One of the most competitive, if not the most competitive segment on the market is the compact CUV/SUV segment with entries that range from basic boxy transportation on up to luxury entries with almost every manufacturer has something in play. As a long time builder of efficient, dependable smaller vehicles, Subaru is also in the fray, building on that reputation of solid performing functional SUV vehicles that are AWD.
Based on the Subaru Impreza platform, the 2014 XV Crosstrek is a lifted station wagon that has 8.7-inchs of ground clearance and is available in four trim levels that include two new hybrid models for 2014. The XV Crosstrek gets specific wheels based on trim, a color palette of bright colors to choose from that should appeal to younger buyers, and there are two transmission choices that are based on trim level. The new 2014 mild hybrid is also available in two trim levels that contribute to improved fuel economy and performance. To Subaru’s credit, the mild hybrid system was designed in-house so it is simply functional while blending in with the slightly modified boxer style gasoline engine and the available CVT transmission that is standard on both Hybrid trim levels. This combination adds 12-horsepower overall, and improves low-end torque by 18 lb-ft, which all translates into an improvement of 4 mpg in the city fuel economy rating. The electric motor also supplements the low-end power band with an immediate response that makes the Hybrid Crosstrek feel very responsive as well as providing some opportunities for a limited EV only range under 25 miles per hour while maintaining the AWD functionality that is listed by Subaru as being off-road capable.
Staying in accordance with the Subaru SUV reputation, the interior of the 2014 XV Crosstrek contains a list of standard features that are very functional for owners that are looking for an active lifestyle. Starting with the Premium trim level, the Crosstrek includes items such as the All-Weather Package as standard equipment that brings in several features that ‘cold’ weather owners will find very useful. From there, the Limited Edition trim level steps up to the luxury item such as leather seating surfaces, auto climate control, and the available rear-view camera that is standard equipment at this level.
The Crosstrek Hybrid starts with the standard features of the Premium trim level and builds from there with upgrades to the suspension that improve the CUV handling characteristics that maintained the above average ground clearance, as well as improvements to the electronic display features that supply information to the passengers. There is a separate section of the centerstack screens that specifically provide data on how well the Hybrid system is working. The 2014 XV Crosstrek Hybrid Touring model under review brings in additional standard luxury features such as the leather interior, power moonroof, 6.1-inch LCD screen, voice controls, and the available navigation system.
Driving the Subaru Hybrid with Start/Stop technology creates a ‘busy’ environment for the driver, particularly in city driving. Along with the gasoline engine activity, there are gauges indicating when EV is in play. The electric motor provides almost instantaneous torque on the low end giving the Crosstrek a very responsive feel. The gasoline engine has sufficient power at speed to meet the need of an average driver, however, across IH10 at the legal 75 mph, there is a little more wind noise. Handling is sharp and responsive as the rear mounted battery contributes to the vehicles weight distribution dynamics. Fuel economy for the Hybrid model is 29 city and 33 highway, both of which were demonstrated when efficient driving habits were employed.
Pricing Notes on the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Touring
The base entry for the compact 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek has a MSRP of under $23,000 and trim levels get to the upper $20s quickly before adding the available options. Stepping into the hybrid world brings a quick $4,000 bump in price that includes several options or upgrades not available in other trim levels at this time. The review vehicle is a Touring model that is the top of the line for the Crosstrek with a starting price of $29,295. There was a delivery charge of $825 so the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Touring has a final MSRP of $30,120 as tested.
Other vehicles in the compact CUV/SUV segment to consider would be the Nissan Juke, or the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V for example.
For more information on the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Touring, visit your local Subaru dealer orwww.subaru.com