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2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

• Type. Four-door, all-wheel-drive compact hatchback.
• Engine (hp): 2.0-litre DOHC horizontally opposed four-cylinder (150).
• Mileage: L/100 km (city/hwy) 7.5/5.5.
• Base Price (incl. destination): $29,000 (est.).
Is this Subaru for real, or is the new XV Crosstrek arriving this fall just faking it?

If another automaker attempted to elevate one of its small wagons to the status of “off-roader,” it would risk becoming an industry laughing stock.

But Subaru is different. It always has been. And just when you think the Japan-based company has settled down and become a conservative member of the community, it ratchets up the funkiness and creates this bold and brash offshoot of its Impreza wagon.

You just gotta love it.

In developing the niche-oriented Crosstrek, the Impreza wagon was an ideal starting point.

Subaru completely reinvented its popular entry-level model for the 2012 model year, making it larger, better looking and significantly more fuel-efficient (albeit less powerful) than before. And with its standard four-wheel-drive, the Impreza has the right stuff to be converted into a pseudo Rubicon Trail-conquering hero.

The reality, however, is that the Crosstrek is best suited for rough road and weather conditions plus limited off-trail adventuring.

Anyone familiar with Volvo’s XC70 wagon will think of this Subie as a scaled-down and less expensive copycat as well as sharing kinship with the current Subaru Outback wagon.

Adding the XV Crosstrek to a growing lineup that now also includes the BRZ sports coupe gives Subaru a wider cross-section of vehicles.

It’s by no means a Jeep or Land Rover-style rock-crawler, but for more typical rugged outdoor activities, the XV Crosstrek is about as real as it gets.

A more macho look

The right look is critical for any sport ute-style vehicle and Subaru has provided the Crosstrek with its own distinctive nosepiece, front and rear bumpers, roof rails and rear spoiler.

In addition, extra cladding for the wheel arches and rocker panel has been installed.

Ground clearance

The slightly bigger front brake rotors add stopping power and a hiked-up suspension provides 22 centimetres of ground clearance, which is about eight more than the Impreza. That’s just shy of the competing Jeep Patriot’s 23-centimetre stance and should be plenty for straddling rock-strewn terrain and fording shallow streams.


The Crosstrek’s 148-horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine comes straight from the Impreza. That’s significantly less oomph than the pre-2012 170-horsepower Impreza, but the offset is 7.5-l/100 km city and 5.5 l/100 km highway ratings that crush the old “Imp’s” 10.4/7.7 numbers.
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