If you’re looking for the extra head room, raised vantage point and enlarged boot of a more typical mid-sized SUV, or the sleek digital technology or premium cabin quality of so many European-market rivals for that matter, you’re barking up the wrong tree with the Subaru Crosstrek.
While its ride height grants at least some boosted visibility, this car doesn’t feel properly SUV-like from behind the wheel – but it is fairly easy to slide into. It offers plenty of leg room for both front seat travellers and back, but no extra head room than any other family hatchback might and only a little over 300 litres of boot space below the tonneau cover (so you can forget about your old Legacy’s dog box).
Subaru has aimed to mimic the material look and feel of higher-end hiking and activity ‘apparel’ with the car’s grey-on-black interior and seat upholstery, although it’s a slightly half-hearted attempt. Mock carbonfibre appears here and there in any case – and there’s lots of physical switchgear dotted slightly haphazardly around the cabin, not all of it looking or feeling very inviting.
This is very much a functional cabin, not an aesthetic statement, and that’s fine, given it’s fairly easy to interact with. But even so, where it looks and feels hard and cheaply finished (around the centre console storage cubbies and lower door consoles especially, and on the dash top), it’s clearly quite plain and unappealing.
Seat comfort in the car is good, though, Subaru having taken the time to redesign the front chairs, which are widely adjustable and supportive. And the new 11.6in infotainment system is fairly navigable and well featured, with wireless phone mirroring as standard, and offers fairly easy access to driver assistance functions.