• Subaru's first plug-in hybrid
  • Up to 17 miles of all-electric range, with a total range of 480 miles
  • All-wheel drive, of course
  • City/highway combined fuel economy of 35 mpg
  • Priced from $34,995 (plus $975 destination charge)

 

Subaru will unveil the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid, its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Based on the 2nd-generation Crosstrek, which made its debut as a 2018 model, the new Crosstrek Hybrid is a series parallel PHEV. It will use two motor-generators – one which functions as an engine starter and generator, and one that sends power to all four wheels during electric and hybrid driving, as well as capturing energy for the hybrid battery during regenerative braking.

A 2.0-liter horizontally opposed 4-cylinder gasoline engine works in concert with the electric motors. The "boxer" is naturally aspirated (non-turbo) and uses direct gasoline injection to produce 137 horsepower and 134 lb-ft of torque. Total system horsepower is approximately 148 horsepower. Crosstrek Hybrids uses a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and come with standard Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

Full charge in five hours on 120V

An 8.8 kWh/25.0 Ah lithium-ion battery stores electricity and sends it to the Crosstrek Hybrid’s motors. The battery can be brought to a state of full charge from “empty” in approximately five hours using the on-board charger and connecting to an ordinary 120-volt household outlet, or in approximately two hours using a 240-volt system. Because of the relatively short electric-only range (17 miles) and the relatively rapid charge times using normal plug-in systems, the new Crosstrek Hybrid does not accommodate DC Fast Charging capability.

The EPA estimates that the Crosstrek Hybrid can achieve 35 mpg in combined city/highway driving, or 90 MPGe with its electric components (if that means anything to you). The Crosstrek Hybrid is capable of traveling approximately 17 miles in pure EV mode and has a total range of 480 miles thanks to its 13.2-gallon fuel capacity. The Crosstrek Hybrid will qualify for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) permits in California, Maryland, New York and several other states, according to Subaru. The crossover can be operated at speeds up to 65 mph in full electric mode, and Subaru reports that it is a full second quicker from 0-60 mph than the gasoline-only Crosstrek.

Also: Get your first look at the new and redesigned cars of 2019

Driving the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Not that anyone would campaign 9.3 seconds to 60 as quick, it is however notable that the new Crosstrek Hybrid weighs around 500 pounds more than the non-hybrid and still beats it across the finish line. In fact, Subaru worked overtime to try to get the Crosstrek Hybrid's mass down a level that would be more manageable for the moderately powered hybrid's propulsion system. Highlight of the subcompact SUV's diet include lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels and pared-down roof rails -- low-profile, still functional, and aero.

Certainly in city situations, and often on the open highway, the Crosstrek Hybrid presents itself well. In urban use -- certainly the subcompact's specialty -- getting around town is easy, and the Subaru's size gets it extra parking points every time. Moving onto the highway mixes up the bag a bit, and while although the little SUV doesn't fly up the freeway onramp, it does move itself up to cruising speed with grace, if not grandeur. And anybody who expects their subcompact crossover SUV to be a rocket is missing the point.

A long road trip in the Crosstrek Hybrid is not out of the question, thanks to extra sound insulation and strikingly quiet low-rolling-resistance tires. One penalty that the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid does pay is that its towing capacity does drop to 1,000 pounds from the non-hybrid's 1,500-pound mark.

When the road disappears, the Crosstrek Hybrid's Subaru breeding takes over. No other vehicle in class (hybrid or not) besides the Jeep Renegade can even hope to keep up with the Crosstrek Hybrid's 8.7 inches of ground clearance and proven all-wheel-drive prowess. Bonus time: X-Mode with Hill Descent Control tames nervous-making slippery downhill crawls, and all you have to do is push the "X-Mode" button and take your feet off the pedals.

Subaru calls it "the best Crosstrek ever"

Subaru says that the Crosstrek Hybrid belongs at the top of the Crosstrek trim ladder, adding its hybrid powertrain to the Crosstrek Limited features, along with some unique interior and exterior details. Four exterior colors, including an exclusive new hue, Lagoon Blue Pearl, will be offered on the Crosstrek Hybrid. Blue headlight projector rings and a silver-finish grille, lower front bumper, side body cladding and LED fog light accents distinguish Hybrid, along with black 18-inch wheels with a machine finish, and plenty of “Plug-In” badging. In addition to the Lagoon Blue Pearl exterior color, the Crosstrek Hybrid spotters guide will point out the gloss black rear roof spoiler as a differentiator for the hybrid Crosstrek.

The interior gets exclusive Gray and Navy-Blue leather seats, door panels and armrests with blue contrast stitching and accent panels. You'll be bored before we get done listing the standard features, but the highlights include leather upholstery, a power driver's seat, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and most every safety feature/warning system you can name, plus Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, which includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist. Only one option package is available: For $2,500 you get a power moonroof, heated steering wheel, navigation, and an 8-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system.

The new Crosstrek Hybrids does pay a price for storing the battery pack under the rear load floor while maintaining its generous ground clearance. Not only does it lose almost 25% of its rear-set-up storage capacity -- now down to a noticeable 15.9 cubic feet -- but the battery bump raises the rear floor level about 3-4 inches which makes loading a 30-pound backpack into the rear cargo area tougher after a 3-day trip through Tuolumne Meadows.

Pricing

Pricing for the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid starts at $34,995 plus $975 destination. With only the one $2,500 option package available, pricing tops out just under $38,500.

Availability

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek is at dealerships now, while the 2019 Subaru Crostrek Hybrid is scheduled to go on sale December 2018.

Conclusions

The 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid is Subaru’s first PHEV, but it is not the company’s first hybrid. That distinction goes to the 2014 XV Crosstrek Hybrid. Built on a previous platform, the original XV Crosstrek Hybrid used a 0.6-kWh Nickel-Metal Hydride battery pack and a single electric motor. After three years of lackluster sales, the Crosstrek Hybrid was discontinued while the gasoline-only Crosstrek lived on. Now, the Japanese carmaker -- and master of resale value in the current market -- has created another road-less-traveled all-wheel-drive vehicle that the Subaru faithful and the Subaru curious will have no trouble believing in.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid at the 2018 LA Auto Show

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