Don't be fooled: the Crosstrek might look like a small quasi-SUV, but it is essentially an Impreza hatchback with a raised ride height that gives it more styling attitude and enough altitude to slosh through deeply rutted roads.
This isn't a rugged off-roader, although it has more capability than the standard Impreza models.
Controls are simple, visibility is easy, and there is good interior space for the compact dimensions, including a useable rear seat.
However, the cabin is rather noisy, the ride is stiff, and the little 148-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has to work hard to maintain highway speed.
At least fuel economy is a gratifying 26 mpg.
A Hybrid version, introduced for 2014, barely improves upon that, at 28 mpg.
At least the Hybrid is a little quieter and sounds less strained.
Look for a Crosstrek with Subaru's EyeSight safety suite; it includes forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
The 2016 models got an update with a slightly quieter interior and a much more modern infotainment system.
Logically speaking, putting the Crosstrek's more rugged looks aside, the regular Impreza hatch may be a better choice for most buyers: it's quieter, quicker, cheaper, and better-riding.