By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
In the automotive world, downsizing has long been synonymous with downgrading. While this notion is often far from true , most of today's compact SUVs have swollen to near mid-size proportions, which in turn spawned a new series of small SUVs that actually live up to their namesake. The all-new 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek is among this new breed of right-sized SUVs, offering a wealth of upscale features, nimble handling and ample cargo space at an affordable price. Rivals such as the Nissan Juke and Mini Countryman deliver engaging on-road performance and laudable fuel economy, but the new XV Crosstrek supplements its solid road manners with a surprising level of off-road proficiency and the best fuel economy of any all-wheel-drive (AWD) SUV on the market.
Today's small-SUV shopper faces no shortage of choices, but if all-terrain capability and distinctive exterior styling are prerequisites for your next compact SUV, the 2013 XV Crosstrek should make your decision much easier.
If you need a vehicle with a great deal of cargo space and an affordable sticker price, the larger Toyota RAV4 or the Honda CR-V is worth a closer look. Subaru fans who love the rugged capability of the XV Crosstrek, but require slightly more interior volume should consider its bigger brother, the Subaru Outback.
The 2013 XV Crosstrek is a brand-new nameplate in the Subaru lineup and looks to make a name for itself in the small-SUV segment by way of impressive fuel economy, stylish sheetmetal and go-anywhere capability.
Driving Impressions Though it is largely based on Subaru's latest small-car platform, the XV Crosstrek feels exceptionally stable and secure on the open road. Road imperfections and undulations are well absorbed, and...the up-sized brakes provide plenty of stopping power for the relatively light XV Crosstrek. The electric-assisted power steering lacks feedback, but the light effort makes low-speed parking maneuvers a cinch. The 148-horsepower engine, however, has a difficult time hauling more than two passengers, and the continuously variable transmission (CVT) exacerbates engine noise under hard acceleration. To that end, drivers looking to haul more than a few hundred pounds should search for a more powerful alternative. Still, the prevailing impression is one of suitable refinement and comfort.
STANDARD SYMMETRICAL ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Unlike most competitor all-wheel-drive systems, Subaru's trademark symmetrical AWD continuously sends power to all four wheels to help prevent a loss of traction before it happens. Additionally, Subaru symmetrical AWD incorporates a compact design to optimize both fuel economy and handling performance.
PARTIAL ZERO EMISSIONS
Until recently, hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles were the sole recipients of the EPA's Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) rating. The Subaru XV Crosstrek achieves PZEV status without the need for costly alternative-fuel technology.
Barring a few minor details, the XV Crosstrek and the Subaru Impreza share the same interior layout. While material quality is below average for the segment, panel gaps are narrow and consistent throughout the cabin. The rear seats offer sufficient legroom for average-sized adults and fold flat to yield 51.9 cubic feet of cargo space – considerably more than the Nissan Juke. The dashboard's center stack is home to user-friendly controls and a handy lower storage compartment for mobile phones and other small items. If possible, we recommend avoiding the optional navigation system, as the outdated interface can be extremely frustrating to operate.
The 2013 XV Crosstrek shuns the utilitarian look of many "compact" SUVs in favor of a more aggressive, dynamic design. The look is spearheaded by Subaru's signature hexagonal grille and hawk-eye headlights, while prominent over-fenders and unique starfish alloy wheels combine to project an athletic stance. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and fairly steep approach/departure angles, the Subaru XV Crosstrek is well-equipped for travel in unforgiving terrain. Moreover, the lower body panels are wrapped in rugged plastic cladding for additional protection against various obstacles encountered on unpaved roads.
The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek is offered in two trim levels: Premium and Limited. Premium models include roof rails, heated front seats, a multi-information display and a 6-speaker sound system with Bluetooth and a USB port for portable MP3 players. Stepping up to the Limited trim adds dual-zone climate control, leather, rearview camera, auto-on/off headlights and Subaru's new 4.3-inch touch-screen audio system with HD Radio. Despite the $25,000 price tag, Limited models do not offer power-adjustable front seats. Occupant protection comes in the form of seven airbags, rollover mitigation control and sure-footed traction of symmetrical all-wheel drive.
