Coming up on 3 years in the Crosstrek, here's my experience and thoughts on it.
Purchased: May 2014
Trim/options: Premium (cloth seats), sunroof, base radio (no touchscreen), CVT, rubberized seatback/trunk/bumper protectors, spoiler, roof rack... I think that's it
Here are my initial thoughts on owning the car: 3 Month Review
Most of this still rings true but I'll try and add additional context/experiences here.
Dependability & Build Quality: The car has, overall, been rock solid. The big ruckus when the FB20 motor came out was oil consumption, but mine has been tight as a drum, following about a 5k oil change interval. It more or less still looks and drives like new, save for a scrape and ding or two that come with urban areas. The interior is rattle free, cleans up great, no premature wear on anything you touch (or anywhere else for that matter), basically looks and functions like new. The car still feels tight and solid on bad roads. The only intermittent niggle is the driver's side window very occasionally will make a "click" noise as it's raised from the fully down position. This is maybe 1 in 100 times of lowering/raising the window. I can't replicate it at will, window still works, the only thing I can think is that I don't recall it doing it before getting the tint but I also can't see how that would cause it.
Inclement Weather: This car is at home in adverse conditions. The stock Yokohama Geolanders do everything I ask of them for 3 seasons and a set of General Altimax Artics on Sparco Terra's pick up the winter duty. While it's very true that most of the time, even in terrible weather, a properly tired FWD, RWD, or "lesser" AWD (IE Honda, Toyota) would get me to my destination. What I've noticed sets Subaru apart is the confidence in which it gets me there. It's as if the car is driving on a nice spring day no matter what's actually occurring outside. The suspension takes frozen road potholes like a champ, the car takes off, turns, and stops like it's any other day. Yes a lot of this is tires, but having daily'd plenty of different layouts year round, this car is the best I've owned for adverse conditions.
If I had to complain about something here, it'd be the the windshield wipers. They do an adequate job of clearing the windshield, save for a larger-than-I'd-like spot in the lower drivers side of the windshield which when wet will obscure my view of the left front corner of the car which occasionally makes parking in tight spaces tough. Also, I may have been spoiled by rain-sensing wipers in my previous cars, but none of the intermittent settings are ever appropriate. I'm constantly switching between the 3 different intervals, and often just flicking them myself as needed. The rear wiper only has 1 setting and it's way too frequent. Having the rear spoiler may affect this.
Usability: As a single guy this car has more space than I've ever needed. It fits my 174cm skis with the seats down, will swallow a bike (but I put them on the roof anyway), has handled multiple Ikea/furniture runs. I'm actually currently driving around with my snow tires in the back since I need to clear some room at home for them and with my "roadside emergency kit" in there, I still have enough room for my work bag and a weeks worth of groceries, a light Costco run, or the cat carrier if necessary. Were I going on a road or camping trip with another couple I can envision needing to put stuff on the roof, but that's what the rack's for. When I was buying, I wanted hatchback versatility and I got it. I have plenty of room up front (being 5ft8 this isn't exactly impressive), the rear fits a couple normal sized adults comfortably enough though I haven't had anyone ride in the back for longer than maybe an hour or two. Then again 99% of my drives are under an hour.
Forward and sideways visibility is excellent and one of the reasons I ended up in this over competitors. The overall size of the car is about perfect, you have a clear understanding of where the front corners of the car is, and it's shorter than I think it is which makes tight city parking a breeze. The rear window is more than adequate but I can't say rearward visibility is any better than a CX-5, Forester, or whatever else you might cross shop this with. Interior ergonomics are very basic and straightforward, which was another plus for me. I got the base radio because I'm not crazy about flatscreens in cars (though I'm fighting a losing battle here), I like the straightforward buttons, it works like car radios have worked my entire life, and the Bluetooth connectivity has been flawless, though it will not automatically download your contacts so unless you add them in manually, just the phone number shows up on the screen when a call comes in. I haven't bothered to add in my contacts manually. I much prefer a simple, straightforward, easy to use interior over a more visually appealing but less intuitive one, and that's what I got in the Crosstrek.
Chassis/Handling/Braking: It's an economy hatchback on stilts. It's competent enough, slightly chuckable, but understeery, grip is limited (tires), basically how you'd expect a lifted Impreza to handle. The brakes are fine, not bad not great. The electric steering is weighted nicely, pretty direct, but completely lifeless. The ride is overall good, it's very occasionally crashy in the rear especially when the hatch is empty, but the car handles our sh*tty roads well, rolls over rough pavement well, and isn't too soft or floaty.
Fuel Consumption: The MPG I get is pretty good, but it's certainly not as advertised, which is why I'm putting it as a neutral trait. Both with and without the roof rack I actually get worse on the highway than in suburban driving, with city driving predictably being the lowest. I average between 27-28 mpg in a 1/4 highway 1/4 city 1/2 suburban mix, but on highway only road trips (where I remove the crossbars) I'm in the 25/26 range. I understand EPA estimates are obtained in very non-real-world situations, but in the real world of 70-80mph, needing to pass/get around truck traffic, crosswinds & elevation changes, it's highway mileage suffers. Honestly more power would probably help the highway mileage since you're not mashing it every time you need to pass or get up to speed.
Drivetrain: This should be no suprise, but this is about as uninspired a drivetrain as they come. The car is slow, the CVT is pretty good for a CVT and at this point is basically invisible to me in most of my driving (ie commute in traffic). People have called it "dangerously slow" which I still don't agree with, but it is certainly a dog. Passing on the highway takes a little more consideration than I'm used to. Dipping into the throttle for say a yellow light results in some noise but doesn't translate into much forward momentum. From a stop the car gets up to 30-40mph adequately but runs out of steam. The CVT is definitely tuned to go numerically as low as possible in any situation other than starting from a standstill. I maintain that the CVT is better suited for it than the 5sp, I drove both before buying and the standard didn't do anything other than give your left leg and right hand something to do. I've also read that the 5sp handles the torque split differently so that may have been a factor.
Overall Drive: For as much as it gets right (or maybe gets "not wrong" is more accurate), the car simply isn't very good to drive. A huge portion of this is the drivetrain, and the excellent size/visibilty/ergonomics and adequate chassis simply don't pick up enough slack for me to enjoy driving it. It's boring, uninspiring, uneventful, which is probably why they sell so well. But for anyone with an enthusiast bone in their body, it's not going to satisfy you as your only car.
Overall, this has been a good car to me, but I'm back in the market for something with more power and more of a fun factor. The Crosstrek does exactly what it's supposed to, and I can't fault it for that. I don't even really fault it's lackluster drivetrain since I knew that going in, and in my day to day driving it's not as much as a negative as much as it's the lack of a positive. The car doesn't make me want to drive it, and while it does most everything well, has been a faultless DD, the octane in my blood simply hasn't been satiated in 3 years and I'm ready for something else. Thankfully my finances are ready for something a bit nicer as well. My shortlist is currently CPO 335, CPO S4, or new Golf R.
Thanks for reading, happy to answer any questions.