The first Subaru of 2021 made its way to our home for a week in January, and we were thrilled that it was the all-new Crosstrek Sport model. We have always enjoyed not only the Subaru lineup, but especially this small crossover model.

We were not disappointed with our week that included a trip up to Farmington Bay on Saturday and a bunch of running around Utah Valley, where we were able to manage a very nice 34.1 miles per gallon, not only up and back, but for the entire week.

This year, Subaru has upped its game in the new Crosstrek and has given the popular compact SUV a new, stronger engine as an option. A 2.5-liter Subaru Boxer power plant can now be had under the hood that produces a very nice 182 horsepower, and 176 foot-pounds of torque to go with it.

This engine is coupled to the wheels via a CVT (continuously variable transmission) as are most Subaru models. We do feel that Subaru does a very nice job with this type of transmissions making it feel as natural as possible to what most folks are used to, especially us in our advanced-age status.

The Saturday of our test ride had the weather change from a small snowstorm the day before to a beautiful winter day, so we took advantage of that with our trip up to Farmington. There was a method to our madness of just randomly heading out on a Saturday and that was to get a glimpse at the many bald eagles that are said to spend time on the bay from January through March.

The drive to Farmington was made so much easier because of the Subaru Eyesight system. What this does is add an extra pair of eyes and even an extra foot on the brake if needed. There really are two new sensors that are located on each side of the rearview mirror at the top of the windshield that continually scan the road ahead and to the sides of the vehicle.

This made it possible for the Crosstrek to alert us if we started to wander outside of the lane, and would also nudge the vehicle back into the lane with Subaru’s version of lane keep assist. We found that the system performed very well even in the dark of night on the concrete freeway, where the lines are sometimes hard to see. It even alerted us if we seemed to be weaving back and forth in the lane, something that might happen with drowsy driving.

It also came with adaptive cruise control that would keep the Crosstrek at a certain distance behind the next vehicle in the lane, even bringing it to a complete stop if necessary, the engineers have even taken this technology one step further by providing an audible beep when the car ahead clears, allowing the Crosstrek to return to the set speed.

This system also would hit the brakes if it thought that the Crosstrek was in eminent danger of a front collision. It also will reduce throttle control and apply brakes if the danger is not as imminent as it may appear, thus either avoiding or greatly diminishing a front-end collision. With the Eyesight system, IIHS gives the Crosstrek the highest rating possible when it comes to front-end collisions.

We were able to take the Crosstrek through muddy terrain as the snow from the night before had melted out on the dikes in Farmington Bay that we had to drive on to get better access to viewing the many different species of birds that make this part of Utah their home for the winter months.

With temperatures hitting the low 50-degree mark in early February, it turned out to be a very nice day to be literally out on the water, and we would recommend some kind of SUV to make the trek as most of it was basically in the mud and dirt.

We saw over 100 bald eagles either flying in the air or sitting on small ice-like islands scattered throughout Farmington Bay, well worth the trip up and even more so in the new Crosstrek Sport.

New also this year in the sport model only are a hill descent control along with a deep snow and mud function that we kind of got to use but would have gotten a better shot if the overnight storm had produced more than an inch of the white stuff.

Inside, the Sport was very comfortable with new water repellant seats made of a durable great StartTex upholstery with a beautiful yellow stitching on them that continued through to the dashboard and steering wheel.

Our test ride came with an upgraded 8-inch infotainment screen that we would highly recommend as it was easier to see and use throughout the week. We have always found that in this department bigger usually is better as we found having connected our phones to use Apple CarPlay for directions to the bay.

The Crosstrek also features Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive, where the engineers have split the power 50-50 to the front and rear wheels, it also will distribute more power to any wheel where it is needed when driving on uneven terrain or through a patch of snow. This all-wheel drive is standard on the Subaru where much of the competition will start with a front-wheel-drive-only version.

The new Subaru Crosstrek Sport was a great ride for a week, especially with the new engine upgrade — always great to get more horsepower no matter what the vehicle is!

Base price: $26,495

Price as driven: $29,145

Craig and Deanne Conover have been test-driving vehicles for over eight years and have had the opportunity to drive many makes and models. They receive a new car each week for a weeklong test drive and adventure. They both love having the unique opportunity of trying out new cars. They reside in Springville.

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