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2021 Subaru Crosstrek's New Bigger Engine Nearly Matches Smaller Engine's MPG

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/7/2020 Motor Trend Staff
a car parked on the side of a road: 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Premium © Motor Trend Staff 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Premium

Subaru is reportedly adding a 2.5-liter engine option to the 2021 Crosstrek, which will keep its current 2.0-liter engine as its entry-level powertrain. Now, thanks to the EPA's posting of 2021 Crosstrek fuel economy data, we know two new things: First, that the bigger 2.5-liter engine is definitely joining the Crosstrek lineup, and second, that its fuel economy won't suffer relative to the smaller 2.0-liter despite its extra power.

The EPA's estimated fuel economy for the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek reveals the new 2.5-liter model achieves 27 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined. Unexpectedly, the bigger engine nearly out-performs the smaller 2.0-liter engine; it posts a better highway number, and comes close to the 2.0-liter's city and combined ratings. (That engine nets 28 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined estimates from the EPA.) Both ratings apply to Crosstrek models equipped with the CVT transmission, an option on 2.0-liter models and apparently the only transmission choice for the 2.5-liter. The EPA doesn't show figures for a 2.5-liter/manual transmission combination, but does for the 2.0-liter.

When paired with the standard six-speed manual, the 2.0-liter sees its fuel economy drop sharply, to 22/29/25 mpg (city/highway/combined). It'd be cool to see the Crosstrek equipped with both the more engaging manual transmission and the new engine, but that doesn't appear to be in the cards. The more potent engine will be available on a new Sport trim and the Limited trim, while the 2.0-liter remains par for the course on entry-level base and Premium trims.

If you're cross-shopping right now, keep in mind the Subaru's fuel economy is competitive with key players like the Honda HR-V AWD (27/31/29 mpg) and Hyundai Kona AWD (26/29/27 mpg). Those who are really looking to maximize fuel economy will want to consider the Crosstrek Hybrid.

Although we love the Subaru Crosstrek for its plush ride and strong off-road capability, we've long wished for a little more power. Its lack of gumption is most evident when passing another vehicle on a hill or pulling away from a stoplight. Other than these scenarios, the 2.0-liter engine that makes 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque feels adequate, and nothing more. In our instrumented tests, a CVT-equipped Crosstrek took 9.0 seconds to reach 60 mph, making it neither the quickest nor the slowest vehicle in its class.

Subaru hasn't announced specs for the Crosstrek's 2.5-liter engine, but it's likely the same mill found on the Forester, Legacy, and Outback. These models make 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, a decent hike over the less powerful Crosstrek. And now that we know it's more powerful and pretty much as efficient as the 2.0-liter, it's a win-win.

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