VANCOUVER — Subaru is taking no chances with its best-selling Crosstrek, giving the three-year-old second-generation compact SUV only a light refresh for 2021.
Subaru Canada has surfed the surging popularity of SUVs and crossovers, growing its overall market share to three per cent from less than one per cent 30 years ago.
Since its launch for the 2013 model year, Crosstrek sales have grown to account for more than one in four Subarus sold in Canada — 16,210 out of 57,524 last year.
In the first half of 2020, Crosstrek’s share of total sales reached 28 per cent. Car-line manager Brad Evans says demand has outpaced supply.
Crosstrek was all new in 2018, so for 2021 Subaru needed only slight tweaks to the exterior styling. It also massaged the suspension, improved the infotainment system and added lane-centring assist to its Eyesight driver-safety package, among other minor updates.
But there are two notable changes.
Subaru added a new Outdoor package, bringing the total number of trim levels to seven (three manual-transmission, four CVT automatic). Outdoor falls between the Touring and Sport trims.
All Crosstreks, with their 220-millimetre ground clearance, have an outdoorsy vibe. But the Outdoor features Eyesight as standard equipment, exclusive Plasma Yellow paint, a grille-mounted wide-angle camera to aid bushwhacking and a 2.5-litre boxer four-cylinder engine instead of the normal 2.0-litre power plant.
The bigger engine is the other major addition, standard on Crosstrek Outdoor and top-end Limited trims. The 2.5-litre is rated at 182 hp and 176 lb.-ft. torque, compared with 152 hp and 145 lb.-ft. torque for its 2.0-litre sibling. Rated combined fuel economy suffers little, 8.0 l/100 km to 7.9 l/100 km respectively.
Pricing starts at $23,795 (before delivery and other fees) for the Convenience trim level, $26,195 for Touring, $28,795 for Sport, $29,995 for Outdoor and $34,495 for Limited. Eyesight is standard on the latter two trims and a $2,000 bump on the others.
A plug-in hybrid Crosstrek is available — so far Quebec only due to supply limitations — but the price has not been set.
Subaru has largely held the line on price. The Convenience trim is unchanged, while the Touring goes up $100 largely to account for a standard heated steering wheel. The Limited rises $600 because of its larger engine.
“We avoid general model-year increases at Subaru,” says Ted Lalka, vice-president of marketing and product management. “We increase prices based on features that customers can touch, feel and experience.”
Lalka says Subaru projected about a 35-per-cent uptake for the 2.5-litre models but dealer orders are tracking at 50 per cent.
“I think we’re going to see a shift to the upper trim levels,” he says. “We’re already seeing it based on dealer orders.”