Pros: Standard all-wheel drive at affordable prices; decent fuel economy for an all-wheel-drive vehicle; just-right blend of passenger-car and SUV attributes; excellent ride and handling balance
Cons: Middling acceleration; engine noise is exacerbated by CVT transmission; not all testers like layout of navigation system
CG Says: The Subaru XV Crosstrek lineup sees the addition of a gas-electric hybrid model for 2014. Also, the available navigation system adds Aha-based smartphone connectivity. The XV Crosstrek is one of the more car-like entries in the compact sport-utility class, yet it offers generous cargo and passenger room for its size. We also like the comfortable ride and tastefully finished cabin. The original XV Crosstrek has decent fuel economy but we wish its engine made a bit more power, especially at low rpm. Normally we like the flexibility of a manual transmission, but XV Crosstrek’s smooth CVT automatic does a better job corralling the small engine’s horsepower. We haven’t yet tested the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, but its 28 city/34 highway EPA numbers are a significant improvement over the regular model’s 25/33 rating, and it’s one of the few hybrid vehicles available with all-wheel drive. Overall, Subaru XV Crosstrek does a good job combining car qualities with small-SUV space and styling. It’s worth a serious look.