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The all-new Subaru Crosstrek epitomizes the crossover ethos

Black cladding with aggressively sharp styling

Is the Subaru Crosstrek as tough as it looks? PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

What was once known as the Subaru XV is now called the Crosstrek with the third generation of this crossover. Following its local launch in July, we were able to get our hands behind the wheel for a simple and straightforward drive to Clark in Pampanga.

The Crosstrek is starting to look like an armored vehicle with the black cladding. PHOTOS BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

The “Bolder” design language is noticeable at first glance—characterized by the sharp lines, the aggressive styling, and the abundance of black cladding on the body. At 4,480mm long, 1,800mm wide, and 1,600mm high, the Crosstrek is a compact crossover. However, the trunk doesn’t look as spacious due to the sloping roofline, which gives the vehicle a sporty and sleek silhouette.

A boxer engine allows for a lower center of gravity. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine that produces 154hp and 196Nm, delivered to all four wheels via a CVT and the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system that Subaru is so proud of.

Trying it out on NLEX, the power was sufficient, but I didn’t feel the acceleration kick in as it was more like a steady climb. Thankfully, the brakes were smooth and didn’t bite suddenly.

The cargo capacity is rated at 291L with the cargo cover. PHOTOS BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

The other core technology featured in the Crosstrek is the EyeSight 4.0 advanced driver-assistance system. With most of the time spent on the expressway, this should have been the perfect opportunity to test out the adaptive cruise control.

ACC is nice on long stretches of wide, open road, but I wouldn’t leave it on its own with traffic considering the kind of drivers we have. Would you wait for the car to detect an obstacle and slow down for you, when you can already sense that someone is going to swerve into your lane on the expressway?

Another observation is that the lane-keep assist is persistent with ACC on, almost as if the steering wheel were locked—to the point where the car can steer itself on the Skyway. While all these features are pretty high-tech, I avoided using them most of the time since toggling the ACC on and off isn’t seamless.

Not only is pressing buttons to set the speed and the following distance distracting, but it also takes away the immersion from the driving experience. If you’ll have to eventually take control of the throttle and the brakes when you least expect it, you might as well do so the whole time.

The astronomy-themed infotainment system matches Subaru's logo. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT
Thankfully, the piano-black accents are kept to a minimum. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT
The past meets the present with an auxiliary socket, USB ports, and a wireless charger. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT
The higher variant gets charging ports at the rear. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

The all-new Subaru Crosstrek is available in two variants: the 2.0i-L EyeSight (P1,998,000) and the 2.0i-S EyeSight (P2,018,000). However, the differences are minimal (just like the pricing), with the most obvious one being the interior. The latter gets a sunroof, leather upholstery, more charging ports, and a power seat for the driver.

We'd love to see the Crosstrek in World Rally Blue. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Overall, the Crosstrek was a nice ride going to and from Clark, but the drive wasn’t enough to truly experience what the car had to offer.

With Subaru’s rally heritage and technology—namely, the driving dynamics of a boxer engine and the all-wheel drive system—along with the bold and aggressive design language, the Crosstrek is begging to be taken off-road. And we hope we get the chance to experience that eventually.

Leandro Mangubat

Leandro is our staff writer. Although having a background in mechanical engineering, he enjoys photography and writing more.