You Can Buy a Cheaper FWD Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid in Japan

The whole point of a Crosstrek is to be an off-road-ready hatchback, so doesn’t a front-wheel drive version sort of defeat the purpose?

byNico DeMattia|
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All-wheel drive has sort of always been the Subaru Crosstrek's thing. I mean that's the whole point of buying something called the Crosstrek, right? And, with a starting price of $24,870, it's affordable enough that customers don't complain about all-wheel drive being standard, even in climates where two-wheel drive will do. However, in Japan, there's now an even cheaper, front-wheel drive version of the new third-generation Crosstrek.

This new model is the first front-wheel drive version of the Crosstrek, a car whose reputation was built on being capable off-road. In addition to coming with a front-wheel drive version, the Japanese-market Crosstrek will only be available as a hybrid. The "e-Boxer" powertrain is made up of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with 143 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque, paired to an electric motor that makes 13 horsepower and 48 pound-feet. There's no manual transmission option for the hybrid, only a CVT.

When you get rid of the Crosstrek's all-wheel drive, make it hybrid and CVT-only, it sort of just becomes a slightly taller Impreza hatchback. Aside from the black plastic body cladding and slightly lifted ride height, I'm not sure why customers would choose a front-wheel drive Crosstrek over an Impreza.

The third-generation Crosstrek hasn't hit U.S. shores just yet and will likely do so sometime in 2024. When it eventually does come to the U.S. market, it will be interesting to see if it brings the front-wheel drive model with it. U.S. customers have come to love the Crosstrek's rugged off-road nature, many of whom order theirs with manual transmissions. So it's hard to imagine a front-wheel drive Crosstrek selling well in the 'States. There will of course be all-wheel drive versions available, as there are in Japan.

In Japan, the front-wheel drive Subaru Crosstrek starts at ¥2,662,000 ($19,819), which is quite a bit cheaper than the all-wheel drive version, at ¥3,234,000 ($23,714). When the 2024 Crosstrek comes to the U.S. market, it will likely carry a starting price that's a bit higher than the current car's. However, if a front-wheel drive model does make it across the Pacific, it will likely need a hefty discount for customers to be interested.

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