Subaru might be a niche car company with only eight active lifestyle products, but it?s the most successful company in the auto business. In the last 18 months, Subaru, which is owned by Fuji Heavy Industries, is the MVP of automakers sporting stock gains of more than 500 percent. The gains are the result of record sales, month after month even when others were in bankruptcy.
That comes from building very good products that consumers want.
Barbara is convinced, however, that the fantastic sales are also attributed to the heartwarming television commercials built around the tag line, ?Love. It?s what makes a Subaru a Subaru.? If you haven?t seen the commercials, you should do a Google search and watch some of them ? they are great!
Actually, a big part of Subaru?s record growth has been because of some new products. The BRZ sports car, for one, has been a massive success with customers having to often wait months to get their car. The other all-new vehicle in the Subaru lineup is the XV Crosstrek. We recently spent a week revisiting the Subaru XV Crosstrek, and it was easy to see why Subaru is a Subaru.
The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek is just the right size, at least for a single person, small family or couple like us. At 175 inches, long it?s about the same length as a Subaru Impreza five-door or a Honda Civic, which means it fits comfortably in nearly any garage. The small size makes it an agile performer in parking lots, too. However, it will still carry five adults, although go for the outside seats in the rear, the center will be tight. Cargo area is 22.3 cubic feet, and with the 60/40 split rear seat backs down that capacity expands to 51.9 cubic feet. That?s a lot of room for adventure gear, or a massive shopping trip.
There is no base model; rather the XV Crosstrek comes in two well-equipped versions, the Premium and the Limited. Distinctive Premium features include cruise control, air conditioning, power windows, keyless entry and the other ?must have? features. There?s also an extensive list of safety gear including Vehicle Dynamics Control (stability control), traction control and a rollover sensor. It also has a good audio system, Bluetooth for hands free phone use and streaming audio, and connections for all kinds of other inputs ? USB, iPod control and auxiliary jack. Premium model pricing is only $22,790, including the destination charge. Available extras include a CVT transmission, power moonroof and touch-screen navigation with rear vision camera.
A 148-hp, 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine powers the XV Crosstrek. The engine is often called a Boxer because the cylinders are horizontal in a flat plane and the pistons go in and out much like the movements of a boxer’s blows rather than up and down like most engines. These engines are unique to the Subaru, Porsche and the old Volkswagen Beetle cars. They tend to be extremely dependable and quite powerful.
Like all Subaru?s, with the exception of the new BRZ Subaru sports car, which is rear-wheel drive, the Crosstrek has the brand?s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment. The Crosstrek uses either a five-speed manual transmission or the optional Lineartronic? Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). For drivers, like us, who like to maintain better control, the CVT also has steering wheel mounted shift paddles which simulate a six-speed transmission, but without having to use a clutch. The shifts are quick and positive, and work great for engine braking on hills or slowing for corners.
The CVT is exceptionally fuel-efficient earning EPA ratings of 25 mpg city, 33 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined. Those numbers make it one of the most fuel-efficient crossovers available. We averaged 31.1 mpg during our week with the Crosstrek.
Both transmissions also include the Subaru Incline Start Assist system. The value of this feature becomes very evident when you get to the top of a hill, on- or off-road, and have to stop — then start again. Rather than rolling back and causing panic for the driver, the system holds the vehicle for a couple of seconds while the driver?s foot is moving from the brake pedal to the throttle. Whew!
We get that impression by the number of muddy Subaru?s we see, often with bike or ski carriers on top. Perhaps Subaru should consider offering a free car wash instead of 24-hour roadside assistance for new-car limited warranty period. However, a muddy Subaru is like a badge saying the occupants have been having a good time!