It’s been somewhere between open secret and obvious fact that Subaru will be giving the Crosstrek more power for the 2021 model year. Subaru of America CEO Tom Doll admitted as much back in February, when he let slip that the brand’s 2.5-liter engine would be making its way into the compact crossover-cum-hatchback. He didn’t provide a definitive timeline, though, leaving us twisting in the wind as to when we’d actually see it.
Well, we need twist no longer — or at least, not quite as much. As Motor Trend recently discovered, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek and its new 2.5-liter engine have been confirmed by no less an authority than the federal government: the new version has popped up on the EPA’s fueleconomy.gov page for the Crosstrek, leading us to believe its arrival is imminent.
It’s a move that’s long overdue; while the lifted version of the Impreza hatchback excels at many tasks, its 2.0-liter flat-four’s 152 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque means acceleration can be a tad labored by modern car standards. (While the EPA doesn’t mention power, the 2.5-liter makes 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet in every other Subaru product, so we’re guessing it’ll make the same here.) And while few Crosstrek owners are likely looking to dust Camaros at stoplights, they likely wouldn’t mind some additional get-up-and-go when merging onto highways.
Speaking of highways, that’s where buyers of the larger-engined Crosstrek will see a second, unexpected perk over their 2.0-liter brethren: the 2.5-liter actually beats the 2.0 in highway mileage, netting 34 mpg to the CVT-equipped 2.0-liter Crosstrek‘s 33 and the six speed stick-equipped 2.0 liter’s 29. The bigger engine does lose to the CVT-equipped 2.0 by one mpg in town, at 27 mpg vs 28; still, if you drive more on the open road than in the city, you’re likely to see equal or better fuel economy with the larger engine.
Sadly, those strong fuel economy numbers rule out any flagging hope we had that the more powerful Crosstrek would secretly pack the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine from the WRX STI; likewise, the EPA listings make clear that the new engine will only come with the CVT automatic, leaving manual transmission holdouts to stick with the lesser engine. Still, for the average buyer, it seems likely to be the best choice. And hey, at least you can slide the CVT into a fake manual mode and shift for yourself if you really want.
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