2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek front 3/4 view

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek rear 3/4 view

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek front 3/4 view

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek rear 3/4 view

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek front 3/4 view

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek rear 3/4 view

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek front 3/4 view

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek rear 3/4 view

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek front 3/4 view

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek front 3/4 view

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek driving

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek driving

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek driving

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek driving

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek driving

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek driving

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek front detail

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek wheel

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek rear detail

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek rear fascia

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek badge

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek engine

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek engine

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek interior

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek front seats

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek navigation system

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek navigation system

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek navigation system

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek audio system display

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek shifter

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek shifter

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek rear seats

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek folded rear seat

  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek rear cargo area

Vital Stats

Engine:
2.0L Boxer-Four
Power:
148 HP / 145 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed CVT
0-60 Time:
10.7 Seconds
Top Speed:
116 MPH
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,086 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
45 CU-FT (max)
MPG:
24 MPG (as tested)
A Utility Knife For The Sensible Shoes Crowd



There are stories in every culture about a young man or woman who is supposed to marry someone sensible, attractive, a good cook and good provider. But when the protagonist of the story meets the would-be fiancee's more interesting, vivacious, funny and unconventional sibling or best friend, sparks fly and the original relationship doesn't stand a chance.

And so it was when we drove the 2013 Subaru XV through the roads and highways of Tuscany. On Day One, we drove the version the U.S. will get in the third quarter of next year. The first thing to hit us: déjà vu. This is the 2012 Impreza hatchback, albeit with cladding above the wheel wells and a a seriously jacked up stance. It will have the same, brand-new 2.0-liter flat-four as the Impreza hatch we tested a few months ago that is just hitting dealer lots. So what's the verdict? The XV can cook an acceptable pot of tomato sauce and cleans up nicely for Sunday mass. She's a nice girl and good company.

We should have left it there. We should have called it a test after Day One. We should have simply driven off with the girl we came to meet. Why? Because on day two of our drive, we met the cousin with the better personality, the longer legs, the Sophia Loren cheekbones and the killer personality: the 2.0 liter turbo-diesel with the manual transmission. We drove her through the winding back roads north of Florence amidst the Chianti vineyards, villages and Fiat fix-it shops, but she refuses to come to the States. You see, she will only date Europeans.
2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek driving2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek driving2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek driving

Not surprisingly, there's no diesel option for North America. But before we get back to the gasoline-powered XV, let's just say that the 145-horsepower turbo-diesel mated to the six-speed manual is the version everyone should aspire to drive. Its 258 pound-feet of torque and the olive-oil smooth shifter is what you want. We smelled a little clutch at the coffee-stop, but we chalk that up to a few hundred miles on the odometer and the desire to keep it on boil in third gear when the second driver in the car thought 4th was in order. Torquey and responsive, the Boxer engine and its low center of gravity, combined with Subaru's all-wheel-drive system, gives you everything you would need except maybe superior fuel economy. Throughout almost all Italian back-road driving, we got a shabby 29 mpg after we did conversions from European metrics, but that was five mpg better than the petrol version. Ah, but she can cook.

And how about that gasoline-fed version? Despite the fact that the XV and Impreza hatch are as close to one another as the Olsen twins (if one of them were wearing platform shoes), Subaru will market the crossover as the XV Crosstrek. Indeed, parent company Fuji Heavy Industries would only give it to Subaru of America if they gave the car its own unique name (big decision coming about whether to capitalize the "T" in 'trek'). The company previously sold an Impreza with a raised suspension called the Impreza Outback Sport, and nobody was happy with the sales results.

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek front detail2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek wheel2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek rear detail2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek rear fascia

As previously noted, the exterior is the same as the Impreza hatch, only raised 8.6 inches off the ground. Both cars sport a more chiseled, aggressive hood. The grille on the XV has been tweaked to include a continuous chrome bar under the Subaru logo. The black cladding topping the rear wheel wells continues down under the car and surrounds the rear fog lights. The overall look of both versions maintains Subaru's sensible-shoe look, and Autoblog colleague Steven Ewing rightly compares the rear 3/4 view to the late Pontiac Vibe. The huge gaps in the wheel wells are necessary for suspension travel while traipsing off road, though these cars are typically bought for their sure-footedness in snow and dirt, not creek beds and mountain crawls. Still, the 17-inch wheels look a little lost in there.

The new Impreza is the same length and width as the old model, though the wheelbase has been lengthened by two inches giving rear-seat passengers extra comfort. We found gallons of front-seat headroom for us two five-foot, 10-inch occupants, not that the former Impreza was a slouch when it came to space up front.

On the inside, it's a clean, straightforward setup. No heavy-handed styling like in the Ford Focus center-stack. It's a cabin designed for sense and sensibility, for people who put 20 percent down on their mortgages and don't carry big credit card balances. There's so-called soft-touch surfacing on the upper door panels and dashboard, but Subaru could take some classes in how to select plastics as both the inside of the Impreza and XV borderline on Saturn Ion territory.

