While Zac Palmer was busy reviewing the more powerful 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Sport in New York, I was in California with a decidedly slower Crosstrek Premium stuffing it with luggage. Fun fun!
I luggage tested the previous-generation Crosstrek, making this only the second time I’ll have generation-to-generation comparisons to make (the first was the Civic Hatchback). On paper, the 2024 Crosstrek has lost 0.9 cubic-foot of space, which could be significant when we’re only talking 19.9 cubes. The last one was able to hold more than its volume figure would suggest, though, thanks to a usefully wide cargo area free of any odd spaces.
Let’s see how the new one does. Oh, but one more thing: you can consider this a luggage test for the 2024 Subaru Impreza … cause when it comes to the cargo area, it’s the same car.
The outgoing Crosstrek is on the right. It’s hard to tell with the lighting and body color, but doesn’t it look like the new models’ liftgate has a slightly steeper angle? That could certainly explain the cubic-foot difference.
Also, since we’re doing that side-by-side: Note this test vehicle did not have a cargo cover. Thankfully, since the two generations are so similar and I could clearly see where the cover cartridge mounting points would be, I could easily guestimate the amount of bags able to fit without removing the cover cartridge.
As with every luggage test, I use two midsize roller suitcases that would need to be checked in at the airport (26 inches long, 16 wide, 11 deep), two roll-aboard suitcases that just barely fit in the overhead (24L x 15W x 10D), and one smaller roll-aboard that fits easily (23L x 15W x 10D). I also include my wife’s fancy overnight bag just to spruce things up a bit (21L x 12W x 12D).
And here’s your difference!
See how the bag is propped up on the right side (zoomed in below left), but not in the last-generation? It therefore would NOT fit under the cargo cover in the 2024. This means the new model is a fraction of an inch narrower between the wheel wells. I know this because my smaller blue bag is a fraction of an inch narrower than the medimum-sized black ones and does fit (below right)
Also, in case you’re wondering, the fancy bag was too long to fit between the cargo cover and tailgate originally. That’s not going to change this time around.
OK, let’s remove the imaginary cargo cover and talk cargo area length. The big blue bag is too big to fit in the outboard portions of the cargo area standing up on its side, but does fit when placed in the middle.
Despite the ever-so-slightly narrower cargo floor, the same number of bags fit in the 2024 Crosstrek as fit in the previous-generation model. The bags are just swapped around a bit.
BUT! Note the fancy bag. While it will still fit with the liftgate closed, note that it’s a bit more squished now. If full, it wouldn’t fit in that location. This probably confirms my suspicion about the liftgate angle being the culprit for that missing cube.
Now, note that I said it wouldn’t fit in THAT location. It will still fit, but with a compromise.
Put the two medium-sized bags up top in the middle and there’s more than enough space for an unsquished fancy bag and almost-as-much leftover space as the old Crosstrek managed with almost-the-same formation.
But here’s the problem.
First, buh-bye rear visibility. This goes against luggage test protocol, so the original Tetris will be the official placement/amount/whatever. Yes, official. I have these notarized and everything.
Second, the bags are just kissing the glass. Another fraction of an inch and this is totally no bueno.
OK, moving on to some other Crosstrek cargo-related things.
The new Crosstrek has bottle holders! On both sides!!! My money is on them passing Snyder’s Nalgene Test with flying colors.
There are three attachment points on each side of the cargo area. They are almost certainly intended for cargo nets and such, but they could be useful in other ways.
Here is the cargo area light. Its placement at the side is less useful than in the liftgate because stuff will block it, but note the manually operated switch. This would let you leave the liftgate open without draining the battery with a light unnecessarily on.
There’s not much under-floor storage besides those tiny trays adjacent to the bottle holders, nor does the Crosstrek have the sort of dual-level cargo floor that’s prevalent. It does have a compact spare, however, which it definitely wouldn’t have if there was a dual-level floor.
If you’re doing outdoor adventuring, I’d probably want the spare over the extra space. Especially since …
A Crosstrek without a roof box or something else strapped to the roof is an unusual sight — at least when I lived in Oregon. As such, let’s talk about its roof rails! These are redesigned for 2024.
They were previously rounded on both ends, whereas the new ones feature a more angled, upright bracket on each end. These also follow the contour of the roof more closely, leading me to believe the new Crosstrek’s roof is straighter and less arched.
Either way, the Crosstrek’s standard roof rails continue to be of the raised variety that makes it easier to move racks from car to car, as opposed to needing new feet that clasp onto flush roof rails or, worse, pricey OEM-made crossbars that must be bolted into fixed mounting points within faux rails. In short: these are better.
By the way, the Crosstrek’s cargo area may be ever-so-slightly smaller than before, but it remains an average amount compared to subcompact crossovers.