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 Willy B on Wednesday, March 25, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "seems to have all the room I need for normal life."
Cons: "fuel computer could be more accurate"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Have been pretty happy I bought this car. It's ultimate purpose is to replace my full sized 4x4 pickup. I am not very impressed with the computed fuel efficiency of this car. It is always off 6-8% and reading higher fuel economy than is actual. Other than that, I really like the car so far. We will see how it looks 150K miles down the road. I plan on going to 16 inch wheels for winter so I can go to a narrower cross-section tire for Winter snow and ice."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Barnonthebayou2013 on Wednesday, March 11, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,450overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "All Wheel Drive, comfort and safety"
Cons: "It is as all SUV, butt it's mighty!!!!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Love our Crosstrek! Not only is it very sassy with the black rims, but extremely comfortable too. Love driving the car in the rain;, if you hit a pocket of water the car goes straight through without loosing control. You can drive it like a sports car; it hugs curves...don't have to put on the brakes to maintain control in this car. The seats fold down very easy and flat; easy to take the dogs to dog park, pick up plants, etc. Gas mileage is much higher than the 25 city/33 highway on the sticker; our car gets up 44 mpg based upon driving conditions. Love the heated seats; great for my bad back....very comfortable. Best car for $$$$, comfort and safety. We love our Crosstrek!!!!!!!!"
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By mondocane on Wednesday, March 04, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,984overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great travel car for 2 on long trips"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"this was not my first choice for a Sub. but turned out to be the better car. not as peppy as the Pontiac Vibe I traded in but does the off road thing much better. The CVT takes a little getting used to(I thought the tranny was slipping at first!)If you want to sight see and drive around 55ish, the mileage is almost 40mpg!! even at regular highway speeds it's in the low to mid 30's You can get down rite sporty if you use the paddle shifters on the wheel"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By SAL on Sunday, March 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 168,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Spunky I can take off ramps at 55mph. Great handling after a couple of months I had Subaru put the stabilizer bar on even better. I did get the 5 speed Manual tran. prefect. I even wrote Subaru and ask them to put in a larger engine and some of the WXR handling features and I would race for them. I practice everyday to and form work. I do wish Subaru would come back out small Truck since that is what I have driven for 34 years."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Silentfoe on Friday, February 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my 2013 XV in March of 13. I ordered the tangerine limited without nav or moonroof as I'd heard bad things about the current nav interface. Pros: Lots of compliments Averaged about 29mpg summer and 27mpg winter Carried 3 bikes on the roof and two on a hitch without issue. Towed a 5x8 utility trailer often, lowered mileage to 19mpg. Had adequate power and cornered well. Was superb in the snow. Great in off road travel. Saved my life in a front corner, head on impact. Cons: Lond cabin Gas mileage suffers at 70mph and above Stock tires wore out at about 25,000 miles In car interface with my smart phone rarely understood what I was saying. After this car was totaled, I have since bought the exact same car but now a 2015 with nav and moonroof. Absolutely the best car I've owned."
6 people out of 7 found this review helpful
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."
32 people out of 49 found this review helpful