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek interior2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek front seats2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek rear seats2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek rear cargo area

The 2.0-liter flat-four (148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque) is the only engine Subaru is copping to bringing Stateside. The U.S. isn't even likely to get a turbo, to which we say, why the hell not? This crossover is supposed to be for urban adventurers, according to the marketing presentation, but alas turbo power will be reserved for the Impreza STI and WRX.

The engine is mated to a six-speed CVT with paddle-shifters that Subaru calls "Lineartronic." We dipped into manual mode in both the Impreza and XV, and still don't quite get the point. It's not horrible off the line in automatic, but we'd take a manual tray for both cars given the choice. The CVT Impreza hatch hits 25 miles per gallon in the city and 34 on the highway based on U.S. certification, but we got considerably less in real-world conditions when driving the Crosstrek, managing only about 24 mpg in mixed driving.

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek engine

Like the Impreza, the XV uses a MacPherson strut and lower L-arm front with a double-wishbone rear suspension. With the boxer engine and symmetrical AWD, the XV has a well-balanced and comfortable feel. As the weather called for flurries, Subaru had outfitted our tester with snow tires, but the wet stuff never materialized. Regardless, the electrically assisted steering's on-center feel – even with the cold weather rubber – was light but communicative, and the engine's start-stop system's engagement was obvious, but just shy of refined.

On the whole, there isn't too much here that the Impreza hatch doesn't already offer, except the higher ride height and the more aggressive pose that the boosted suspension provides. But those changes are important as light crossovers represent the fastest growing category in both the U.S. and Europe. The XV Crosstrek not only qualifies as a crossover (the Impreza doesn't), but it will start at under $20,000 – perhaps even under $19k – putting Subaru into a critical price bracket for shoppers comparing crossovers online (the standard 2012 Impreza clocks in at just under $18,000 in five-door form).

If you like the Impreza hatchback and Subaru's all-wheel-drive system, then there's nothing not to like here. If the idea of a legit crossover – versus a hatchback – floats your boat, then Subaru is making sure you don't feel the need to go to another brand. That's just good business sense, even if it's close to a rolling misnomer.

2013 Subaru SV Crosstrek rear 3/4 view

Can it handle some off-roading? Sure. We drove the XV through a vineyard on a dirt road, but we're sure a 1970 Dodge Coronet could have handled it without getting stuck. And that's likely the most demanding conditions owners will throw at it. But the XV is a solid, all-wheel-drive utility knife with a smooth, satisfying ride – just like most Subarus.

