The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek's biggest news is the availability of a hybrid powertrain. One of our biggest complaints about the XV Crosstrek was the loss in fuel efficiency compared with an Impreza, so the hybrid model might be just what we wanted...
Looking for the ground clearance of an Outback with the footprint and fuel economy of an Impreza? Perhaps the awkwardly named 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek is the car you've been looking for. We find the chassis to be nimble, the handling predictable, and the off-road capability to be more than adequate. One of the few letdowns is the electrically assisted steering, but fuel-economy concerns trump driving enjoyment in a vehicle like this. Not surprisingly, the interior looks and feels exactly like the Impreza's and offers the same standard Bluetooth and iPod connectivity along with a more universal USB port. Although we aren't in love with the name, we certainly appreciate the execution of this crossover.
Essentially an Impreza on stilts, the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek is a more off-road focused Impreza hatchback. Although the XV Crosstrek name is new, this idea dates back to the old Outback Sport.
The base 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek powertrain is carried over directly from the Impreza, which means a 2.0-liter flat-four engine producing 148 hp and all-wheel drive are standard. The only choice to make is between manual and continuously variable transmissions. Despite the shared engine, the XV Crosstrek isn't quite as fuel efficient as the Impreza because it offers 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which is three more than its road-focused cousin.
One area where the XV Crosstrek differs dramatically from the Impreza is the available hybrid model. The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid uses the same 2.0-liter flat-four engine and CVT but adds a 13.4-hp electric motor to that transmission. Subaru says the hybrid can operate in EV mode at low speeds and offers the same ground clearance as the regular XV Crosstrek. Hybrid models get active grille shutters and lightweight seventeen-inch aluminum wheels to help increase fuel economy. Subaru hasn't revealed the exact fuel-economy figures for the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, but we expect an increase of three to four miles per gallon in both city and highway driving (the nonhybrid XV Crosstrek is EPA rated at 25/33 mpg city/highway with the CVT).
If you aren't going to venture off-road, the Impreza hatchback probably makes a lot more sense because its lower center of gravity will improve handling. At least the hybrid model should allow XV Crosstrek owners to approach, or perhaps exceed, the fuel economy that Impreza owners enjoy without restricting their ability to go off-road.
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