The Crosstrek is basically an Impreza hatchback with a higher ride height, added body cladding, and large wheels that are intended to give it a more rugged look.
The regular Crosstrek's 148-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine helps it deliver a frugal 26 mpg overall, which makes it among the most fuel-efficient SUVs in the class. But this compact vehicle doesn't provide as much cargo room as most small SUVs. And it's loud inside, especially when you accelerate and the continuously variable transmission gears down and revs up the coarse engine.
For those looking for even better gas mileage, Subaru introduced a hybrid version in 2014. But in our testing, we averaged only 2 mpg more -- 28 overall -- than in the regular Crosstrek. For the $3,000 bump over the Crosstrek Premium we previously tested, we don't think it's any bargain.