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Previously Weak Subaru Crosstrek Getting a More Powerful Engine, Report Says

The adventurous subcompact crossover might soon be less ponderous.

Subaru fans and reviewers like us have been asking the automaker for a more powerful Crosstrek for some time, and now we're all finally getting our wish. A new 2.5-liter engine will be made available on the subcompact crossover this year, according to Subaru of America CEO Tom Doll, and it will be relegated to upper trim levels. The just-adequate 2.0-liter flat-four engine that, until now, has powered every Crosstrek model, will remain standard.

The news came as Doll was speaking at a recent NADA convention in Las Vegas, and was reported on initially by Automotive News (subscription required!). In his comments, the Subaru executive revealed that the burlier 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine will be included on a new Crosstrek Sport trim level this year, as well as the higher-end Limited trim. The base Crosstrek and Premium models, we assume, will continue using the same 2.0-liter as before.

Why the bigger engine? "One of the things that our customers were telling us about the Crosstrek was it was maybe a little underpowered with the 2.0-liter engine," Doll said, reports Automotive News. "Well, the 2.5-liter engine will solve that problem."

We're very familiar with the Crosstrek's acceleration, or lack thereof, having put the model through an extensive battery of tests. Its weakish performance is most evident when passing another vehicle on a hill or trying to race other small crossovers away from a stoplight. Outside of those scenarios, the 2.0-liter engine's 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque feels adequate enough, and nothing more.

The Subaru Crosstrek is definitely not the quickest vehicle in its competitive set, but it's not the slowest, either. A CVT-equipped Crosstrek ran from 0-60 mph in 9.0 seconds, a better time than what we've recorded in the all-wheel-drive Honda HR-V and some other competitors. Plus, at least you can grab a Crosstrek with a manual transmission, giving yourself something to do while you wait for the speedometer needle to creep northward.

Official specs and pricing haven't been released for the Subaru Crosstrek's new big engine option. However, based on the 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine found in the Subaru Forester, Legacy, and Outback models, we can assume the Crosstrek will offer similar output. That means 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, a decent hike over the 2.0-liter's figures. Subaru does build another 2.5-liter engine, but it is a turbocharged unit making 310 horsepower and goes in the sporty WRX STI; as cool as a turbocharged Crosstrek with STI power sounds, it seems unlikely to occur.

We asked Doll about the possibility of a turbocharged Crosstrek last year. At the time, he said Subaru was already selling as many as Crosstreks as it could get, although he didn't rule out a turbo Crosstrek for the future. Probably don't hold your breath, though. In the meantime, Crosstrek watchers who had been waiting for a stronger engine option, you may let out a sigh of relief now. The plucky crossover is one of the best vehicles in its class, thanks to its plush ride, spacious interior, actual off-road capability, and strong overall value. With more power, things can only get better, right?

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