In 2011, Subaru issued technical service bulletins to its dealers and made changes to its production processes to correct a similar condition afflicting some Outback and Legacy models. Asked later about the Crosstrek’s vibration, Dominick Infante, head of product communications for Subaru of America, emphasised that neither the Crosstrek nor the Impreza share architecture with the Outback and Legacy, and that he was not aware of any owners reporting such issues with their vehicles.
Anomalous as the tremor may have been, it was not, given the automaker’s recent history with the shakes, comforting. Yet on its return trip to New York, the Crosstrek had no such problems, and as it barrelled past snow banks worthy of the Swiss Alps, it gobbled miles while returning a favourable 32mpg.
Throughout, the Crosstrek was a supremely enjoyable, capable machine, but some deficiencies shined through. For roughly $27,000, as this model in Limited trim cost, niceties like a glare-reducing rearview mirror would be expected, and it is surprising that Subaru’s new EyeSight collision-avoidance system is not on the options list. Applications of hard-to-the-touch interior plastics also betray the Crosstrek’s economy-car roots. But perhaps the most damning challenges to the Crosstrek come from within Subaru’s own showroom.
Based on the larger Legacy, the Outback can be nicely configured for $27,000. Also within a dealership visitor’s line of vision is the more refined Forester crossover, redesigned for the 2014 model year. Priced on a virtual par with the Crosstrek, the Forester can be specified with a new turbocharged 2-litre engine producing 250 horsepower, 102 more than the Crosstrek. For a premium of roughly $1,500 over the tested Crosstrek Limited, a buyer gets 102 extra horsepower. That is difficult arithmetic to ignore.
But vehicles like the Crosstrek have a way of deflecting value arguments. It is why Mini can charge a customer nearly $40,000 for a well-equipped Countryman, when the same shopper could visit BMW, Mini’s adoptive parent, and drive away in an X1. Personality has its price, a truth that the Crosstrek’s builders – if their latest tagline is anything to go by – understand keenly: “Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.”