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Hi All,

So, as some of you may know, I live in California but was in North Carolina for work for the past year. Well, the job finally ended in December and I stuck around for the holidays then headed back to Los Angeles.

I left this past Wednesday, January 2nd, from NC and arrived yesterday, January 4th, in CA, and boy what a trip it was.

This made the sixth time I have driven cross-country but definitely the hardest one yet. However, through and through the Crosstrek did amazing.

Day 1 - Usually I don't drive too much on my first day as I get tired faster (as I'm not used to driving that long) and I am just easing into the trip. However, this time, for whatever reason, I drove longer than normal on my first day, just a hair over 1,000 miles and landed on the Louisiana/Texas border for the night.

Day 2 - Woke up and hit the road, ready for another productive day, hoping I would arrive in CA on the third day earlier than normal since my first day went so well. That didn't last long. About six hours into the trip it started snowing. At first I thought "oh this is cool" as I don't see snow very often living between south-east NC and southern CA. However, as I kept driving, the snow became worse and worse and night was beginning to fall. I had never driven in snow before and so perhaps was being too cautious, but it really messed my trip up. I knew I was in good hands in the Crosstrek with Subaru's legendary AWD, but again I had never experienced this before so I was going relatively slow -- I wasn't the slowest person but I definitely wasn't the fastest. As it got darker the snow got heavier and I could barely see 15 feet in front of me driving at about 25mph. On top of this, the road was completely covered in snow and it was near impossible to tell where the road ended and the median/shoulder began.

The snow eventually died down a bit but everything was still covered. I planned on pushing through but I started noticing a problem with my steering. It felt like my wheels were just locking up and the backend of the car would kind of slide out. I pumped the brakes a bit and could feel a bunch of ice buildup on them so I rode them for a bit to melt it off. The problem with the steering still didn't go away so I slowed down quite a bit. After about three hours of driving 20-40mph, I stopped in El Paso, Texas for the night. Had it not been snowing I knew I could have gone another three hours.

When I pulled over in El Paso I found out that so much ice had packed inside my wheel wells that it was preventing the car from steering properly and every time I hit a small bump in the road it was tire-to-ice which was causing the sliding feeling. I figured since I was already stop I would clear the ice in the morning and grab a hotel for the night.




Day 3 - I woke up and it was still snowing but I still got an early start. At this point the roads had been cleared and salted so driving wasn't too bad. After about two hours there was not even any sign of snow on the roads or surrounding grounds and it was smooth sailing. For about three more hours. Around 40 miles before Phoenix, AZ I hit a traffic jam, an accident I assumed. It was bad, but I figured it wouldn't be too terribly long and, being in the middle of the desert, there were no other side streets or exits to take. Fast forward THREE HOURS later and I had traveled almost two miles and could finally see an exit. However, ALL traffic was being diverted to this exit, both westbound and eastbound, so it didn't get any better. After another hour of sitting in the exit (we were being diverted through a small town), I said screwed it and turned around. I found an alternate route with Google Maps and hit the road. It ended up taking me about 30 minutes of side roads and small highways but I made it around the traffic jam and was back on the road heading west for CA.

Luckily from here the rest of the trip was easy and smooth. I ended up getting to my house in CA around midnight, close to six hours after I had originally expected, but I was happy to be home.

As far as how the Crosstrek did, I have to say that it preformed amazingly.

Power - I honestly don't know what some reviewers were saying about lack of passing power on the highway. I absolutely had no problem passing people (which, for me, is usually a lot) and the car didn't feel like it was straining too hard. I set the cruise control most of the time and it kept up fine. Hitting steep inclines with the cruise control set was no issue -- the Crosstrek would hold a steady speed without problem and with barely having to rev the engine. Sitting just under 80mph would keep the engine at ~2,500rpm and at just under 90mph (Texas) the Crosstrek stayed at ~3,000rpm. Not bad at all. The most I saw it hit was ~6,000rpm on a steep incline but I only witnessed that once, usually 4,000rpm was the absolute highest I saw it reach.

Fuel Economy - I actually wasn't as happy as I wanted to be with the fuel economy. Over the entirety of the trip I averaged just under 30mpg. Granted, I was in a lot of hilly areas and things like the snow storm and traffic jam slowed me down, but I still expected just a little better.

