Highlights: The Subaru XV Crosstrek hybrid is the latest addition to the Subaru line up. It’s the brand’s first hybrid.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $26,820
Seating Capacity: 5 occupants
Standard Safety Features: all-wheel drive; ABS; rear camera; daytime running lights; traction control; front, side, driver’s knee and side airbags; daytime running lights; tire pressure monitoring system; audible vehicle approach pedestrian alert system; foldable exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals; and 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; an automatic start/stop system; an electric motor; lithium battery; active grille shutters; raised roof rails; electric power assist system; rear roof spoiler; a raised hybrid suspension system; cargo cover; cargo area grocery bag hooks; front center sliding concealed armrest; a rear center armrest with dual cup holders; driver’s manual height adjustable front seats; a tilt steering wheel; paddle shifters for the steering wheel; cloth seats; heated front seats; tinted rear privacy glass; electric power assist system; an automatic a/c system; a remote keyless entry system; chrome exterior door handles; automatic on/off headlights; 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
Hybrid Warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/148-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 29-city/33-hwy
Towing Capacity: 4,200 lbs
What’s New: The XV Crosstrek is the brand’s first hybrid.
Pros: The Plasma Green XV Crosstrek boldly announced that there was something different about this Subaru. Indeed there was. This new environment color from the automaker was created specifically for the brand’s first hybrid.
Now while Subaru’s XV Crosstrek is available with either an automatic or a manual transmission, the hybrid model is only available with an automatic transmission only. However, Subaru has managed to slip in paddle shifters for those still yearning for a manual.
And like every Subaru, the instrument panel offers just the basic gauges (speedometer, fuel, mileage and hybrid info too) most of us need. So with the green exterior color, the hybrid blue gauges and the blacked-out alloy wheel on our XV Crosstrek, this crossover uses a multitude of colors to standout in the crowd.
Furthermore, unlike most crossovers, the XV Crosstrek offers an 8.7-inch ground clearance, which is great for off roading or plowing through a snow storm.
The brand-new XV Crosstrek hybrid is available in two trim levels. We had an opportunity to review the well-equipped base model. Yet, for those yearning more than the basics, they can opt for the higher end Touring model which offers a navigation system, satellite radio, a power moonroof and leather seats. The Touring model also carries a price tag of approximately $30,000.
Moreover, 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. Even with this being a hybrid, the XV Crosstrek still offers virtually the same amount of room as the gasoline only model.
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: Subaru’s latest entry lacked a push-button starter, automatic door locks and a standard satellite audio system just like the gasoline model. Added to that, we found the fuel- efficient 4-cylinder engine to be quite raspy, not as refined as what we would expect.
More importantly, while hybrids are assumed to be more fuel-efficient, critics have found this not to be the case with the Subaru’s first hybrid. The city mileage only increases 4-mpg, when compared to a non hybrid, according to fueleconomy.gov. Hybrids usually have larger mileage gains to justify to the price difference. The XV Crosstrek hybrid came up short in the gas mileage area.
Verdict: The XV 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 the hybrid is new to the game and one of the first gasoline alternatives to offer an all-wheel drive system, buyers would be better off going with the non hybrid XV Crosstreak, which produces slightly lower mileage, but on average will save the buyer about $3,000.
Despite the hybrid not producing more mileage gains, the XV Crosstrek continues to offer the versatility for driving in harsh winter weather or off-road driving. The XV Crosstrek is priced within reach of most of its non all-wheel drive competitors. The XV Crosstrek’s rough and tumble demeanor offers a sporty edge that is somewhat unexpected in a Subaru.
And while most Subarus, with the exception of the 2015 Legacy, lacked 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 that does not require several trips back to the dealership, seeking a course in technology.
So, while the hybrid model may not be the right move right now, we will still place our stamp of approval on the XV Crosstrek gasoline-only model. For now, Subaru should consider following Lincoln’s approach with their first hybrid, offering it at the same price as the gasoline model, although Lincoln’s hybrid produces way more city highway miles than its non hybrid model.
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 www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.