Subaru of America thinks it can sell between 25,000 and 35,000 XV Crosstreks a year – even without offering a turbo or a diesel. Why can't we get the better hardware that Olivier, Sven and Klaus get? We hear that Subaru of America is selling everything Japan ships to the U.S. and that the Japanese honchos don't see the need in sending over anything they aren't sure about (diesel) or that drives the cost up (turbo). Maybe Subaru executives know something we don't, but if the brand's famously adventurous buyers got the chance to experience the diesel model's superior drivability and economy for themselves, we have a feeling they'd find even more to love... and buy.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 102 Comments
      godwhomismike
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like the looks of it, and it sounds like it could have been a nice winter dancing partner from Subaru for deep snowfalls, along with being very fuel efficient. What I don't like is that people who reviewed it seemed disappointed by the fuel economy of the 2.0 L gas boxer in this application, the lack of torque, and that Subaru will not bring over the diesel.
      Shiftright
      • 3 Years Ago
      Funky, but in a good way. Actually like it, but 148 hp out of a 16v 2 liter 4 is not impressive nowadays. Just bring the damn Diesel already...
      19secondsslow
      • 3 Years Ago
      My wife doesn't want to drive anything bigger than she has to - on the other hand, she likes to sit up high. She also likes AWD for our steep driveway. It seemed like this might be a decent car for her. Trouble is I'll drive it sometimes, too, and I want the fun one - the turbo with the stick.
        torqued
        • 3 Years Ago
        @19secondsslow
        My wife wanted exactly the same. It's a bit more money, but the Mini Countryman all-4 fits that bill. And it's a turbo/stick, so I don't mind driving it either. Oh, and we regular get >30MPG.
      L1011
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm disappointed that Subaru does not see the value of selling this car in the USA with the diesel. Car companies have the impression that Americans hate diesels but that's not the case. I consider myself a serious buyer of this vehicle and would love the diesel engine. Also, why Q3 of next year? That's a long time to wait.
      masonperegrine
      • 3 Years Ago
      Did Autoblog just get a subscription to Picnik? I mean...are these pictures jokes?
        Spotted Cow
        • 3 Years Ago
        @masonperegrine
        I would fear saying this because people are agreeing with you, but....but, what's wrong with these photos exactly?
      JF
      • 3 Years Ago
      The XV makes me fear for one of the best Subaru product: the Forester. It looks like the XV is about the size of a first-gen Forester... With the Tribeca most likely getting killed off, I fear Subaru will enlarge the Forester to compensate for the loss and give a bit of its market share to the XV. It makes sense from a marketing perspective but I think the Forester has a perfect formula going on at the moment (only needs a CVT/6mt combo now), hope it won't lose it :|
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JF
        [blocked]
        cashsixeight
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JF
        Dude they already enlarged the forester to the point where it's gigantic. I love the 1st and 2nd gen foresters, anything after that is stupid huge.
          axiomatik
          • 3 Years Ago
          @cashsixeight
          I fail to see how the Forester is "gigantic". It appears to be 4" longer and 2" wider than the first-gen. That is not a major difference. It is still 3" shorter than a Nissan Rogue and 2" shorter than a Rav4. The Outback (aka Legacy on steroids) feels huge. The Forester doesn't.
      Making11s
      • 3 Years Ago
      I instantly wanted this when I first saw it on Autoblog a few months ago, but I just couldn't live with such a gutless motor. I've never had a car that took so long to hit 60.
      tnsubie
      • 3 Years Ago
      This, might, just might, bring back some former Legacy wagon owners. The current Outback is too big, the Forester too SUV, this might just be closer to the right size. I want to see one with roof rails though. The new Outback is nigh on impossible to mount kayaks and canoes onto - a huge Subie demographic.
        Commentotron
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tnsubie
        Why? The legacy wagon was awesome due to: 1- Slung low (ish) 2- Manual 3- Turbo Wihtout the last two, forget it. It's the reason that when I needed a wagon I bought a used A4 avant rather than returning to Subaru. Subaru abandoned me with their lame ass jacked up boats. Subaru makes boy-racer boxes and boredom boats. Nothing for the dad that wants quick AND practical.
        SethG
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tnsubie
        I'm a former Legacy wagon owner and no thanks. I got about 22 mpg in real world driving and that was with the 2.5 Turbo in the GT. This thing is smaller, with much less power and only gets 2 mpg better in this test. Pretty awful. It looks like they are chasing former Vibe and Compass owners with this one.
      Lewis
      • 3 Years Ago
      I, for one, still fail to comprehend the reluctance of American car manufacturers to offer diesels as options in various cars now on the market. Even though some foreign manufacturers do offer diesel options in this country (BMW and VW, to name two), the foreign builders are as much at fault as their American counterparts. Why is there so little push in this direction? A diesel VW-GTI or Golf R would be very attractive and the possible advantages of a diesel hybrid are also exciting. The irony is that Ford offers diesel alternatives in Europe.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Lewis
        [blocked]
        JonZeke
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Lewis
        Ahhh diesel. There are a host of reasons why we don't see more diesel cars here. For starters though, diesel engine options aren't cheap in Europe, either. They add anywhere from $1500-$3000 to the base price of a car in Europe, mostly due to the greater expense of engineering and certifying the more complex engine type. On the Continent, and the UK especially gas prices in the $8-10.00/gal range make this cost increase palatable for drivers. Not so much here, where diesel is usually only a few dimes more - but still close to the national average (currently somewhere in the low 3's.) For a manufacturer to seriously consider selling diesel engines in the US, they'd have to be convinced they could find enough buyers who would eat that premium for the privilege. For the past 20 years market research has convinced most manufacturers to push for hybrid technologies here as a result. Plus any engine sold in Europe has to be re-certified for use here - an additional cost. Then it has to be imported - fine for the likes of Mercedes or VW who already have plants here but import their gas and diesel engines (and sell the whole kit and kaboodle for a premium price.) Not so great for the Japanese, who never really cottoned to diesels. Most Japanese cars with diesel engines have the mills produced in Europe. Any one of these manufacturers would happily eat the $330 million or so it takes to set up a new diesel plant either here or in Mexico... ...if they had buyers. At the end of the day the problem remains that Americans aren't willing to spend an additional ~$2-3k on an engine that won't pay for itself for at least a few years. The Germans (who love the stuff, it was one of their countryman who invented the engine type after all) use returns to scale to sell TDI/CDI/Blue Efficiency diesels in a wide range of cars. They eat that cost, and find other ways to balance the ledger. Nevertheless, a VWvTDI still commands a premium for oil burner status. They offset that with greater standard feature content to bring buyers into showrooms. It works for them, but Subaru with their much lower volumes has been struggling to build that case for several years now. Lots of people on the buyer side would buy diesel products from their favorite brands, but not enough to bring more makers into the fray. Makers would love to make more diesel products, but unless they get the cost premium under a certain threshold given an estimated buyer pool it won't happen. Sad panda.
          BG
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JonZeke
          Sadly, you described the classic dilemma marketers have here: customers want the cheapest cost up front even if that is more expensive over the long term.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JonZeke
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JonZeke
          [blocked]
      peakarach1
      • 3 Years Ago
      Everythings look great except the tail lights and rear bumper.
      Bigtex25
      • 3 Years Ago
      A little under powered,it looks good though. The interior could use some work, but it's livable.
      Nate
      • 3 Years Ago
      PLEASE GIVE US THE DIESEL!!!! >>>sobbing<<< Why does the US have to be so stupid about diesel? If people here would give diesels a chance in something other than ridiculously large jacked up trucks I really think we'd love them.
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