|My name is Stephen and I drive a 2020 Subaru Crosstrek. I bought the car because I needed something that could reliably get me back and forth from home on Long Island to college in Rochester, NY, while also having enough cargo space to carry all my stuff. Rochester winters are no joke, so I knew I needed something with AWD, and for the price, it doesn’t get much better than a Subaru. I had always been interested in cars, but never had the platform to modify one and make it my own (the old family beater car was on its last legs anyway). Watching my friends get cool cars of their own and helping them install mods only made me more eager to dive in myself.
I knew going in that I wanted a manual, despite not knowing how to drive one. When I visited a Subaru dealership to just get some general information, I didn’t expect to be placing a factory order that same day for the exact spec I wanted. Fast forward three months to the day I took delivery, and me embarrassing myself on the dealer lot as I repeatedly stall on the slight incline out of the parking lot (and at just about every traffic light on the way home).
I didn’t necessarily have any plans for the car when I bought it, but as I drove it every day and noticed the things I wanted to improve, the vision began to form: a new-gen STI hatchback that I knew Subaru would never give us. From factory, the Crosstrek is good at what it was designed to do, but nowhere near what I was envisioning. A measly 152 horsepower off the naturally aspirated 2.0L FB20 wasn’t going to cut it. I did the few “power mods” that I could with an intake and exhaust, but the engine itself was the obvious limiting factor. Seeing as engine swaps are fairly common amongst Subaru models and generations, I set my end goal as a full drivetrain swap from a 19+ STI.
With that in mind, and knowing it would be a ridiculously expensive venture, I decided to start small, and work within my budget as a full time college student. Wheels, tires, and suspension were at the top of the list, but the fact that 99.9% of Crosstrek owners would never even think about lowering their car meant my suspension options were essentially nonexistent. I did my homework and eventually got myself a set of off brand coilovers, that didn’t impress me with their quality.
After a spontaneous Instagram story post in early 2021 showing off my new ISC adjustable toe arms, a conversation began between myself and the ISC team. Soon, I was taking photos, measurements, and eventually testing prototype kits to help bring a set of ISC N1s to the second generation Crosstrek. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Andrew and Shane, and I am infinitely more impressed with the N1 V2s than I was with my older set. Ride comfort, handling, and adjustability all improved tenfold, and despite how underpowered the car is, it’s a blast to carve through twisty roads.
Now, as a recent college graduate, I’m looking forward to tackling the challenge of the drivetrain swap, and already have some plans in motion to make that dream a reality. There has been a lot of trial and error with this build since I’m blazing new trails, but I’ve learned so much in just a few short years. I am extremely excited for what the future holds, and I am especially thankful that I have ISC in my corner for any of my suspension needs.
(Follow along with the build @static_xv on Instagram!)