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Reader Mail: 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Quick Spin

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Filed under An Addictive Take On Cars, Automotive, Subaru, Test Drives

“Chris, I enjoyed your recent review of the 2014 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport, enough so that I made a trip to the local dealer to check one out. While I was there the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek hybrid caught my eye. Have you had a chance to drive it yet? Any thoughts?” Ian W., Jacksonville, Florida via email

Hello Ian, Thanks for your question and for taking the time to visit, I truly appreciate both.

I was able to spend a week with America’s lowest emission, most fuel-efficient AWD hybrid crossover vehicle. Similar to the Impreza, the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek hybrid is a great example of Subaru’s respected build quality, conventionally handsome style, and road hugging handling characteristics.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Front

Though I would not call the Crosstrek an off-road vehicle, Subaru has designed the XV with go-anywhere capabilities in mind. The standard 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in all-season tires, 8.7 inches of ground clearance, attractive raised roof rails, and wrap around windows that provide some of the best visibility of any car on the road allow the Crosstrek to drive on terrain that the Impreza would reluctantly venture upon.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Rear

The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid is roomy, providing excellent legroom for all occupants and an impressive 97.5 cubit feet of passenger volume. To translate that into real world terms, the little crossover’s interior feels much bigger than it looks. The cargo area offers 21.5 cubic feet of space when seating five and over 50 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down. Enough room to carry a decent size patio set and easily close the hatch, something that is impossible in a similarly priced hatchback.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid

The Crosstrek is powered by Subaru’s popular boxer engine and an electric motor, giving the car 160 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. The crossover uses the fuel efficient, but uninspiring, Lineartronic CVT transmission to send power to the symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. Subaru claims that the car is capable of an EPA 31 mpg combined, but in my weeklong review I was only able to get 24.7 mpgs. I am not doubting the manufacturer’s numbers, but I feel that you would have to drive very tentatively, often employing the “hypermiling” technique, to get to the published 29 mpg city or 33 mpg highway.

2014 Subaru Crosstrek XV Hybrid Quick Spin
By Malcolm Hogan, Publisher,

It seems with the all-new 2014 Subaru Crosstrek XV Hybrid, Subaru is set on appeasing a select few of its dedicated followers. Having spent some time behind the wheel of the 2014 Subaru Crosstrek XV Hybrid, it begs me to wonder why Subaru has taking a short road to jack up a new Impreza and slot it into the Hybrid CUV market. It does, however, make for an interesting segment combining the words crossover and hybrid. It would all be great if it the words really meant something when it comes to the new Crosstrek XV Hybrid, because honestly, they really don’t.

If you have at all picked up on my tone, you are probably tuned into to my disappointment in the new 2014 Subaru Crosstrek XV Hybrid. I will get to those gripes soon enough, but for now, I can honestly say it is a good looking vehicle. The new Crosstrek XV Hybrid undoubtedly looks the part to get light duty off-roading jobs done with a little bit of excitement and delight. The relatively high off-ground look with its sporty visual cues is all very pleasing to the eye and even enthusiasts. Even the LED tail lights play to the tune of it potentially having a sporting nature.

Unfortunately, jumping into the cabin and setting off on a journey in the new Crosstrek XV Hybrid takes a big stab at any high hopes you conjured from its exterior looks alone. The hybrid drivetrain, maybe a slow-forthcoming attempt by Subaru that may improve in the near future, is more of a mixed bag than a functional system to really save you fuel. In my attempts to achieve 26 mpg, which I saw on only one 5 miles back-road trip, came up slightly short at about 24.5 mpg. Mind you, EPA figures for the Crosstrek EX Hybrid fall at 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, which are decent figures for the “expected” vehicle that the Crosstrek strives to be. Not to mention, towing capacity is null – so here is your cake that you can’t eat.

With 160 of total system horsepower, 148 hp from the 2.0-liter boxer 4-cylinder and 13 hp from the electric motor (163 lb-ft torque total), directed through a CVT transmission, the Crosstrek XV Hybrid has its work cut out for an uptake a dash to 60 mph, which takes about 10 seconds. The drivetrain tends to stumble with abrupt engine-starts when seldom transitioning to the engine power from temporary spurts of pure EV mode usage. Extracting the power from the hybrid drivetrain seems to be an art in planting your right foot while holding a conversation with other occupants, or yourself, while you attempt to take attention away from the droning sound of the 4-cylinder hovering just above 5,000 rpm.

The 2014 Subaru Crosstrek XV Hybrid has its dedicated following, and rightfully so. If the Crosstrek XV Hybrid does anything right, it proves that Subaru has a dedicated listening ear to its followers. With the Impreza being a wonderfully executed vehicle, especially in the WRX and WRX STi variations, it is no wonder that the Crosstrek XV Hybrid takes a bit of that design appeal and build out a hybrid version. Even with its pitfalls, the Crosstrek XV Hybrid can be a gas miser for the Subaru follower who wants a reliable, and adventurous-looking vehicle to fit their lifestyle – all in a conscience eco-minded way.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Dash

Pricing for the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek hybrid starts at $25,995 plus destination and any dealer charges, which represents excellent value for a hybrid drivetrain, especially when it is wrapped in such an attractive all-wheel-drive package. However, the hybrid economy does come at a cost, the towing capacity of the Crosstrek hybrid is zero pounds, something that you will want to consider before making a purchase.

If you have a car that you are considering or any other auto related questions, feel free to contact me a [email protected].


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