We're trying to decide between the Impreza--best gas mileage for AWD hatchback. The Crostrek is a cool looking vehicle and fun to drive, but unless you need the ground clearance (8" versus 5"), the Impreza is probably the better bet. The Crosstrek gets worse gas mileage, can be squirely in high winds at freeway speeds, is noisier, and costs several K more. Have driven both and are going with the Impreza Sport Limited.
If we didn't want AWD, would probably go with a Masza 3 in this price range. My other car is a Lexus ct 200h and it is a fabulous vehicle--incredibly comfortable, great gas mileage, fun to drive. With Yakima Whispbar racks, it does a great job hauling 3 kayaks around. We're trading a Prius in on the Impreza to get AWD.
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