My girlfriend and I were looking to replace her aging Honda Civic four door. Maintenance costs were getting out of hand. Over a year, we made a short list of cars and small SUV to consider. Rather quickly, she was partial to Subaru, but was unsure whether to go with the Forester, Impreza, or Crosstrek. If you are looking at cargo space with a higher roof line, then yes.. there are other models out there that fit the bill better, and offer more accessories. However the legendary reliability, safety, and AWD capabilities kept us coming back to Subaru. We really didn't need massive cargo space, as this was a sometimes commuter car and grocery hauler; and she wanted something more "car like" than the CRV, Highlander, or Escape. Northern Virginia has dense traffic, so the lower profile and suspension offers better handling in my opinion. The narrow and shorter wheel base gives more assurance when parking in the notoriously small parking spots in this area. And the looks, in our opinion exceed those of the competition. Subaru is not known for their cutting edge technology as it pertains to entertainment, but the 2015 Limited package has everything that is needed, including Bluetooth pairing, Sirius XM, heated seats, climate controls, BACKUP CAMERA, and low tire indicator - which is pretty awesome. The auto headlights and auto dimming rear mirror work well. We opted not to go with iSight, navigation, or moon roof. The only option package that came with our car were floormats, rear bumper ledge protection, and a cargo protection mat and cargo cover. Our XV is a deep, rich red with copious metal flake. This model came with ivory leather interior, so we opted for a dealer protection package which includes free professional cleaning if anything stains, or tears. The material seems top notch, the controls are laid out well, and the steering wheel provides a lot of buttons to control the accessories without taking the hands off the wheel. There appears to be no difficult blind spots, and the view is wide open and easy. I read the professional review, and I don't find the CVT transmission and engine to be overly noisy as described, but rather normal and non fussy for it's type. The first few times I drove the Crosstrek, I thought it was a bit under powered when I needed the extra juice to get around slow drivers or to merge. But, then I discovered the joys of the PADDLE SHIFTERS on the steering wheel, and well... it was a game changer. This car is very capable if you simply downshift when you need extra power. Since I drove a standard stick shift for many years, and my Ford Thunderbird has Select-shift, it was very easy for me to understand the mechanics and make the switch when needed. The backup camera is extremely useful and gives great confidence when backing out of the driveway or a parking spot. I'm glad all cars will be outfitted with this feature by law in the near future as standard. At 1,500 miles I changed the oil and filter at Jiffy Lube, and learned that it takes synthetic oil, which is more expensive. I did this to remove the metal shavings that occur during break in, and will help ensure years of service. My only ding on the car is getting in and out. I'm not an overweight guy, nor overly tall, but you have to take care to duck when getting into the car so you don't bump your head on the roof-line. However, it's expected when purchasing a car with low, car like clearance. We've hauled lots of groceries and home goods with plenty of room. The ride is not jittery, but smooth. It's summer/fall, so we have not had the opportunity to drive in the snow, but it handles wet pavement just fine. The bottom line, you owe it to yourself to test this car. I got a really good deal, pushing the value of this car well into the best value range. It keeps getting better as we drive it. update: 09/28/2016 - We still own the Crosstrek, and it does not disappoint. It's our "family car" and grocery hauler. update: 03/28/2017 - The one thing I always wanted to change about this car was the anemic headlights. They are very yellow and "dim", right out of the box. I recently replaced the original low beams with Phillips X-Treme Vision halogen lights, after unsuccessfully finding a reliable LED replacement. It turns out this simple swap out was just the trick for a major upgrade to the light system, providing bright white light, thrown far down the road. The car still looks showroom new, and we've had no issues with the electronics, engine, transmission, or other mechanics.
This car meets and exceeds my expectations. I am the former owner of VW, and Jeep. Former seller of Honda and Toyota. I have put 3000 miles on this car, and I am impressed. Although its not a sports car, it is incredibly fun in certain situations. Its incredibly efficient, and provides enough power for real-world driving situations. Mud, snow, and steep grades...it has performed admirably in every driving situation, so far. Interior quality is on par with any comparably-priced Honda or Toyota. Its certainly not a sports car, and its not a luxury automobile. Its a Subaru! Its practical, reliable, and in some cases, merely "good enough." Overall, this seems to be a great car! I love it.
