Subaru’s AWD Outback crossover taught the company well. By jacking the suspension, adding body cladding and large fog lights, the Outback became took on a tough, rugged appearance. So Subaru took the Outback’s smaller sibling, the Impreza, and performed the same feat. The result is the 2013 XV Crosstrek, a compact Outback if you will, especially since the original Outback has grown in size compared to the ’96 Outback my wife owned.
Compared to the Impreza, Subaru raised the Crosstrek 3-inches, beefed up the suspension to handle semi-rough off-roads, added body cladding to minimize off-road scrapes from branches, brush and jutting rocks, and shod it with 17-inch Yokohama tires that are mounted on rugged looking and slotted alloy wheels. The combination gives the XV Crosstrek 8.7 inches of underground clearance, which is more than on most SUVs and crossovers and is an important trait when traversing deep snow.
I’ll always remember a 12-inch deep snowfall we had and my neighbor couldn’t believe I was attempting to negotiate a hill in our adjoining alley. The Outback dug in and the wheels didn’t’ even spin. It was so impressive that he subsequently bought an Outback. So there’s no question as to Subaru’s inherent all-wheel traction ability.
Power, however, is not as potent as the Outback. The standard powerplant is a 2.0L, horizontally opposed 4-cylinder that produces 148-hp and 145 lb/ft of torque. A choice of 5-speed manual transmission or CVT automatic (Lineartronic) is available. The combination gives adequate acceleration from a standing stop, but it’s no speedster. The engine breathes hard on uphill jaunts with two adults aboard. But it is miserly with EPA mileage ratings of 25 city, 33-highway mpg, or, 26 combined.
With its short wheelbase, the XV parks easily and is very nimble in traffic. It’s actually fun to drive. There’s nary any body lean and the higher suspension gives a better view of the road.
With an easy, 17.5-inch step-in and front and back doors that open ingress/egress is easy even when wearing heavy winter coats. While the XV is rated for five, four is the practical adult passenger capacity.
Interior accommodations are pleasing but somewhat plain-Jane with BMW-firm leather seating and easy to operate and large HVAC controls. My test car had a GPS nav system (in a 5.75x3-inch LCD screen) with a flash card slot that I presume was to make updates. There was however, no rearview camera, which is standard on the Limited model. As is, my XV Premium was nicely loaded with windshield wiper de-icer, heated mirrors, heated front seats, Bluetooth, audio streaming, USB port and jack and a host of other safety items and convenience goodies.
Cargo space is ample. With the 60/40 seats up, the cargo area measures 32 inches deep, 40 wide and 29.75 high (22.3 cubic feet). Fold the seatbacks and depth extends to a full five feet (51.9 cubes). And cargo load height is a comfortable 30 inches.
The Crosstrek is offered in Premium and Limited trim models. While my test car didn’t have a window sticker, the Premium model carries a base of $21,995 while the Limited is base-priced at $24,495.
There are eight exterior colors offered and two (black and Ivory) interior colors. I just saw a Tangerine Orange Crosstrek in town and it grabs the eyes for its unusual coloring.
All Crosstrek’s, incidentally, come with a 3/36,000 mile limited warranty.
I really liked the Crosstrek since the Outback got (in my opinion) too big for its britches, and a lot more expensive. And Crosstrek is sleeker and sexier looking than Subaru’s Forester.
To test drive a Crosstrek stop by Becker Subaru in Wescosville or Faulkner Subaru in Bethlehem. And to automatically receive auto news and views from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.