Is the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid a Good Car?

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek PHEV is a capable, if somewhat sluggish, crossover hybrid SUV.
Written by Mary Alice Morris
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Jul 21, 2022
The subcompact crossover SUV market is rapidly expanding into the field of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The
Subaru Crosstrek
has its hat in the increasingly crowded ring along with competitors like the
Kia Niro
and
Hyundai Ioniq
.
To stand out, Subaru brings everything that makes its brand stand out to the PHEV market, including standard all-wheel drive, a spacious cabin, and generous standard safety features. It makes up for its lackluster acceleration by being a classic Subaru, putting family safety and comfort into a package that can hit the highway or even go on modest off-road excursions. 
If you think the 2021 Crosstrek PHEV is right for you, check out this guide to the model from
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2021 Subaru Crosstrek plug-in hybrid

The 2021 Crosstrek is powered by a 148-horsepower, 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine attached to an automatic continuously variable transmission. Its low-end torque, 134 lb-ft at 4400 rpm, feels great for the stop-and-go driving you’ll use running errands around town. But any sense of zippiness drops off significantly at higher speeds. 
This car won’t be winning any street races, but it will safely and reliably transport you, your stuff, and your family to wherever you need to go—all with a lesser impact on the environment than combustion engine SUVs. And while Subaru has employed some polarizing designs in the past, the Crosstrek is a really attractive vehicle available in some bold exterior color options. 
Read on for more specifics on what makes the Crosstrek an attractive PHEV option:

Pricing

The 2021 Crosstrek PHEV only came in one trim level, and it had a starting MSRP of $35,345. Staying consistent with Subaru’s other models, the Crosstrek PHEV is quite a bit more expensive than most other non-luxury compact SUVs and PHEVs. 
But, remember that with the purchase of a PHEV you can take advantage of federal
tax credits
. There might be additional tax credits in your state for purchasing an alternative-energy vehicle.

Performance and fuel economy

The Crosstrek’s all-electric range isn’t as impressive as some competitors. You can go up to 17 miles solely on EV energy, but using the gas and electric power combined can get your range up to 480 miles as the combustion engine actively recharges the battery while driving. 
When it comes to fuel economy, you can expect the combustion engine to get 35 mpg combined. With the EV battery, you should get 90 MPGe, which is comparable to competing models. 
If you drive your Crosstrek to work and have access to a Level 1 or Level 2 EV charger, you should be totally recharged well before your shift is over. A Level 1 charger can get your car fully juiced in about five hours, and a Level 2 charger will get the job done in just two hours.

Exterior styling

The 2021 Crosstrek PHEV is a sporty-looking crossover that combines elements of an SUV, a station wagon, and a hatchback into an off-road capable vehicle that manages to not look dorky in the least. 
The aluminum 18-inch wheels and performance tires are offset by matte-black trimmed fender arches, prominent roof rails, and a tall, wide stance. Its available exterior colors included Pure Red, Plasma Yellow Pearl, Magnetite Gray Metallic, Lagoon Pearl Blue, Ice Silver Metallic, Horizon Blue Pearl, Crystal White Pearl, Crystal Black Silica,and Cool-Gray Khaki.

Interior and comfort

While the 2021 Crosstrek PHEV provides classic passenger comfort and space, its cargo space is unfortunately limited by the huge EV battery it carries. Still, it comes standard with an adjustable leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, and pass-through rear seats with space for up to five passengers. 
Its passenger volume is just a hair over 100 cubic feet, but the cargo volume is only 15.9 cubic feet when the car is loaded up with people. It’s better that the cargo space was sacrificed rather than passenger comfort, though, as rear seat occupants will get 36.7 inches of legroom and 37.6 inches of headroom

Technology

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek PHEV comes standard with an 8-inch digital touchscreen display that’s equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Bluetooth and USB connectivity. It has available Sirius XM radio, as well. A standard onboard hands-free communication system will keep you safely in touch and up-to-date while you drive. 
Other cool tech features for convenience and comfort include:
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • Proximity entry and push-button start
  • Automatic climate control
  • Front and rear USB ports
Standard safety features on the PHEV include:
  • Brake assist
  • Daytime running lights
  • Integrated turn signal mirrors
  • Blind spot monitor
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane departure warning
  • Electronic stability control
  • Child safety locks
  • Traction control
  • Auto-leveling headlights
  • Lane-keeping assist

Warranty coverage

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek PHEV does not come with a complimentary service plan, but it does include standard warranties that are in line with what competitors offer. Your warranty package will include:
  • Limited Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Hybrid Component Warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles

Trim levels and options

The 2021 Crosstrek PHEV is only available in one trim level, but there are lots of available add-ons. Optional upgrades include:
  • Sun/moonroof
  • Rear spoiler
  • Wheel locks
  • Trailer hitch receiver
  • Back-up camera
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Premium Harman Kardon sound system
  • Navigation system
  • Wireless cell phone hook up
  • Leather seats

2021 Subaru Crosstrek PHEV vs. 2021 Kia Niro PHEV

If your mind isn’t totally made up, let’s compare the 2021 Crosstrek PHEV to a couple of other subcompact PHEV models from 2021, starting with the
Kia Niro
. The Niro is a popular pick that offers a spacious interior, lots of features, and a lower price than the Crosstrek. However, it’s a bit sluggish on acceleration and has no all-wheel drive option.
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid
$35,345
35 mpg
90 MPGe
480 miles
2 hours
8 years or 100,000 miles
2021 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid
$29,590
46 mpg
105 MPGe
560 miles
2.5 hours
10 years or 100,000 miles
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2021 Subaru Crosstrek PHEV vs. 2021 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

Compare the Crosstrek to the 2021
Hyundai Ioniq
PHEV, and you’ll see a lot of similar complaints despite generally good reviews. The Ioniq is slow to accelerate, even once you achieve highway speeds. But its efficiency is among the top in its class. Also, it comes with an outstanding factory warranty and a lifetime hybrid battery warranty.
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid
$35,345
35 mpg
90 MPGe
480 miles
2 hours
8 years or 100,000 miles
2021 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid
$27,705
52 mpg
119 MPGe
630 miles
2 hours
Lifetime

How to save money on car insurance

When you’re thinking of buying a new car, especially a PHEV vehicle, you have to put a lot of work into researching the specs, fuel efficiency, ride quality, warranties, and price. Buying a new car is fun, but it can be stressful, too. 
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