Words: Don Cheng
Photography: Stephen Spyropoulos
Published: February 28, 2017
The unfortunate truth nowadays is that a lot of these “limited edition” and “special edition” models that automakers roll out aren’t all that special. Usually meant for cars that are in their final model year for that generation, they contain gimmicky features like a unique paintjob, fancy name, and a few interior extras that give the car some extra influence over buyers and to extend its lifespan.
However every once and a while, manufacturers hit the nail right on the head. A genuine example of a special edition that truly feels special is the 2017 Subaru Crosstrek Kazan Edition.
Subaru’s wildly popular, slightly off-kilter Crosstrek (the name no longer includes “XV”) transitions from 2016 to 2017, pointing to the end of this generation model. The existence of this Kazan signals retirement, and the recent launch of the Subaru Impreza on the new platform (Crosstrek rides on the old one) is another sign of things to come.
The Kazan Edition (Japanese for “volcano”) comes in a bright Pure Red paintjob that stands out among the other blandly painted Crosstreks. Furthermore, it gains gloss-black badging, an all-black mesh grille, a spoiler, and five-spoke 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
Inside are matching red highlights and upholstery stitching, and red ambient lighting to give the Kazan just the right feel for someone looking for a spiced up (and very red) crossover. A sure sign that this car is geared for the enthusiast – quite literally – is that it comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission. (a CVT is available too if you feel so inclined).
Starting at an MSRP of $26,495, the Kazan is great value for what its worth but it’s always hard pulling the trigger when a brand new model is right on the horizon. But you’re buying a car that’s been proven on the road (and our Managing Editor seems to like it a lot too), and the Crosstrek is a compact SUV that checks off a lot of boxes. It is ready for both the urban sprawl environment and off the beaten path with the confidence from the all-wheel drive system that will take you wherever you need to go. Plus, thanks to its top-notch safety ratings, the Subaru makes it an easy choice for first-time drivers and families.
With plenty of room to go around, the Crosstrek finds that perfect middle ground between hatchback and SUV by combining the best of both without compromise. The cargo storage capacity alone is nothing to gawk at – you can fill it with over 632 L of space with the rear seats up. The rest of the interior is packed with impressive features, including a 6.2-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth capability, heated front seats, heated and foldable side mirrors, and a power tilting and sliding sunroof, and aluminum sport pedals.
On the road, the Crosstrek maneuvers well and is fairly exciting to drive, though it is not as agile as the Impreza hatchback upon which it’s based. The steering is very responsive, linear, and well weighted but actual feedback is very minimal. Although body lean is not excessive due to the motor’s low center of gravity, the sensation is exacerbated by the raised ride height. The AWD system is unobtrusive and when equipped with the manual transmission, it will split power evenly 50/50 front to rear. CVT-outfitted Crosstreks on the other hand are more front-wheel biased, which can throw off the cornering ability during extreme situations.
Although the powertrain that goes with the Crosstrek can be best described as an aging one, it still makes a decent amount of power and a pleasant noise when you get on the throttle. The 2.0-litre flat four-cylinder engine under the hood can net a decent 9.2 L/100km combined which isn’t too bad for this AWD crossover segment.
Despite its generous ground clearance, this Subaru isn’t intended for hardcore off-roading. It doesn’t have low-range gearing or the added underbody protection needed to go unscathed after driving through the rocky terrain. However, it is certainly capable on muddy, snowy, or deeply rutted roads (or even that parking lot with unnervingly high curbs). Limited off-roading driving showed me that traction and ground clearance are surprisingly effective, but you should still pick your battles wisely.
It was difficult to find a genuine complaint about this Crosstrek Kazan. This may land me in hot water with enthusiasts but the manual transmission didn’t excite me. I wish I could have raved about it but it is just satisfactory. Only having five ratios is not bad but the shifter feels imprecise. Unlike other Subaru manuals that I have tried, there is no engaging feature on reverse except to dump down into it and wait for the reverse camera to show up on the screen. Otherwise it is just a guessing game.
The clutch was also very light with almost no feel for the grabbing point. I would commonly find myself over revving the car waiting for the clutch to engage, only to have the car suddenly leap forward like an Olympic sprinter after a false start. Furthermore, the interior noise level is quite high especially with winter tires equipped.
When you cross-shop with its competitors, the Crosstrek begins to lose its sparkle. The infotainment system has fallen behind the ranks in responsiveness, clarity, and functionality. The Kazan Edition, though special as it is, does not come with navigation, and it can’t be simply added on like other infotainment systems (Mazda’s Connect system for example). Instead you’d have to step up to the Crosstrek Limited trim just to gain the Navigation feature. Of course this wouldn’t be so bad if it had Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but neither are available.
I have a good feeling that most of these shortcomings will likely be addressed in the updated Crosstrek for 2018. If you are in the market for a CUV, the Crosstrek is definitely worth checking out. But if the purchase can wait and you have the patience, I would wait to see the new generation revealed before making a buying choice. Our Chief Editor had fond memories driving the new Impreza a few months back, and if the buzz and his impressions were any indication of the future Crosstrek, that means only good things are to come. But if a capable AWD crossover is required in your garage at this very moment, the local Subaru dealership wouldn’t be bad place to start.
型号 Model: 2017 Subaru Crosstrek Kazan Edition
顏色 Paint Type: Pure Red
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $26,495
試車售價 Price as Tested: $26,395
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,635
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,450 / 1,780 / 1,615
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,410
引擎 Engine: 2.0-litre BOXER four-cylinder
最大馬力 Horsepower: 148 hp @ 6,200 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 145 lb-ft @ 4,200 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 5-speed manual
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 10.3 / 7.8 / 9.2
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 10.2