Since the majority of features are tied to trim level, the XV Crosstrek's short list of options includes a power moonroof, touch-screen navigation with a 6.1-inch display and host of stand-alone accessories. Given the substandard sound quality produced by the standard audio system, we highly recommend upgrading to the dealer-installed speakers from Kicker.
The lone engine choice for the 2013 XV Crosstrek is a 2.0-liter, horizontally opposed "boxer" 4-cylinder engine that churns out 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. The XV Crosstrek sends power to all four wheels via a standard 5-speed manual or an available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Premium models equipped with a manual gearbox feature an AWD system with a 50/50 front/rear power distribution, while automatic transmissions are coupled to an adaptive system that automatically proportions power to the wheels with the most grip.
148 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (manual), 25/33 mpg (automatic)
By gojosh on Friday, January 16, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very good value, standard AWD and"
Cons: "Light Grey interior. A little under-powered."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Below are a couple of slight issues. Overall the car is very comfortable to drive and handles very well. The cabin noise level is on par with or less than comparable small vehicles and the standard all wheel drive is awesome. The styling is a bit aggressive for some but I like it, especially the black alloy wheels. The base options are no frills but nice. I opted for the manual transmission model which limited my choice of options significantly. This car gets good fuel economy - though I have not been able to hit the EPA window sticker number for highway I am still pleased with the 29-30 mpg I consistently achieve during majority highway driving. It is a fun to drive car that is small enough to navigate the city with ease but capable enough for my weekend excursions. There is a fair amount of interior space for gear and passengers and the roof rack is nice for larger items. It is not a performance machine by any stretch and it could benefit from a higher output engine. The FM radio provides mediocre sound quality - I initially thought it was the speakers but CD/digital inputs sound much better than the radio and are on par with other base model sound systems. The bluetooth can occasionally take more than one attempt to connect to your device but call quality is not horrible. The voice controls are nearly useless. I absolutely love the red dash lights, they are very easy on the eyes at night, not overpowering or glare inducing but still provide very clearly illuminated gauges. I am not a fan of the light grey/tan interior color - it does not fit my outdoor lifestyle and the dirt that accompanies our adventures - some exterior colors come with a black interior but the combinations appear to be pre-selected by Subaru. The seat heaters are great. It has recently developed a slight dash rattle and will be making a visit to the dealership to have resolved but there have been no other issues. Overall if you are in need of a very utilitarian vehicle at a modest price I would not hesitate to recommend the XV. It has proven to be very capable in bad weather and on gravel/dirt backroads and it will get you there without extreme fuel bills."
27 people out of 44 found this review helpful
By George McFly on Saturday, January 10, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,300overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks nice,comfortable"
Cons: "poor fuel mileage, engine constantly re-starts"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"My wife wanted a new car and insisted on another Subaru. She has just over 100K miles on her forester and besides the normal Subaru downfalls it has been a good car. We looked at different models and decided on the crosstrek because of its size, Not too big , not too small. The new forester is larger than the old version so that was out. Initially we wanted the Premium model Crosstrek, lowest version. The dealer that we went to showed us a crosstrek and we went for a test drive, very nice car but it was a hybrid. We talked to the dealer a put a deposit on a car so they could bring it in. When the car arrived it was very much different than the hybrid inside, cheap looking and feel of the interior. We didn't take that and opted to take the Hybrid model which is the only way to get the push button start and about a dozen other fancy items found only on the hybrid. The dealer also reminded us that the car we were choosing would get an easy 30mpg and that would offset the extra 5K the car cost over the life of it. SOLD...we'll take it. We have been driving now for almost 6 months. Don't plan on getting anywhere near 30mpg. The first tank got 27.1 mpg, the 2nd tank got 26.8, the third got 25.8. The dealer said that is "normal" and some people just don't get the advertised mileage. The 2nd downfall of the car is that the engine constantly stops at every intersection and red light, no matter what. It is very annoying to have the engine restart itself each time and sometimes it is scary when you need to pull into traffic, waiting for the car to start the engine. The car drives OK and has plenty of gadgets that you will probably never need."
