This is the all-new 3rd-generation Subaru Crosstrek, the Japanese brand’s popular Impreza-based high riding cross-SUV and one of the few that actually can boast off-road ability thanks to its permanent Symmetrical AWD system.
The first new element here is its name, though it only applies to countries like Malaysia where its predecessors were known as the XV. Onwards from this 2023 revamp, the Crosstrek name will become the standard global moniker. This is long overdue, in our opinion.
Set to hit Japanese showrooms first despite it always being a predominantly US-centric offering, the Crosstrek should be coming to other right-hand drive markets such as Australia and the majority of Southeast Asia sometime midway through 2023.
Visually, you could mistake this 3rd-gen XV/Crosstrek with being a significantly touched-up version of the outgoing model. Look closer and you’ll spot the new bits, but even then you’ll have to keep a sharp eye.
There are obvious front-end alterations that feature a more prominent grille and aggressive headlight and bumper garnish treatment as well as a set of bolder black alloy wheels wedged beneath plenty of cladding around the wheel arches.
Its basic shape remains nearly identical, though it has actually shrunk by 5mm in terms of overall length and by a whole 35mm in height. However, Subaru promises no compromises when it comes to practicality and interior space, aided by its slightly elongated wheelbase (+5mm).
The automaker has also chosen to remain quite silent on the overall Crosstrek range, only detailing a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated flat-4 with 150PS and 196Nm paired with a 17PS electric motor which they’ve dubbed the e-Boxer.
US-spec versions will also receive a larger 2.5-litre version of the flat-4 with 184PS and 240Nm of torque. It’s unclear if they’ll make their way to local showrooms in that hybrid form but we can be confident that the existing 2.0-litre XV powerplant will likely be carried over, once again mated to a Lineartronic CVT and Symmetrical AWD.
Inside, we find the same basic layout and trim from the WRX (2021), another car that shares essential platform genetics with the Impreza. Here, Subaru is using a large and vertically-oriented 11.6-inch central infotainment screen that, unfortunately, also replaces some climate control switchgear. The Crosstrek unit seen here also dispenses with a matching digital instrument cluster in favour of analogue dials to sandwich a compact multi-info display. Sounds familiar.
Apparently, the flashier hi-tech dash is given to Crosstreks equipped with EyeSight, the company’s active safety and driver aid suite, at least in certain regions, which adds Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering, among other features.
When it does eventually arrive on Malaysian shores, obviously pricing will be a major factor in whether buyers here will take positively to it. It will also likely be tasked with fending off a number of new rivals in the form of the Haval H6 and Chery Omoda 5 in addition to usual suspects such as the Proton X70, Toyota Corolla Cross, and Mazda CX-5.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.