GENEVA -- Subaru didn't tinker much with the appearance of the second-generation Crosstrek coming in August, but almost everything else is different.
The Crosstrek, Subaru's No. 3 seller in the U.S., rides on a new, stiffer global platform. Its 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine has been given direct injection, and the Crosstrek rides higher than the outgoing version, enabling it to be driven off-road on more rugged terrain.
Subaru unveiled the European version, the XV, last week at the Geneva auto show. The U.S. version will be nearly identical.
The 2018 Crosstrek's new platform has a lower center of gravity, which improves handling, and a body and chassis that are 70 percent more rigid than the outgoing version. Increased rigidity helps reduce body flex or bending when a vehicle is driven over rough terrain. It also helps a vehicle corner better at high speeds.
The U.S. powertrain will be a 2.0-liter flat-four engine combined with a continuously variable transmission that has a manual mode function that can be shifted with paddles behind the steering wheel. A manual transmission will also be available, Subaru spokesman Dominick Infante said.
The Crosstrek will come standard with Subaru's EyeSight safety system in Europe, which includes pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. It will be optional in the U.S. Styling remains similar to the outgoing version. The new Crosstrek is more aerodynamic at its edges, especially around the headlights and lower front fascia.
But the basic shape of the vehicle and its grille and front fascia stayed close to the predecessor.