those of us who like the idea of the Crosstrek and would miss all that turbo power, I ask: why can’t we get both?
Clearly Subaru is onto something here with the Crosstrek. They sell something like 8,000 of them a month in the U.S., and even though it’s basically a lifted Impreza, it’s just SUV-ish enough to ride that wave that’s killing small cars and sedans.
Then you have the WRX and STI, which are iconic at this point, and doing well enough that they too seem to be weathering the sedanocalypse fine enough. After all, the performance variants of small cars—think the Ford Fiesta ST, Volkswagen GTI and others—are all selling quite well, and in some cases actually dominate sales over their “regular” versions. Lately, when people can be bothered to buy small, they buy fast.
Yet Subaru left us high and dry with a WRX or STI that goes all-in on practicality. We haven’t had a hatchback and/or wagon variant of that car in years. If you want it you’re stuck with the sedan version, which is inherently less practical than it could be.
So here’s what I’m thinking: Subaru should pony up and give us a fast version of the Crosstrek. Stiffen up the suspension a bit, give it the 268 horsepower engine out of the WRX (or, hell, the 305 HP motor from the WRX STI, why not) add some better brakes and performance bits, leave the jacked up ride-height.
Why the hell not? It’s not like we’re ever going to get the Subaru Levorg wagon in this country. This could be the compromise we’re all after. A lifted WRX or WRX STI wagon/hatch with a manual would basically check all the boxes. Plus, that extra ride height might actually prove an advantage in rallying. As the small car segment is ceded to small crossovers, part of me wonders why so many off-road racing cars remain hatchbacks or sedans.
Let me be clear I’m not advocating this car replace the WRX and WRX STI sedan. I’d hate to live in a world where that’s no longer an option for enthusiasts. No, I think this Crosstrek WRX would make a great addition to the Subaru lineup, existing as its own beast and offering a family adventure car for people whose idea of adventure also involves flouting speed laws. Given the proliferation of both small crossovers and small performance cars at the moment, it seems poised to do well, and finally fill the void left behind by the death of the WRX hatchback.
What am I missing here? Make it happen, Subaru. You’re welcome for the great idea. Please give me ten million dollars.