While the seating position is generally good, its sole blemish is the same I find to exist in a large percentage of other cars as well: The distance from the pedals to the steering wheel is too short. The steering wheel needs to telescope more, away from the pedals and toward the driver. Even another inch or two would make the driving position go from good to perfect.

The interior overall is fairly simple and good, but the plastics are a bit on the cheap side compared to the industry's most recent offerings. Most switchgear such as climate controls and cruise control are as good as they can be. The ergonomics are as good as one can expect.

The interior has one major blemish and that's the infotainment system, which is horrible. I couldn't figure out how to pair my bagful of smartphones to the car's Bluetooth. When I plugged in the analog AUX jack to a few Android phones, none of them worked. Basically, a total fail.

The back seat is just spacious enough to be comfortable for three large people and the luggage space is as well-shaped as any out there, even though it is not huge for a small SUV of sorts. Speaking of the trunk, you have to slam it very hard for it to latch.

How does it drive? As with the interior, this is the right place to point out how my judgement of the Subaru's competitive standing is to be put in context of the automotive industry's recent advancements. It is clear from testing cars all days long, as I do, that regardless of manufacturer, all cars entering the market especially in the last two years have made huge advancements over the cars that preceded them.

Basically, if this test had been conducted say some time between four and seven years ago, I may have concluded that the Subaru Crosstrek was among the best in its class in terms of its handling dynamics. However, I did this test in August 2014, not in 2007.

And the goal posts have shifted, thanks to improving competition. In the Crosstrek, the suspension felt a little "loose," as if it weren't screwed on tight with the body of the car. In that way, it reminded me more of a 2011 Chevrolet Volt, which has one of my least favorite suspensions.

The steering also felt less precise than most other new cars I tested recently. It is not as bad as in a 1990s Ford Explorer or equivalent SUV, but just noticeably less pleasant than some other brand new cars such as the Kia Soul or VW Jetta, just to mention a couple.

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At least the suspension felt soft, in a good way. Combined with the very soft seat cushions it makes for a cushy and comfortable ride, which I liked a lot. The two-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine seems to have appropriate power for this vehicle.

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