The XV Crosstrek is essentially a butched-up version of Subaru's compact Impreza hatchback. Underneath its SUV-themed exterior, the Crosstrek retains the Impreza's well-tuned chassis, efficient engine and attractive cabin, and it is available with Subaru's first-ever gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain.
For the latest model year, the XV Crosstrek gets a new base trim level and a host of minor updates inside and out.
Following the recipe for success established by the successful Outback wagon/crossover, the Crosstrek is decked out with rugged cues, including black side- and wheel-arch cladding as well as truck-inspired front and rear fascias. The Crosstrek also features 8.7-inches of ground clearance to go along with a stiffened suspension and standard all-wheel-drive, all of which adds up to more off-road capability than the average cute 'ute.
Under The Hood
Aside from the tough-looking visual elements and suspension changes, the Crosstrek is virtually identical to the Impreza. That means it features responsive handling that belies its SUV pretensions, along with a fuel-thrifty 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder. The mill serves up 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque and is capable of returning 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway with an optional continuously variable transmission. A standard five-speed manual lowers efficiency to 23/30 mpg.
Of note, while manual-equipped Crosstreks feature a simple permanent 50/50 split AWD system, CVT models receive a more sophisticated variable system with an electronic clutch.
Buyers after increased fuel economy can opt for the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, Subaru's first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle. The setup consists of the regular Crosstrek's 2.0-liter flat-four matched with a CVT, a 13.4-horsepower electric motor and a 13.5-kilowatt nickel metal hydride battery pack located under the trunk floor.
Thanks in part to a standard start/stop system, the all-wheel drive hybrid sips fuel at a rate of 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.
With plenty of soft-touch materials and a simple, cohesive overall design, the Crosstrek's cabin is a pleasant place to ride out long journeys. Crosstrek-specific upholstery is the only interior change from the Impreza. Stowage space is an ample 22.3 cubic feet with the rear seats raised, while a full 51.9 cubes are available should one fold the rear perches flat. Standard cargo accouterments include a cover that can be pulled into place or removed, a removable waterproof cargo tray, tie-down hooks and grocery bag hooks.
The interior's only significant downside is a cumbersome optional navigation system that's overly fussy and best skipped for an aftermarket unit.
Buyers can choose from base, Premium or Limited trim level Crosstreks.
The base trim level comes with a generous list of standard features including a rear-view camera, a 6.2-inch infotainment system, a tilt/telescoping steering multi-function steering wheel, power windows, door locks and mirrors, carpeted floor mats and a temperature gauge. It is exclusively offered with a five-speed manual transmission.
The Premium trim adds A/C, power windows and locks, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system with iPod integration in addition to USB and AUX ports, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and 17-inch alloy wheels. The manual transmission comes standard, while options include the CVT, a sunroof, and the aforementioned nav system that comes bundled with a rear-vision camera.
The Limited trim features the CVT as standard and also adds leather upholstery, welcome lighting, automatic climate control, an LCD audio head unit, a 7-inch infotainment system, turn signals integrated into the door mirrors and auto on/off headlights. A package combining both the moonroof and navigation is optional on Limiteds.
The Hybrid comes standard with a moonroof, extra sound insulation, 17-inch alloy wheels and heated seats. Leather upholstery and navigation are available at an extra cost, while bespoke trim inside and out set the model apart from non-hybrid Crosstreks.
All Crosstrek models feature dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to a driver's knee airbag, traction and stability control systems and a brake override system.
Buyers looking for more safety features can order the Crosstrek with Subaru's well-regarded EyeSight technology.
The Crosstrek is essentially a wagon with a lift kit and SUV-like styling. If that sounds familiar, its because it's essentially the definition of crossover vehicles like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue, all of which could be considered rivals to the Subaru.