Safe and reliable, the Subaru XV Crosstrek delivers terrific value

Subaru XV CrosstrekSubaru-XV-Crosstrek-6

Safe and reliable, the Subaru XV Crosstrek delivers terrific value for an all-weather-capable little runabout, says auto writer Greg Rubenstein.


No car manufacturer today is experiencing success like Subaru. This relatively small Japanese company is on a run, far outpacing the sales growth of every other automaker on the planet.

While this news is no surprise to the loyal buyers of Subaru products, those unfamiliar with the brand will discover there’s no mystery to the company’s success. Subaru’s products are safe, reliable, reasonably priced, and exactly right for the niche.

Such is the case with Subaru’s XV Crosstrek, a compact sport utility vehicle. The XV is a “crossover” utility vehicle–a category of off-road capable “trucks” built on a car platform. It’s also a sporty and beautifully proportioned CUV offering nimble handling with enough ground clearance to traverse moderate trails and easily handle snow-covered roads.

Subaru’s XV is also perfectly designed for its segment. From every angle, this CUV looks exactly right. Starting at the front, the fascia, fenders, hood, and windshield blend into a single sweeping wedge ready to cut through the oncoming atmosphere. The XV’s profile shows a svelte design, providing just enough height to snugly enclose five adults. From a front three-quarter view, it’s strong and sleek, and looks like a grown-up Hot Wheels plaything.

At the back, oblique hatch glass complements and accentuates the pinched, tidy rear layout—a style carried through in the minimal overhang behind the rear wheel arch openings. This design emphasizes the XV’s sporting nature, and provides evidence for some off-road capability with a 27.7-degree angle of departure (how steep a slope the vehicle can depart without scraping its tush; its angle of approach is 18 degrees).

There are three XV Crosstrek trims—base, premium, and limited—each powered by 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 148 horsepower, and mated to either a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. All-wheel-drive is also standard on every Subaru except the two-seat BRZ sports car. Fuel economy is maximized with the CVT, producing an EPA-estimated 26 mpg city, 34-mpg highway and 34 mpg combined. The manual turns in 23/26/31 mpg, respectively.

An XV hybrid is also available, combining the 2.0-liter engine with an electric motor and battery, producing 160 total horsepower and fuel economy of 30/34/31 mpg, respectively. This battery-boosted Subaru comes with a significantly smaller gas tank, however, and overall range will be significantly reduced compared to the non-hybrid, unless you spend all your time driving city streets.

The tested mid-trim 2.0i Premium with CVT offered plenty of upscale features, and was comfortable to drive and pleasingly quiet. The ride proved relatively supple, soaking up bumps with aplomb, while the steering felt responsive. From a stop, get-up and go was adequate for the XV’s people-hauling mission, as was power-to-pass at freeway speeds.

Perhaps more than anything else, Subaru vehicles are known for their safety, and the XV is no exception. All trims come equipped with a full roster of safety electronics and air bags, as well as a “Top Safety Pick” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Subaru’s “EyeSight” driver-assist system is also available on the premium and higher trim; it turns on the pre-aimed left or right fog light independently to aid illumination in the direction of a turn.

XV Crosstrek pricing starts at $22,445 for the base trim, while the hybrid starts at $26,845. As tested, the Premium with CVT, EyeSight package, all-weather floor mats, and auto-dim mirror with Homelink came in at $26,853, which seems like a terrific value for an all-weather-capable little runabout. It’s a CUV certainly worth a look, and a test drive.



Standard features for all XVs includes a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls, power windows, door locks, and side mirrors and a 6.2-inch multi-function infotainment display. Premium trim adds heated seats and side mirrors and an upgraded interior, among other features. The XV Limited’s add-ons include leather seats, steering wheel and shifter; automated climate control; and a 7.0-inch infotainment display with voice controlled navigation.


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