New Model News

2021 Subaru Crosstrek gets more powerful engine option, new grade, enhanced safety tech

The Subaru Crosstrek has been significantly refreshed for 2021.

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

According to the commercials, love is what makes a Subaru a Subaru and there's no doubt that brand enthusiasts love the Crosstrek. Prior to the onset of the coronavirus, the Crosstrek was setting sales records with buyers opting for the subcompact SUV that's big on cargo space and comes standard with all wheel drive.

However, there are two things missing from that equation. The Crosstrek wasn't offered with a strong enough engine to make it truly playful and it didn't come with the latest safety tech - something the rest of the Subaru SUV lineup delivers. For 2021 that's all changed.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Subaru has integrated the fog lights into the front bumper. Here, the Crosstrek Sport wears unique wheel arch moldings.Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek features a fresh front end with a new bumper that includes fog lamp insert covers or fog light covers (depending on trim level chosen), plus trim level-specific design details. It will continue to ride on standard 17-inch alloy wheels in black with machine finish and have roof rails, black side cladding, and a gloss black rear roof spoiler. Buyers can get 18-inch alloys.

Buyers can choose the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque or a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder that is shared with the Forester and gets 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque.

Both engines are paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) in most trim levels. The standard six-speed manual transmission in the Base and Premium grades is paired with the smaller engine. Models equipped with the CVT get Intelligent and Sport drive modes.

The larger engine gets 27 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg combined. The smaller engine, mated with the CVT, achieves 28 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined. With the manual, the Crosstrek gets just 22/29/25 mpg city/highway/combined.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek The car is mostly unchanged at the rear and still just as capable.Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

All models will continue to be sold with standard all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring technology. Base models get a Low Shift Mode for descending hills.

Subaru is adding a Sport grade to the Crosstrek lineup for 2021. It, along with the Limited trim level, comes standard with the larger engine. The Crosstrek Sport gets dual-function X-Mode, which debuted on the 2020 Outback and includes hill descent control with snow/dirt and deep snow/mud selectable settings.

The Crosstrek Sport also gets many elements clearly inspired by the Outback Onyx Edition including specific wheel arch moldings; dark gray 17-inch alloy wheels; StarTex upholstery with yellow stitching; gunmetal and simulated carbon fiber interior trim accents; a high-grade combination meter with color LCD and yellow metallic finish trim rings; LED rear gate light; gunmetal colored grille, side mirrors, and badges; and the door trim panels, armrests, leather wrapped steering wheel, shift boot, driver information screen visor, and center console box lid all are also adorned with yellow stitching. The new model is available in seven exterior colors including new Plasma Yellow Pearl and Horizon Blue Pearl.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek The car has new front fascia that brings its looks more into line with the 2020 Outback.Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru offers the Crosstrek with a standard 6.5-inch infotainment touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, power windows with auto up/down, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, tilt and telescoping steering column keyless entry, carpeted floor mats, and more.

Available upgrades include dual USB ports, automatic headlights, power moonroof, blind spot detection with lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, push-button start, fog lights, steering responsive headlights, an 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen, navigation, Wi-Fi hot spot, CD player, satellite radio, and a Harman Kardon sound system.

The All-Weather Package, which includes heated front seats, windshield, and exterior mirrors is available.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek The interior of the Crosstrek Limited grade serves as the base of the Sport trim level.Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

Models with the CVT come standard with a suite of Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. That suite now includes adaptive cruise control with lane centering (debuted on the Outback) in addition to automatic pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, lane departure prevention, lead vehicle start alert, automatic start-stop, rear seat reminder, and SI-Drive.

The 2021 Crosstrek will arrive into retailers late summer. Base model pricing is expected to stay similar to the 2020 model, with the Sport model and larger engine models being sold at a premium.

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Southern California is one of the hotspots for pollution in the U.S.

Photo by Getty Images

California is the country's largest new vehicle sales market. It's also in the crosshairs of climate change activists fighting to change decades of regulations in an effort to improve the livelihoods of the state's residents while also benefitting the plants and animals that live in the state.

Governor Gavin Newson today issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035. This means that the sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles will be banned in favor of battery electric (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV) vehicles.

That goal is poised to eliminate 35 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions and 80 percent of the oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide, according to the State.

