The Subaru XV Crosstrek might be marketed as crossover, but that usually implies some sort of SUV with carlike attributes. In actuality, the Crosstrek is more like a car with SUV-like attributes. Much like Subaru has done in the past with its Outback model, the smaller XV Crosstrek hatchback features an elevated ride height, a more off-road-ready suspension and rugged looks.
As it's based on the regular Impreza hatchback, the XV comes with a four-cylinder "boxer" engine mated to an available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). That combo delivers decent acceleration and above-average fuel economy. Add a nicely equipped passenger cabin and ample cargo capacity and you have a go-anywhere vehicle that should appeal to active outdoorsy types who might find Subaru's other offerings too pricey or thirsty.
Current Subaru XV Crosstrek Specs
The Subaru XV Crosstrek is an all-new model for 2013. While Subaru's all-wheel-drive lineup has developed a reputation for being unflappable in the face of some truly nasty driving conditions, this variation of the Impreza takes things to another level in dicey situations both on- and off-road.
The XV Crosstrek is offered in two trim levels, the entry-level Premium and top-of-the-line Limited. The base model comes standard with a number of desirable features including 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rack side rails, heated front seats, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an iPod interface. The Limited adds automatic climate control, leather upholstery, rearview camera and a premium audio system with an upgraded touchscreen interface. Major options include a sunroof and a touchscreen navigation system.
Under the hood, the Subaru Crosstrek gets a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual and a CVT. All-wheel drive is standard.
The interior is pretty minimalist in terms of design, but the overall quality of the materials is high. Front and rear passengers enjoy a good amount of head- and legroom, and the standard heated seats are a nice touch given Subaru's popularity in cold-weather states. Folding down both sides of the 60/40-split rear seatbacks creates a flat load floor and 51.9 cubic feet of cargo space, a number that's on par with compact hatchbacks rather than small SUVs.
On the road, the Crosstrek's 2.0-liter engine delivers decent acceleration both around town and on the highway. When equipped with the CVT, however, the engine suffers from a noisy, droning tone that gets tiresome, especially when climbing hills. The CVT's true benefit shows up at the gas pump in the form of excellent fuel economy.
Despite the Crosstrek's increased ride height compared to the regular Impreza, handling is still fairly respectable on the pavement. And when the going gets tough, that extra amount of ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive makes it possible to handle light-duty trails without issue. Overall, we like the Subaru XV Crosstrek and think it's a solid pick for someone wanting a hatchback that can serve as a daily driver but also make it easy to access outdoor recreational activities.
Read the most recent 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek review.