New 2.5-Liter Subaru Crosstrek Will Finally Offer More Power, But It's Still Only 182 HP

Illustration for article titled New 2.5-Liter Subaru Crosstrek Will Finally Offer More Power, But It's Still Only 182 HP
Photo: Andrew Collins (Jalopnik)

The current 2.0-liter Subaru Crosstrek is woefully underpowered and fans have been complaining for years. But finally, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek will get a new 2.5-liter engine from the automaker’s other cars, adding 30 horsepower. But get this: With the power gain, it still only makes 182 HP.

Here’s more on how the new 2.5-liter option will fit into the lineup, from Automotive News:

Subaru will introduce a new Sport version of the Crosstrek this year that will get a 2.5-liter engine instead of the standard 2.0-liter, Doll said, speaking during an NADA Live event last week at the auto dealers’ convention in Las Vegas.

“One of the things that our customers were telling us about the Crosstrek was it was maybe a little underpowered with the 2.0-liter engine,” Doll said. “Well, the 2.5-liter engine will solve that problem.”

Doll said the 2.5 also will go into the Limited version of the crossover.

It’s possible we may also see a slight efficiency improvement too, as the EPA-estimated combined fuel economy for the 2.5-liter Forester improved by about 3 or 4 mpg over the 2.0-liter.

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The 2.0-liter boxer engine in the current Crosstrek has struggled along for some years as one of the least powerful modern cars you could buy today in America. It makes 152 HP and 145 lb-ft of torque, and that makes driving it a huge buzz kill. Let’s be clear, though: Subaru has had no problem selling Crosstreks up until now. This is them throwing the most vocal critics a bone, but customers have been happy to buy the current car for years.

But I think we need to talk about Subaru’s problems with power a little more, as the Crosstrek has been one of the biggest culprits in this scandal.

As my colleague Raph pointed out, the Crosstrek is a relatively new model name for a car that used to be called the Outback Sport. The 2008 Outback Sport had 170 HP when it was introduced. It was rebranded for the next generation with the 2012 Crosstrek, and they somehow gave it less power, only 148 HP. What the hell is the logic behind that? Why does the Crosstrek have to be so slow to exist?

Then there was that time they introduced the hybrid Crosstrek that, again, also somehow made less power than the standard car. So while this new 30 HP bump is more than welcome, it feels a little bit like a lateral move, in my opinion. The Crosstrek now has just 12 more horsepower than its predecessor from over a decade ago. You understand if I’m not too excited.

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I drove the 2019 Subaru Forester “Sport,” which has the same recently-tuned 182 HP 2.5-liter engine Subaru is now employing on this Crosstrek—and it was so damn slow.

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My chief complaint in that review was that I was driving a “Sport” model that featured no more power over the standard car. It could barely get up to highway speeds on the on-ramp. It was not an issue of wanting to act a fool in a powerful car on the road, it was an issue of just being able to feel like I could drive safely in public. I worry even 182 HP won’t be enough to solve the Crosstek’s problems.

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But power moves are on trend. Last year, Subaru confronted fans clamoring for more from the Outback by introducing a new 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer engine boosting the standard car’s 182 HP and 176 lb-ft of torque up to an available 260 HP and 277 lb-ft of torque. That’s what I’d call a nice power grab.

Do I still dream of a day when a turbocharged Crosstrek makes anything north of 200 HP? Well, yeah absolutely. I don’t buy this 182 HP nonsense. Get me over 200 HP. Get me a turbo. The Crosstrek should be more fun.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

hammerheadfistpunch
HammerheadFistpunch

“It was not an issue of wanting to act a fool in a powerful car on the road, it was an issue of just being able to feel like I could drive safely in public.”

I’m so tired of this “it was so slow it was dangerous!” nonsense. Do modern cars with low power drive slow? yes. are they somehow unsuitable for modern traffic? Come on. No.

My daily is several seconds to 60 slower than the crosstrek 2.0 with a far worse power to weight and basically zero aerodynamic considerations and I can still happily pull away from traffic at a stop light, I can pass on 80 mph freeways and I can go anywhere I want to go without presenting even the smallest semblance of dangers to myself or those around me because of my speed or power.

I mean, I’m really happy for the additional power - at my elevation and with the mods people do to crosstreks it’s going to be very welcome. (shown typical Utah Crosstrek)

What the crosstrek really needs is a non-crappy transmission that can deal with stall speeds without torque limiting to protect the belt and without burning up at 60,000 miles. Seriously, the CVT is the weak link in the Subaru’s adventure ethos and the manual just isn’t geared for it either. Given the choice between more power and more gearing in the Crosstrek, I would choose gearing 10 out of 10 times.