THE SELL: An all-wheel-drive economy crossover that likes to get dirty.
THE TEST: The Crosstrek—basically a jacked-up Impreza with a whopping 8.7 inches of clearance—had enough oomph to pass RVs on Hawaii’s two-lane highways. But don’t expect a hot rod: the four-cylinder, two-liter, 148-horsepower engine is tuned for killer mileage and getting off-road. On the muddy tracks of the North Shore, it scooted over slick sections and felt more like a rally car than a five-seat hatchback with room for a shortboard.
THE VERDICT: What it lacks in pep it makes up for in practicality, with reliable handling and above-average fuel economy. 25mpg city/33 hwy
One reason the Crosstrek is the best off-road crossover in its class: a whopping 8.7 inches of ground clearance.