13 people out of 27 found this review helpful
By XTrekOwner on Friday, December 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great gas mileage, tight turning radius, stout"
Cons: "Lots of little things - see review"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Bought this car new and have owned it about 17 months now. My model is the premium trim, which is the cheaper of the 2 versions. First the pro's: - My favorite feature? The gas mileage. Subaru rates it at 25/33 MPG but I usually get 28 MPG around town and often see get 36+ MPG on very flat highways. Given that it's all-wheel drive, I consider this almost amazing. - Handling is typical for a small car, fun to drive. The turning radius is tight, it's easy to park, and the boxer engine and CVT make for very smooth pickup. - And I just like how it looks. It's a sporty little tank. Now the con's. Most of these are minor but the list kinda adds up: - I spend a lot of time in the car and it isn't very comfortable for long rides. The seats lack any lumbar support (ugh!) and feel flat and poorly padded. - The ride is choppy, which is probably typical for a small car with elevate suspension and a short wheelbase. - The car is light, which may be good for gas mileage and giving it some pickup from the measly 148 HP engine, but this also means it doesn't have a lot of traction despite having all-wheel drive. I haven't even tried it on snow or ice but have slid around on exit ramps just in light rain. It would not be a good car for a teenager to use. - The headlights seem dim to me. I have to use the foglights to see well at night, and I'm not that old. Dashboard and interior control lights are also dim. - There's nowhere to put loose change for tolls. - Granted, I have the premium package with the stock sound system, but it's the WORST "stereo" I've ever heard - it might as well be an AM transistor radio. I'm a former musician and can't stand to listen to anything in this car. And an aftermarket stereo really isn't an option because it's all an integrated unit in the dash. - The car always feels dirty to me, even after washing it and vacuuming it out. The seat fabric holds a lot of debris, and the dashboard and much of the interior is made of a rubber material that collects dust like a magnet - and you're not supposed to use anything like ArmorAll on it. I suspect it's just going to get worse with age."
47 people out of 63 found this review helpful
By Desert Dave on Monday, November 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "All maintenance preformed by Subaru dealer."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"You will not find one like this @ the dealership. All Mats included, summer & winter. All cargo mats inside also seatback mats. Cargo Basket with w/waterproof cargo bag.Top Rack 1-1/4" receiver hitch with flat 4 harness Receiver hitch cargo basket 20"x60" with waterproof cargo bag. Clear Bra since day 1. No chips"
14 people out of 26 found this review helpful
By Outdoor Man on Saturday, November 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,462overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Winter Handling (AWD), Excellent MPG, Comfortable"
Cons: "none at this time"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"To be honest, I'm not very familiar with Subaru and was not originally interested in the XV-Crosstrek. However, after taking it out for a test drive, I felt safe and knew the car could handle anything. I was sold! Last year in Portland, we experienced a fairly decent winter storm. Having lived in California, I was not familiar with winter driving at all. However, the XV-Crosstrek handle the same in Winter as it did in the summer. No slipping even when ICE coated the snow. I drove up hills where other cars were literally going backwards. Other cars would pull over put chains on, but not me. Using stock tires and all, this car handled winter with no problem. That being said, I mainly drive highways to work and I probably average a little over 30 miles per gallon. Even though the interior may not come off as luxurious as competitors it is durable and great for any adventures or commutes you could send its way. All-in-all, after a year, I couldn't imagine a more perfect car for the handling and price. 10/10, 5 stars, and two thumbs up."
13 people out of 27 found this review helpful
By Doc on Monday, November 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,900overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "Comfort and poor engine power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The 2014 Subaru XV CrossTrek is the worse vehicle I have owned. The leather seats are extremely uncomfortable and difficult to keep clean. The 4 cylinder engine struggles to go up hill and in mountain terrain. The vehicle does not hold any value. Only 1900 miles and the value has decreased nearly $7,000.00 on a trade in. This is deffinitely the worse car I have ever purchased."
9 people out of 27 found this review helpful