By KBB.com Editors
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 to 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.
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.
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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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.