It's a challenge to let your teenager drive. Their brains aren't fully developed to grasp spatial perception, and they're also easily driven to distraction by friends, technology, and hormones. Yeesh. What a quagmire. So, what's a parent to do when choosing a car for their teenager to drive (borrow, not own!). There are numerous considerations to take into account. Our vote is the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek.
The biggest change in the 2021 Crosstrek is the upgraded engine, but it also gets refreshed to look more attractive. The new front bumper and grille give the Crosstrek a more aggressive look. There's also a brand new Crosstrek Sport that makes the Crosstrek just a bit more rugged than its already capable self. We take a look at the new Crosstrek as the perfect car for your teenage driver, and there's good reason to seriously consider it more than that Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat he's been pining for.
It Has More Power But Not Too Much Power
The last time we drove the Crosstrek, we liked it quite a bit. The dearth of power from the rather tepid 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine was its Achilles' heel, unfortunately. With a mere 152 horses mated to a CVT, it felt almost unsafe in certain situation like left turns into high-speed traffic, as well as fast highway on ramps and passing situations.
Subaru has seen fit to pull the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder from the Legacy sedan and Outback wagon and place it in the higher trimmed Crosstreks. The engine is good for a healthy 182 horsepower and should provide give the Crosstrek the oomph it needs to get going when necessary. We think this is the ideal motor for the car since it will shave some acceleration time off the Crosstrek but not provide horsepower levels teens shouldn't have at their disposal. We're not fans of the CVT, but it saves on gas, which parents will also love.
It's Supremely Safe
There aren't many small crossovers that do as well as the Crosstrek in safety tests. It gets five stars from the NHTSA and the coveted Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS. Those are strong recommendations and reason enough to get the Crosstrek for your teenager to drive.
The standard safety features now include the comprehensive EyeSight that monitors traffic movement, optimizes cruise control, and warns the driver when departing from the lane. There's also available Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Keep Assist, and even Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering. These are all great features to have that will make up for a lot of sub-standard teen driving skills. Although they can't replace good use of eyes, a brain, and reflexes, they will certainly help.
It's One of the Few Crossovers With Standard AWD
Like all Subies, the Crosstrek automatically comes with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive that diverts power from front to back and side-to-side, providing ideal traction in virtually all situations. The new Sport trim also comes with a special Snow/Dirt and a Deep Snow/Mud setting for the standard all-wheel-drive system, giving the Crosstrek added sure-footedness in varying terrain situations.
Parents should absolutely consider it given the fact that many "crossovers" don't even have standard all-wheel drive, and some don't even offer it as an option such as the Hyundai Venue or the Kia Soul. These are crossover poseurs that might drive well but fail to provide the security and traction of an all-wheel drive setup. For all these reasons, the Subaru Crosstrek with the upgraded 2.5-liter engine is an excellent choice that should provide peace of mind for parents and safety for teen drivers.