Test Drive: 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

?Subaru adds the new Subaru XV Crosstrek to CUV lineup?

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek- SideOahu, HI – Looking for an affordable, highly capable all-wheel drive vehicle that is fun-to-drive with loads of versatility and that delivers the greatest fuel efficiency in its category (up to 33 mpg), with 8.7-inch ground clearance?

Your search may well be over with the arrival of the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek that is slated to go on sale early this fall. The Subaru XV Crosstrek is really like no other CUV in the Subaru stable, though some will likely compare it to their popular Impreza.

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek - FrontThe Subaru XV Crosstrek will be available in two trim levels: the 2.0i Premium (there is no base model) and a more upscale 2.0i Limited. Both models will be powered by? Subaru?s 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline, flat-opposed (Boxer?) 4-cylinder engine with Dual Active Valve Control System, sequential multi-port fuel injection and electronic throttle control. The engine cranks out 148 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, along with 145 pound? feet of torque at 4,200 rpm. The driving force is delivered to all four wheels through Subaru?s symmetrical all-wheel drive systems via either a five-speed manual gearbox with incline start assist or a Lineartronic? CVT automatic with a driver-selectable6-speed manual shift mode and steering wheel mounted shift paddles that also features incline start assist.

2013 Subaru XV  Crosstrek - EngineThe manual?s AWD system is a continuous type with a viscous-coupling locking center differential, while the AWD system in CVT equipped models is an Active Torque Split system with an electronically managed, continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch.

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek - WheelsStandard features for both trim levels include: 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels in a dark gray painted surface and machined edges; raised suspension; roof rails with available cross rails; fog lights; power moonroof; cargo-area tray; touch-screen GPS navigation system with SMS text messaging capability, XM? satellite radio and XM? NavTraffic; 7 airbags including driver?s side knee airbag; and Whiplash protection front seats. The 2.0i Premium models will start at $21,995. (add $795 for Destination and Handling) and will come with cloth upholstery, a 6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth? audio/phone connectivity and USB port/iPod? control, and an available All-Weather Package with windshield wiper de-icer, heated exterior mirrors and heated front seats.

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek - InteriorThe 2.0i Limited models will add: leather-trimmed upholstery, a six-speaker audio system with larger 4.3? display and HD Radio? with iTunes? tagging capability, automatic climate control, leather trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, Lineartronic? CVT, the All-Weather Package, a Rear-Vision camera and auto-on/off headlamps. Official pricing had not been set for the Limited model at the time of this writing.

Subaru chose the North shore of Oahu, Hawaii to showcase the capabilities of the XV Crosstrek for U.S. and Canadian automotive journalists, with an extensive off-roading experience through lush rain forests located on a remote open range cattle ranch with a mid-day lunch break atop a rugged mountain peak in the rain. The ranch has served as the site for several TV and big-screen movies such as Jurassic Park, Lost, 50 First Dates and more.

Offroad 2013 Subaru CrosstekMy driving partner and I? piloted a 2.0i XV Crosstrek in Premium trim with a Silver metallic exterior finish (the most popular finish will likely be the Tangerine Orange Pearl) and black interior in virtually every possible driving scenario, from crawling in commute traffic into Honolulu, open freeway driving, and back to the North Shore and exhilarating off road journey, sighting not only cattle, but wild boar as well.

SUMMARY: The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek should prove to be a welcome addition to the company?s CUV lineup. I found it to be extremely attractive and sporty in its appearance, displaying a low shoulder line and blacked out ?B? and ?C? pillars giving it an almost coupe-like persona with a low 0.35 drag coefficient. It is also highly functional and fun to drive. The seating seemed a little firm at first, which was soon offset by the support that they provided. Exterior mirrors have been moved from the ?A? pillar to the door, improving outward visibility, which turns out to be excellent.

Offroad with the 2013 Subaru CrosstekRide quality was most comfortable and compliant, even over rough terrain, and the handling characteristics served up an athletic and sporty feel with good steering response and vehicle stability. The symmetrical All-Wheel drive system performed flawlessly on both slick wet and rough dry surfaces.

The 2.0-liter engine is normally aspirated and does not have direct injection, which Subaru felt was an unnecessary expense, but it delivers an energetic acceleration response none-the-less, along with a pleasing fuel economy (25- mpg city / 33-mpg highway)? The CVT, though not my personal first transmission?choice, performed smoothly in either its fully automatic mode or when utilizing the paddle shifters for the feel of a manual gearbox. The cruising range averages 524 miles – great for extended trips.

Safety features are abundant and effective – especially the incline start assist, and versatility is key word with the 60/40 split rear seat backs that fold flat for a level load surface, plentiful storage nooks and crannies, and the roof rail system with a 150 pound load limit. Towing capacity is 1,500 pounds.

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek - BackIn the final analysis, the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek is ideally sized to serve as the ideal mode of transport for individuals and families with an active lifestyle that seek adventure without compromise. Okay, perhaps the XV Crosstrek is not a vehicle suited for serious rock-crawling or traversing the legendary Rubicon Trail, but is certainly up fording small streams and tackling snow-covered roads and muddy trails with gusto. So, pack up your surfboard, kayak or skis and hit the road or off-road for your favorite destination or explore new possibilities in style.

SPECIFICATIONS: Subaru XV Crosstrek-?13

Base Price: $21,995
Price as Tested: $22,790
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline 4-cylinder with DAVCS, sequential multi-port fuel injection and electronic throttle control
Horsepower (bhp): 148 @ 6,200 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 145 @ 4,200 rpm
Transmission: Lineartronic? CVT with driver-selectable6-speed manual shift mode and steering wheel mounted shift paddles and incline start assist
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Symmetrical Active Torque Split All-Wheel Drive with electronically managed continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch. Stability/traction control Vehicle Dynamics Control with all-wheel, all-speed traction control (TCS) and rollover sensor
Suspension: Front – MacPherson-type struts, lower L-arms, coil springs and stabilizer bar. Rear – Double wishbone, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Brakes: Power-assisted 4-wheel discs (vented front) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and 4-channel / 4- sensor ABS with Brake Assist and Brake Override safety systems
Tires: Yokohama Geolander G95 225/55 R17 95H mounted on 5-hole/spoke black painted alloy wheels with machined face
Wheelbase: 103.7 inches
Length Overall: 175.2 inches
Width: 78.2 inches with mirrors
Height: 63.6 inches with roof rails
Curb Weight: 3,175 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 15.9 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 25 mpg city / 33 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested