Highlights: This is the latest addition to the Subaru line up. The manual and automatic transmission in the base model engine, which is the Premium model, costs the same.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $27,790 (base model starts at $ 21,995)
Seating Capacity: 5 occupants
Standard Safety Features: all-wheel drive; ABS; daytime running lights; traction control; front, side, driver’s knee and side airbags; daytime running lights; tire pressure monitoring system; an incline start assist system, which keeps the vehicle from rolling backward on an incline, when taking off
Standard Equipment (base model): 17-inch wheels; raised roof rails; rear roof spoiler; cargo cover; cargo area grocery bag hooks; front center sliding concealed armrest; driver’s manual height adjustable front seats; a tilt steering wheel; cloth seats; heated front seats; tinted rear privacy glass; electric power assist system; a manual a/c system; a remote keyless entry system; power windows; poor door locks; and power mirrors
Standard Audio: a 6-speaker AM/FM with a CD player
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
iPod connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/148-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 25-city/33-hwy
What’s New: The XV Crosstrek is all-new to the line up for the 2012 model year.
Pros: Subaru’s sporty new compact, with the standard blacked out 17-inch alloy wheels, is available with either an automatic or manual transmission. Like every Subaru, the instrument panel offers just the basic gauges (speedometer, fuel, mileage) most of us need. The blacked-out alloy wheel on the Crosstrek adds a sporty flair to this crossover. And unlike most crossovers, the Crosstrek offers an 8.7-inch ground clearance, which is great for off roading. Subaru also claims this is the most fuel-efficient compact crossover available with an all-wheel drive system, producing 33 miles per gallon on the highway.
The Crosstrek is available in two trim levels: Premium and Limited. We had an opportunity to review the high-end Limited model, which included form-supporting leather seats, a tilt-and -telescopic steering wheel, an automatic climate control ventilation system, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, HD radio and a rear seat center armrest.
Moreover, the Crosstrek can be outfitted with such optional features as a navigation system, a sunroof and a high-end audio system, producing over 100 watts. And, by opting for the navigation system, this means that the Crosstrek will be outfitted with a limited subscription to satellite radio.
Furthermore, the versatile crossover can offer plenty of seating (and legroom) for up to five occupants — depending on if the 60/40 rear seats are folded. In fact, with the rear seats folded down, the vehicle can carry up to three golf bags. Added to that, the rear cargo area offers a cargo cover, grocery hooks and a removable waterproof cargo tray.
Cons: We just had a few quirks with Subaru’s latest entry. The vehicle lacked a push-button starter, automatic door locks and a standard satellite audio system. And we found the fuel- efficient 4-cylinder engine to be quite raspy, not as refined as what we would expect. Furthermore, it took a moment to figure how to use the quirky audio system in the Crosstrek.
Verdict: The Crosstrek would definitely be on our shopping list if we were in the market for an expressive, roomy, five passenger compact crossover, with loads of personality. While this all-wheel drive vehicle offers the versatility for driving in harsh winter weather or off-road driving, the Crosstrek is priced within reach of most of its non all-wheel drive competitors. The Crosstrek’s rough and tumble demeanor offers a sporty edge that is somewhat unexpected in a Subaru. And while most Subarus lack such high tech features like lane-changing technology and a push-button keyless starter, they do provide non technical drivers with the basic user friendly features they have to come to expect, without having to attend an extensive information session at a dealership.
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.