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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Review

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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 6.9

If there is one thing Subaru owners love about their vehicles it is ground clearance. So, when Subaru decided to make a new SUV from its popular Impreza hatchback, they started by raising it a whopping 8.7 inches. Toss in a little cladding, some cool colors and snappy rims, and you've got the 2014 XV Crosstrek. Although not terribly powerful, the XV Crosstrek is easy on your fuel budget, and it can go places most of its rivals can't. Priced around $21,000 the XV Crosstrek makes sense for people who live in snowy climates but don't want to drive an expensive fuel-thirsty SUV. A new hybrid model offers a bit more power and a few more miles per gallon, but we think the added $4,000 premium is a bit steep.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a year-round vehicle that rides and handles like a car, but can venture off-road and pack in all manner of gear, people and wet dogs, the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek will probably fit you like a Gore-Tex girdle.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need a lot of cargo space behind the back seat, or power under the hood, a better choice might be the Subaru Forester XT or Outback 3.6, Honda CR-V or Ford Escape.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 6.9
  • 5.9
  • 6.9
  • 7.9
  • 6.9
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#6

out of 17

Fuel Economy

#16

out of 17

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.6 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Low/wide front photo What's New for 2014

A new hybrid model joins the lineup. Using the same 2.0-liter engine only with slightly higher compression and an electric motor assist, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid delivers 12 additional horsepower and 18 more lb-ft of torque, plus an additional 4 mpg in city driving. Models equipped with navigation now feature the Aha infotainment app.

Driving the XV Crosstrek
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions Because it's based largely on the Subaru Impreza platform, the 2014 XV Crosstrek delivers an exceptionally stable and secure ride. The soft suspension settings do a good job of soaking...

... up road imperfections that feel like rude jolts in other compact SUVs. Yet, despite the tall ride height and softer springs, the XV Crosstrek doesn't bob or sway when tossed into tight turns. The Crosstrek uses an electric-assist power-steering system that lacks feedback but also requires little effort when parallel parking in the city or rock crawling in the wilds. The Crosstrek's weakest spot is its 148-horsepower engine that doesn't offer much in the way of passing power or rapid acceleration, especially when there are two, three or four passengers onboard. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) does its best to find the optimal power band, but it causes the engine to thrash loudly at full throttle.

STANDARD SYMMETRICAL ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
The beauty of the XV Crosstrek's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is that it is permanently engaged, sending power to all four wheels before loss of traction can occur. The system is light, compact and very reliable.

NUMEROUS DEALER ADD-ONS
Those who plan on adventuring beyond a hotel parking lot will love all the additional equipment Subaru offers for the XV Crosstrek. There are bike and ski racks, roof-mounted cargo carriers and even interior upgrades including a 110-volt outlet and 10-inch powered subwoofer. The little XV Crosstrek is big on choice.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Details
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Barring a few minor details, the XV Crosstrek and the Subaru Impreza share the same interior layout. The rear seats offer sufficient legroom for average-size 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. Unfortunately, the navigation radio is required if you want SiriusXM satellite radio.

Exterior
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek photo

The 2014 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 obstacles encountered on unpaved roads.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2014 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.

Optional Equipment

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 and subwoofer from Kicker.

Under the Hood
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Engine photo

The 2014 XV Crosstrek is powered by 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. The XV Crosstrek Hybrid uses the same 2.0-liter engine and pairs it with an electric motor integrated into the CVT. The motor produces 13.4 horsepower from 1,500-6,000 rpm, for a total hybrid system output of 160 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. The starter and alternator functions are combined into one unit, and the engine is equipped with an Auto Stop/Start feature. The hybrid can travel on pure electric power for short distances at speeds below 25 mph.

2.0-liter boxer-4
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)

2.0-liter boxer-4/permanent-magnet AC synchronous electric drive motor
160 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
163 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/33 mpg

With a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) that starts just under $23,000 and tops out around $28,000, the all-new Subaru XV Crosstrek is filled with value. The Hybrid models tack on an additional $4,000 to the bottom line. In base form, the Nissan Juke undercuts the XV Crosstrek by a few thousand dollars, but does not include the same level of standard equipment. Larger compact SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V start just above $23,000 and easily surpass the $30,000 mark when fully loaded. To see what consumers in your area are actually paying for their XV Crosstreks, take a look at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. As for resale value, we expect the 2014 XV Crosstrek to perform slightly better than the Nissan Juke, but not as well as the increasingly popular Mini Countryman.

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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 40 Ratings for the 2013 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Everything I expected and more...

By on Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,100

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

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."

Perfect for winter!

By on Thursday, May 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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."

11 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Very Well Built

By on Thursday, May 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

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"

16 people out of 16 found this review helpful

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