The car ride is smooth and it has a 'pep' to it. All of the buttons I need to use are available. The dash isn't too busy or complicated. I wanted a car that was simple, yet gave me enough convenience. The sound system is good once I figured out how to make adjust the bass/treble/etc. It is very roomy and comes with a plastic/rubber back to the seats - once they're folded down you don't have to worry about loading stuff in the back and getting the backs of the seats dirty since its easy to wash off. The car was my favorite compared to the other SUVs that I test drove, and the more I drive it the more I love it.
Obviously this is not the perfect vehicle for everyone, but for what I need it fits the bill well. The main complaint I have heard about this car is that the engine does not have enough power. Of course, it is always nice to have more power, but a bigger engine usually means worse gas mileage and I have not found it to be especially underpowered.... I live in San Francisco and do a lot of driving for work. On the freeway I'm getting up to 40 mpg with the non-hybrid XV. In mixed city driving I can still average around 34 mpg if I am careful about not having a led foot. I did a lot of research before deciding on this vehicle (it's my first subie)..... In my opinion there is no other vehicle in its class that shines in every aspect that the XV does. I wanted a car that I could take on rough roads in the Sierras without having to worry about getting stuck or damage my vehicle. At the same time I drive several hundred miles a week and park on city streets. The XV Crosstrek is short enough that I can fit into tight spots in the City, gets good gas mileage, has a rack for my surfboard, and can go off road with 8.7 inches of ground clearance. 8.7 inches of ground clearance, that is more like a jeep than a crossover SUV. Just to compare: Jeep Cherokee trail rated has 8.7 a Toyota Rav4 has 6.3.
My VW golf tdi was a fantastic car but it was starting to let me down in the reliability department. For its replacement I needed a car that would meet a lot of requirements: good fuel economy, off road capability, trailer towing capacity, superior safety features, creature comforts (nav, Sirius, Bluetooth, backup camera, heated leather seats, keyless start), room for an 80lbs dog, easy for older folks to get in and out of, and good road holding for driving around in the hills and back roads. The XV crosstrek does all these things and much more, and for a reasonable price. I love the technology packed into this car, the EyeSight technology and related features are wonderful. With the adaptive cruise control the car basically drives itself when on the freeway. This car is built to carry a heavy load, it drives and handles better with many bags of gravel in it than when empty. The hill hold feature is without a doubt the most awesome driveability convenience that I have ever experienced. When on jeep trails and other un-paved roads the handling and ride comfort are truly impressive. I really love this car. Ok here are some things I don't like: the seats are not uncomfortable but having owned several VW golfs, they are no match for the comfort and supportiveness of a VW seat. The controls for the moon roof are the worst I have ever seen, both in function and placement, they are impossible to find while driving without taking your eyes off the road. The heated seat controls are simarly awkward and difficult to operate while driving. The middle rear seat belt retractor mounted in the rear hatch area....why are we still doing this Subaru? It's a joke. Seat integrated middle seat belt retractor like the rest of the civilized world is using please! Finally, at times I have a love hate relationship with the CVT in this car. Most of the "shifting" is great and the car moves quickly and responsively, other times the car seems to bog down when leaving from a stop. For driving in mountain passes I find the paddle shifters are helpful for preventing the CVT from constantly jumping around looking for the right gear ratio. **UPDATE** I tried to love this car and I still believe it's an excellent car, but it wasn't right for me. If I had purchased this car with a manual transmission I very well might still be driving it. This car with the CVT is dangerously unresponsive and underpowered. I mean it's like 'you can't merge safely onto a rural two lane highway without getting hit by a semi truck' slow. It desperately needs about 30 more horsepower, if not 50 more. Also in my area I couldn't throw a brick without hitting another crosstrek the same color as mine, and they are almost never driven by men. Driving this car just didn't feel right and it was bumming me out. So I traded it in on a new VW GTI and actually saved money on my monthly payment and insurance. I still think subarus are great cars and I'm sure I will own one again some day, hopefully a faster one.