Autoblog Podcast #647: 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Driven, And Ev Performance Kings

Autoblog Podcast #647: 2021 Subaru Crosstrek driven, and EV performance kings

In this week's Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski. They kick things off by talking about Jeremy's recent drive in the new 2021 Subaru Crosstrek. They compare the BMW X1, BMW X2 and Mini Countryman before providing another take on the Cadillac CT5. Recent Lucid Air and Tesla Model S news has them wondering if electric cars are the new performance kings and end with a quick discussion on California's intent to zero emissions by 2035.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Review | Price, Specs, Features And Photos

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Review | Price, specs, features and photos

Few vehicles define a segment quite as clearly as the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek. Before it came along nine years and one generation ago, there really weren't any subcompact crossovers. Today, competitors like the Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona and Jeep Renegade keep popping out. Unlike those, though, the Crosstrek continues to basically be an Impreza hatchback with a 3.6-inch suspension lift, some black body cladding and chunky roof rails. It's a recipe that also continues to work. 

Despite sharing a chassis with the definitely-not-a-crossover Impreza, the Crosstrek still manages to offer class-leading ground clearance with a correspondingly tall seating position and good visibility, multiple driving modes geared toward inclement weather and dirt roads, and a reasonably sized cargo area — you know, the kinds of things that small crossover buyers will actually use and appreciate. And like nearly all other Subarus, the Crosstrek comes standard with all-wheel drive. It now offers a choice of three powertrains (including a plug-in hybrid) and may very well be the best buy in its segment.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek First Drive | What's New, Power, Features

2021 Subaru Crosstrek First Drive | What's new, power, features

BERLIN, Ohio — If horsepower is good, then more horsepower must be better. And in the case of the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, more horsepower comes courtesy of an optional 2.5-liter engine that provides potential buyers with a long-desired alternative to the meager 2.0-liter four-cylinder that remains standard equipment.

Of course, there's more to the 2021 Crosstrek story than more displacement. There's a nip here, a tuck there, and the addition of a new Sport trim level. It all adds up to what we think is the best buy in its segment. And that's saying something, considering that the number of subcompact crossover choices has grown exponentially since the Crosstrek went on sale for the 2013 model year.

Junkyard Gem: 1988 Subaru Gl 4wd Sedan

Junkyard Gem: 1988 Subaru GL 4WD Sedan

While Subaru kept the hatchback version of the second-generation Leone available in North America all the way through the late 1980s, the third-generation sedans and wagons went on sale here in 1985. Today's Junkyard Gem is a loaded '88 4WD sedan, found in thoroughly worn-out condition in a junkyard next to Pikes Peak in Colorado.

2021 Subaru Impreza Pricing, Specifications Announced

2021 Subaru Impreza pricing, specifications announced

Subaru has announced pricing information for the 2021 Impreza. It costs a little bit more than the outgoing 2020 model, but some trim levels gain a new feature named SI-Drive that adds two driving modes.

Pricing for the 2021 Impreza sedan, the company's entry-level model, starts at $19,720 including a mandatory $925 destination charge. For context, the 2020 model cost $19,595. Putting a 2021 in your driveway will cost $100 more, but Subaru increased its destination charge by $25, so the next model year will bring a $125 increase. That figure corresponds to a base variant equipped with a five-speed manual transmission. Motorists who want two pedals need to plan on spending $1,120 more for a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Subaru Levorg Revealed With Engine Specs, Previews Wrx Design

Subaru Levorg revealed with engine specs, previews WRX design

Last year, Subaru gave us our first look at the new Levorg station wagon in "prototype" form, which over the past few years has shared most of its body and interior with the Subaru WRX. Now we finally get to see the production version, and it looks basically identical to the regular and STI Sport concepts. That's not a bad thing. It builds on the old Levorg and WRX with sharper, crisper lines. There's more visual detail in the headlights and angled wheel arches. And it retains classic cues such as the big hood scoop. It can be made more aggressive looking with a variety of front and rear spoilers, diffusers and side skirts, too.

While the exterior isn't huge news thanks to past concepts, the interior and engine specs are. The interior in particular gives us our first look at what we'll probably see in the next WRX. Not surprisingly, the focal point is the huge vertical touchscreen that looks lifted straight out of the Legacy and Outback. In fact, the whole dash is very similar to that of the bigger Subarus, though the height of the dash is a bit shorter and the air vents a bit thinner. The Levorg also has a fancy screen for its instrument panel, and it will be interesting to see if that carries over to a future WRX.