Data from the State shows that the transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all California's carbon pollution. Eighty percent of the that is from smog-forming pollution while 95 percent is from diesel emissions. The transportation sector includes passenger vehicles as well as shipping and other forms of mobility.

"This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change," said Governor Newsom. "For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn't have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn't make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn't melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines."

The next steps include the California Air Resources Board developing regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035. Additionally, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are mandated to be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks.

The move to all-BEV and FCEV vehicles won't eliminate the pollutants spewed by vehicles purchased prior to 2035 or the purchase of used vehicles.

This isn’t the first time California has attempted to regulate electrified vehicles into popularity. Despite the state’s efforts, BEVs, FCEVs, and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are unpopular among buyers nationwide. Out of the 17 million vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2019, just 330,000 of them were plug-in electric cars (BEVs and PHEVs) with 80 percent of those being Teslas. Only 7,000 FCEVs were sold or leased during the same period.

Additionally, “the executive order directs state agencies to develop strategies for an integrated, statewide rail and transit network, and incorporate safe and accessible infrastructure into projects to support bicycle and pedestrian options, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities” according to a release by the Governor’s office.

Earlier this year, the California Air Resources Board has approved new regulations requiring truck manufacturers to transition to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024.

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The Kia Sorento has undergone a bold redo for 2021

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

We already knew what the redesigned 2021 Kia Sorento would look like thanks to its global reveal in March. Now we now what the U.S.-spec will be getting.

The Sorento will be available to U.S. customers in a new X-Line trim. It features a one-inch lift resulting in improved approach and departure angles. The grade also includes all-wheel drive with Snow mode, and a more robust roof rack.

201 Kia Sorento SX The Sorento has a new, sturdier roof rack.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia will offer the Sorento with four engine options in the U.S. The base power plant is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine achieves 191 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. It achieves 27 mpg combined. Front-wheel drive is standard with this engine and all-wheel drive is available.

Buyers will be able to upgrade the base model Sorento to get a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood that delivers 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with an eight-speed wet-clutch dual-clutch transmission - the same as what is offered in the Hyundai Veloster N - and is expected to achieve 25 mpg combined. Front-wheel drive is standard with this engine and all-wheel drive is available.

The front-wheel drive Sonata Hybrid will feature a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a 1.49 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, 44.2 kWh electric motor, and six-speed automatic transmission.. That powertrain produces approximately 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That's more powerful than the standard four-cylinder in the 2020 Sorento but less horsepower than buyers would get with the 2020 Sorento with a V6. Kia says the model gets 37 mpg combined.

201 Kia Sorento X-Line The new Sorento X-Line model features black design accents and wheels.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

That same engine powers an all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid variant of the model that will be available in 2021 and feature 261 horsepower and 30 miles of all-electric range.

U.S. drivers will be able to configure the model with either 4+2 or 5+2 seating. The three-row SUV offers best-in-class front and rear legroom and overall interior passenger volume.

The fully upgraded interior includes a standard 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen that gets bumped up to a 10.25-inch screen in higher trim levels. An available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster is available. There are eight USB charging ports (six in the LX model) and the larger screen allows for dual-phone Bluetooth Capability.

2021 Kia Sorento The interior of the Sorento features a new design for the automaker.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Opting for a system with UVO telematics adds cloud-based connected routing that allows navigation to be adjusted in real time according to evolving traffic and road conditions. There’s also weather information for up to 25,000 cities, voice assistant functionality, keyless entry user profiles, smart speaker integration, and advanced notifications for things like extended idle times and rear occupancy alerts. The system will automatically contact 911 should it sense that an airbag has deployed.

For the first time, Kia offers the model with on-demand Find My Car functionality with surround view technology that captures images of the vehicle’s surroundings then pushes them to the Kia Access Uvo app to aid in location. Additionally, last mile navigation provides walking directions to a final destination if the vehicle is parked between 0.1 and 1.2 miles away from the destination as entered in the navigation system.

A 12-speaker Bose sound system and wireless charging capability is available.

2021 Kia Sorento A 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen is available, Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has given the Sorento a host of standard safety features including forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, and rear occupant alert. Blind spot collision avoidance assist, passenger safe exit, and blind view monitor technologies are available.

The 2021 Sorento is assembled in West Point, Georgia alongside the Telluride and the K5.

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