Handling - Again, no problem here. I don't have much to say except that the Crosstrek did what I wanted it to in regards to holding a straight line and handling curves when needed.

Noise - The Crosstrek is a little loud, but not that bad. I had my music sitting at just around 10 most of the trip and I could hear it fine. There is a good amount of wind noise at over 80mph, but below that it wasn't bad at all, especially under 70mph.

Comfort - Ride comfort was fine, sometimes a little bumpy but the Crosstrek does sit 8.7" up so I expected it, and it definitely wasn't "rattle your brain" bumpy by any means. The seat was very comfortable the whole trip, but sitting in anything for 13-15 hours a day can get uncomfortable. I did love using the seat heaters to help soothe my back.

I was really happy with how my Crosstrek preformed on this ~2,700 miles trip. I know I wouldn't have felt as safe driving through the snow storm had I been in a FWD/RWD car (though an Outback did pass me at a good rate at one point).

I think I covered everything. Please ask me for any specifics and I will try to answer!
 

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That ice build up is crazy, I haven't seen anything like that before, at least not to that extent. Then again this is only my second season of living in a wintry part of the country... I'll have to watch out for that next time I am driving in a blizzard.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
2003 Outback Sport (3 trips) – Crosstrek was significantly superior in all ways, not much to say there.

Before that, 2004 Infiniti G35 Sedan (2 trips) – Infiniti was quieter, smoother and provided more power but I wouldn't have felt half as safe driving through a snow storm in a RWD sedan. Also, though the Infiniti had more power, I didn't feel the Crosstrek's power was inadequate.

Overall I feel it's almost not fair comparing the three.

Poego said:
That ice build up is crazy, I haven't seen anything like that before, at least not to that extent. Then again this is only my second season of living in a wintry part of the country... I'll have to watch out for that next time I am driving in a blizzard.
Yeah, I'm not sure if thats common or not. It didn't really seem to happen until the very end, after a few hours, I'm guessing because it took a while to build up that much and freeze.

I'm hoping it's a common occurrence with all cars and not a flaw in the Crosstrek's design. Though, I did notice an Escalade at my hotel with the same buildup.
 

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That ice buildup genuinely looks worrying...

I'm sure that could happen to any normal roadgoing passenger car though...

I guess that's why the owner's manual says not to install wheels/tires larger than stock.

And probably another reason why some rally racing teams use narrower tires in severe winter conditions.


Gotta say, that is quite a trip you made there and I'm glad you've reported back!
 

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Yeah it was bad. There was even more on one of my rear wheel wells (which I think was the main culprit in my steering issues) but I didn't get a picture of that. It was basically touching the tire, less than 1/2" away.
 

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Wow. Maybe one more reason chains are not recommended on the Crosstrek. Not enough clearance with ice building up like that.
 

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Based on your comment about seat heaters, I assume you have the CVT. I'm considering buying a manual transmission version since I like to shift and want to be able to control it a bit better.

Any thoughts/comments?
 

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Moonray13 said:
Wow. Maybe one more reason chains are not recommended on the Crosstrek. Not enough clearance with ice building up like that.
This may be a dumb question, but wouldn't chains help chip away at some of that ice buildup?

mklenk said:
Based on your comment about seat heaters, I assume you have the CVT. I'm considering buying a manual transmission version since I like to shift and want to be able to control it a bit better.

Any thoughts/comments?
Manual transmission wasn't even a thought for me (I love shifting gears, but not in LA traffic) so I have only ever driven CVT. I love my CVT so far and feel it has proven to be better than I expected when I bought it (not only the transmission, but the whole car.)

Do the manual Crosstreks not include seat heaters?
 

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I just noticed in my second picture how close the ice is to the wheel in the top left, deep in the well by where the bumper meets the fender. That probably explains the steering issues more than anything -- it looks like the ice is touching the wheel basically.
 

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mklenk said:
Based on your comment about seat heaters, I assume you have the CVT. I'm considering buying a manual transmission version since I like to shift and want to be able to control it a bit better.

Any thoughts/comments?
All US Crosstreks come with the all-weather package: heated seats, heated side mirrors, and windshield wiper deicers.

Glad to hear the XV made that journey well. I enjoy those kinds of trips on occasion, completely expect to enjoy it when I go in the XV too.
 
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