2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek SUV (2.0L 4-cyl. AWD CVT Automatic)
Driven On 2/12/2013
Priced below many competitors, Subaru's XV Crosstrek offers several advantages. Its all-wheel-drive system is more advanced than many small crossover SUVs and its fuel economy is on par with the best small crossovers. It does offer less cargo space than most competitors and top-of-the-line XVs are only available with a continuously variable transmission.
PerformanceThe XV's overall performance is average for the segment. Its acceleration is slower than many competitors, but its handling is good and it offers light off-road abilities.
Slower than many competitors thanks to a smaller engine and CVT transmission.
Average braking performance is neither impressive nor troubling.
Electric assist steering provides average feedback and relatively light steering effort.
The XV is blessed with more carlike handling than many competitors but is still softly sprung and damped to accommodate light off-road use. There's ample roll, dive and pitch.
Most drivers will not have trouble with the XV's tall, softly sprung body in everday use. Otherwise, its CVT will require adjusting.
Remarkably capable off-road thanks to active torque distribution and well-calibrated electronic stability control. And the XV Crosstrek has better clearance than the Impreza Sport.
ComfortComfort is average in the XV. Its suspension is compliant and offers ample travel to soak up road irregularities. There's more body roll, pitch and dive than some competitors, however.
Seat comfort is good as is adjustability. Support is minimal, however.
Ride comfort is good in the XV. There's an abundance of wheel travel to accommodate uneven terrain and damping is adequate but mild.
At cruise the XV isn't any louder than its competitors, but acceleration makes the engine drone because of continuously variable transmission.
InteriorOverall, the XV's interior is taken directly from the Impreza so don't expect upscale timmings. Still, this is a fairly functional and utilitarian setup that should serve most people well.
Three-knob HVAC controls are easy to use, but navigation system interface is awkward and complex as is Bluetooth phone pairing.
Taller seat height than standard Impreza makes entry and exit easier, but in this regard the XV is still more like a car than a small SUV.
There's less sense of space inside the XV than there is inside a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, but it's certainly not confining.
We observed no obvious blind spots driving the XV. Its height isn't enough to feel like a small SUV, but there's a big greenhouse providing adequate rear-quarter views.
The XV 's cargo area is smaller than its SUV competitors--both behind the rear seats and when the seats are folded flat.
ValueThere's good value in the XV if you're looking for a carlike driving experience and all-weather/off-road functionality. Cost is well below most competitors, too.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Nothing in the XV feels fancy, but it also doesn't feel cheap. The interior materials feel reasonably durable and like they'll stay together. We didn't witness any squeaks or rattles.
There's a more advanced all-wheel-drive system offered here than in many small SUVs which increases all-weather and off-road usability. The trade-off is less interior space and a less SUV-like feel.
The XV does cost less than many competitors--by thousands, not hundreds, too.
We recorded better fuel economy in the XV during testing than in any small SUV except Honda's CR-V.
Basic 3 yrs/36,000 miles, Roadside 3 yrs/36,000 miles, Drivetrain 5 yrs/60,000 miles. These are very average warranty numbers for the segment.
All Subarus offer a certain unique appeal that's not available in more mainstream offerings and the XV is no exception. The CVT will drive away some buyers, but many won't notice. Plus, there's a manual transmission available.
Fun To DriveIf being different is your thing and you like a little Subaru frump, the XV might just be your car. It's not exactly fun, but it is highly utilitarian.
Don't plan on setting any on-ramp records in the XV. It's tall and soft which pays off in the dirt, but it's not fast on the road.
There's some solid personality here. The CVT is probably the only downside, but many buyers will prefer it to a manual transmission. Otherwise, this is functional machine with decent looks.
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