2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

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2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Review

By Zach Vlasuk

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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2013

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 the XV Crosstrek
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.

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.

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.

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Details
2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek photo Interior

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.

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

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 from Kicker.

Under the Hood

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.

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)

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