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 Convinced on Monday, August 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "MPG, AWD, safety, overall fun driving experience"
Cons: "Less cargo room compared to others"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I had always been a fan of large, gas guzzling vehicles so when my husband wanted to trade a V8 full sized SUV in for our first Subaru, I was skeptical. I worried about cabin room, power, and safety as compared to our current SUV. Boy, was I wrong. The Crosstrek exceeded every expectation. It has plenty of room (getting used to less cargo space as compared to full sized SUV's) and drives like a dream. Also, I was very grateful for the great braking system yesterday morning when driving home before dawn in the pouring rain, a huge tree fell directly in front of my vehicle. I feel very safe driving this vehicle every day."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Dwane Hillcrest on Friday, August 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks good, goog mpg, handles nice"
Cons: "The seats are terable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Everything about this car is great but the seats, I bought a limited edition with leather heated seats, when I test drove the car I had no issues but after 3 or 4 days later my lower back started hurting an that was odd, the seats are stiff an vary uncomfortable an now I can't go 5 mins in the car without being in pain I'm a 5' 8 male 180 pounds an in good shape this car is all wrong for me an wish I never bought it!!"
11 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By SZ on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, capable, MPG, great value."
Cons: "None, in my opinion."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my second subaru. The XV Crosstrek is amazing. Has nice style but is not to heavy on the eyes. Fully capable vehicle with amazing fuel mileage. Not a single vehicle can compete with subaru and its AWD system + MPG ratings. I will always have a Subaru. Period."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Rsgdsa on Thursday, May 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great ground clearance, AWD, great MPG"
Cons: "No base model so it's a bit pricey"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Ride is very smooth on northeastern roads. It is absolutely amazing in winter. The gas mileage is great for AWD with offroad capabilities. The only downside is that it's not available in a cheaper base model. Premium and limited models only."
12 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Eric on Thursday, May 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Subaru built a great vehicle, solid and very well built. The true, symmetrical all wheel drive means It holds the road extremely well, even with all season tires. There really isn't a better vehicle for winter. The boxer engine means it has a very low center of gravity, translating to better driving dynamics. This car has a great suspension, you don't feel much of anything (bumps, potholes, dirt road), and it is very durable. The combination of this great suspension and high ground clearance makes this car a good off-roader. If you get a trailer hitch, this car is good for occasional, light towing. This is an extremely safe vehicle (5 stars almost all the way around). The build quality is some of the best i've ever seen. There are soft-touch materials everywhere, very high quality parts, and attention to engineering. Gas mileage is alright for a car that is heavy and has all wheel drive, I am getting not quite advertised (average 25 winter/30 summer) but it is still good. I have a couple complaints about this car. The engine is not quite adequate, 0-60 is about 11 seconds, which I would almost call unsafe for merging. I really don't care for either of the transmission options (have driven both). The 5-speed manual is poorly ratioed, just doesn't feel right, the clutch is not smooth , it reminds you that the car is underpowered, and you sacrifice some gas mileage. I actually prefer the CVT, even as a manual transmission enthusiast. While there is nothing wrong with the CVT, it is incredibly boring to drive and has some noise. If you want a bigger engine, better manual transmission, more versatility, and more space all for the exact same price, look at Subaru's own Forester, that's why I only give the value a five out of ten, despite the good resale. This car is very versatile and is good in many, many applications, it is extremely solid and well built, Subaru has an incredible reputation. If you want a solid, unique car in a class of its own, this car should be high on your list"
19 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Leo Gan on Thursday, April 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Engine, AWD, CVT, price, fun to drive."
Cons: "Not the best in comfort, stiff suspension."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I owned Toyota RAV4 before Crosstrek. Crosstrek has better engine and transmission. Acceleration is good on all speeds up to 80 mhr (didn't try faster :) CVT transmission is way better then other automatic transmissions and it is not noisy as on another makes. It delivers power smoothly. On highway I usually get 34-35 mpg and average 30. Boxter engine is smooth, elastic, powerful, it is a masterpiece. It easily keeps 5000+ in mountains for minutes. On the same slopes my 3.0 liter Camry was overheated several times and could not keep the same speed up to slope. Car is understeered and it took several hundred miles to get use it, I always owned Toyotas which are all oversteered, that's why. Now I enjoy the steering, it is goood. You just have to get to use it. Suspension is sporty, a little bit harsh in town. But it rides much better that RAV4 on gravel roads. It feels a real AWD car. On wet road it is also much-much better than RAV4. I worked in Michigan this winter and have ride Crosstrek on snow and ice. It was comfortable (but winter tires are mandatory to get safe ride). Dashboard buttons and knobs are accessible in gloves. Space is enough for two campers. It is ideal car for skiers and campers. Summary: I love the car. It is the best small SUV on market. And I got AWD and CVT for free. For all competitors I would pay big extra and got much worse car. Crosstrek is a real all-road car and it is a great city car. Car has a character, it looks aggressive and young."
16 people out of 17 found this review helpful