2021 Subaru Forester Detailed | What's New, Features, Price

2021 Subaru Forester detailed | What's new, features, price

Information for the 2021 Subaru Forester is out, and the crossover hasn't changed a whole lot for the new year. This will be the third year of this generation of Forester, and it's also the third year in a row without a turbocharged engine option in the lineup. Subaru dropped the more powerful Forester turbo with the redesigned car in 2019, leaving a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter flat-four as the only engine option. It makes the same 182 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque this year.

There are a couple notable differences from year-to-year. The responsive (turning) headlights and automatic brights previously reserved for the top trims are now standard equipment. Subaru has added a rear seat reminder system as standard — all passengers will also be reminded to buckle up before the journey with visible and audible reminders, even those in the back seat. Finally, the base price creeps up by $300 to $25,845.

2021 Subaru Ascent Review | Price, Specs, Features And Photos

2021 Subaru Ascent Review | Price, specs, features and photos

The 2021 Subaru Ascent doesn't really stand above and beyond the crowded field of three-row family crossovers. There are those that make a bolder statement outside, that are more luxurious inside and that are better to drive. Some are even more spacious or versatile. Frankly, it's hard not to point you towards a Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade or Toyota Highlander instead.

However, the Ascent really isn't for the general three-row crossover-buying population. It's for Subaru's fiercely loyal customers, and specifically the great many who outgrow their Foresters and Outbacks. Previously, if they needed more space and/or seats, they were forced to abandon the brand that A) they were used to, and B) catered to their specific requirements that often involve outdoorsy adventures. With the Ascent, they get that extra space but it comes with the same 8.7 inches of ground clearance and beefy roof rails, an awfully familiar driving experience, and the cabin puts the same emphasis on no-nonsense, user-friendly controls. The Ascent even looks like an Outback, albeit a gigantic one. So although the Ascent isn't for everyone, it should be just right for those already onboard the good ship Subaru.

2021 Subaru Ascent Pricing Announced, Starts At $32,295

2021 Subaru Ascent pricing announced, starts at $32,295

The 2021 Subaru Ascent, the brand's three-row midsize SUV, adds lane-centering (which works in conjunction with the adaptive cruise control) and lane-keep assist to its standard-equipment list. Curve-adaptive headlights are newly standard on the base and Premium trims. With the additional equipment, the Ascent's starting price increases by $300. The new features join the existing EyeSight roster of active-safety features, which includes forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert remain optional on the base trim and standard elsewhere.

Prices for each trim level are as follows:

Junkyard Gem: 1994 Subaru Svx

Junkyard Gem: 1994 Subaru SVX

Before Subaru became best-known in North America for outdoorsy all-wheel-drive machinery (but after it was best-known for extreme cheapness), we got some wild-looking Subarus with strong overtones of science fiction over here. First, the wedge-shaped XT, XT Turbo, and XT6 arrived during the mid-1980s through early 1990s, with their video-game-style digital instrument panels and fighter-jet-joystick gearshifts. Starting in the 1992 model year, we saw the XT's replacement: the joyously weird SVX. The SVX cost plenty, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the super-cheap Subarus of the past, and not many were sold. Still, Coloradans love old Subarus, and I manage to find discarded SVXs here every now and then. Here's a screaming red '96, found in a self-service yard about 50 miles from Cheyenne.

Junkyard Gem: 1982 Subaru Gl 4wd Wagon

Junkyard Gem: 1982 Subaru GL 4WD Wagon

As a junkyard aficionado living in Denver, I get regular opportunities to study the history of the Pleiades-badged brand every time I hit the IMPORTS section at one of my local yards. You won't find any Subaru 360s in U-Wrench yards these days (I haven't seen a discarded 360 since the early 1980s), but I still find plenty of Malaise-Era Subarus from the period during which they were mocked for their small size in novelty songs. Here's a seriously loaded (by early-1980s standards) 1982 Subaru Leone four-wheel-drive wagon, found last fall in a yard just south of Denver.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Adds Sport Trim, 2.5l Engine, Refreshed Styling

2021 Subaru Crosstrek adds Sport trim, 2.5L engine, refreshed styling

For the 2021 model year, the Subaru Crosstrek is getting some mechanical and aesthetic updates, along with a new Sport trim (pictured above).

The biggest difference you'll find for 2021 is the addition of a new engine to the lineup. While the base and Premium trims will continue to use the 152-horsepower, naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder carried over from 2020, the Sport and Limited trims will employ a new-to-Crosstrek 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine. Borrowed from the Forester, and also found in the Outback, this naturally aspirated 2.5-liter provides 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. That power is put to the wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and Subaru's torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. The base and Premium trims, with the holdover motor, still come with either a six-speed manual or optional CVT.