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On the road, the new Crosstrek is certain to please Subaru lovers and new buyers alike. The ride is smooth, the car is well controlled, and the AWD system works so well you can forget it's there.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The 2018 Crosstrek is built on the new Subaru Global Platform. This is an entirely new chassis design that dramatically improves stability and rigidity over all types of terrain.Subaru's 2018 Crosstrek crossover SUV is mostly new and will be available in the next few weeks. I say mostly new because according to Subaru, 95 percent of the parts have changed. I got a chance to drive the 2018 model last week, and the improvements are impressive.

The biggest change is that the 2018 Crosstrek is built on the new Subaru Global Platform. This is an entirely new chassis design that dramatically improves stability and rigidity over all types of terrain. To go with the stiffer frame, Subaru also redesigned the Crosstrek suspension for a smoother and more controlled ride. Then they added insulation and noise-reducing windshield glass to make the new car quiet inside.

The 2018 Crosstrek comes with a state-of-the-art technology suite, including support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Subaru's innovative EyeSight system of convenience and safety features. The EyeSight system includes adaptive cruise control, automatic pre-collision braking, and lane departure warning. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, automatic high beam control, and steering-responsive headlights are also available in the top trim.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek has ample cargo space under the rear hatch, especially with the rear seat folded down.One thing that hasn't changed much is the engine and driveline package in the Crosstrek. You still get the basic 2.0-liter horizontally opposed engine, now rated at 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. You can choose from a continuously variable transmission with any trim or a 6-speed manual in the base or premium trim. If you care about performance, you'll want the manual transmission.

Subaru has kept the new Crosstrek affordable. The base trim Crosstrek 2.0i starts at $22,710 inclusive of all fees. That gets you the manual transmission and Subaru's legendary all-wheel-drive. The CVT adds $1,000 to the price, but you get X-mode for off-road driving, and hill descent control. The base vehicle also gets a rear-view camera, 6.5-inch multimedia touchscreen, power windows, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The best value is found in the mid-level Premium trim. This trim still offers the manual transmission, but adds heated front seats, leather steering wheel, and Subaru's Starlink connectivity suite for $23,510 with the manual transmission or $24,510 with the CVT. Limited trim adds the CVT as standard equipment and leather upholstery, plus a few more luxury items. The EyeSight system is optional on Premium and Limited Crosstreks, but only with the CVT.

On the road, the new Crosstrek is certain to please Subaru lovers and new buyers alike. The ride is smooth, the car is well controlled, and the AWD system works so well you can forget it's there. If you need to ascend or descend hills, the X-mode is easy and confident. The bottom line is that the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is the best Crosstrek yet.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The optional X-mode with the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek helps with off-road driving and included hill descent control.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek

Base price: $22,710

Price as tested: $27,210

Type: Compact crossover SUV

Engine: 2.0-liter horizontally opposed 4 (152 hp, 145 lbs-ft)

Transmissions: 6-speed manual or continuously variable

EPA estimated mileage: 23/29

Overall length: 175.8 inches

Curb weight: 3,230 pounds

Final assembly: Gunma, Japan

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