8) Good review!At first glance, the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek left me puzzled. Who is it meant for? What makes it so different than the Impreza with it shares most every component? Is this just another "sporty crossover" concocted for a made-up segment? But when I saw the XV in the flesh, it immediately skewed my perception. It's that kind of vehicle.
The XV's contrasting colored flares; blacked-out, 17-inch aluminum wheels; lifted stance with 8.7 inches of ground clearance; dark tinted glass; and standard-issue racks all scream "I'm stylish and really love dirt." It's a unique specimen in segment flooded with cookie-cutter designs. It makes the barely older Impreza five-door look slightly blase, especially when they're parked side by side. Although it's motivated by the same 148-horsepower, 145 lb-ft 2.0-liter FB-series Boxer and five-speed manual as its Impreza sibling, the XV is very much its own individual.
Interestingly, everything inside of the entry-level 2.0i Premium we recently tested is straight to the point. None of the exterior's flash and newness comes into play here; the environment is as clean, simple, and highly usable as you'd find in any other Subaru, and that's not a bad thing. Plenty of passable plastic surfaces, soft materials, and convenient storage bins and bottle holders fill the space. A cargo cover and washable cargo area mat are standard equipment. The Subie has Bluetooth audio capability, but the base six-speaker stereo interface lacks easy-to-navigate menus.
Friends 6 feet and taller easily fit in the rear's 60/40 folding bench seat. Like its exterior dimensions, the interior's rear passenger capacities are basically identical to those of the Impreza: 37.7 inches of headroom, 35.4 inches of space for legs, and 54.2 inches for the shoulders. Behind them is a respectable 22.3 cu-ft of cargo room (with seats folded down, it grows to 51.9 cu-ft), which was plenty of space for my bags and gear. Drivers in cold climates will enjoy the included All-Weather Package, which adds heated front seats and exterior mirrors, plus a windshield wiper de-icer, to the amenity list.
The Crosstrek thankfully lives up to the "expanded-capability" message that its edgy exterior proclaims. On our soft-road loop during this year's 2013 Sport Utility of the Year evaluation, it conquered ruts, rocks, sand, mud, and loads of cow manure like a champ and without much of a struggle. Frequent hill stops for quick photo shots were a cinch to roll out of, thanks to the standard Incline Start Assist. The Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive worked hard in the dry dirt, and with the viscous-coupling locking center differential assigning its ponies appropriately, it got the job done.
It must be noted that accomplishing the job took a lot of wringing out of the smallish Boxer. The XV isn't a powerhouse off-roader; nor is it a speedy pavement cruiser. Getting anywhere quickly in the 3038-pound crossover required more than a few downshifts and a substantial pegging of the gas pedal as the engine grudgingly buzzed to the rev limiter.
It took us 8.8 seconds to get to 60 mph from a standstill, while braking to nil from 60 mph happened in 122 feet. While it's no rocket, that's quicker than our long-term Impreza (9.4), though the Impreza stops two feet shorter. Bigger 11.6-inch front and 10.8-inch rear binders help compensate for the XV's beefier all-season 225/55R17 rubber and corresponding weight gain. A larger, 15.9-gallon fuel tank helps with the overall range (I recorded more than 350 miles on one fill-up); fuel economy ratings fall slightly to 23/30 city/highway (25/33 for the Impreza 2.0i).
Rolling on a paved path yields a firm, yet not uncomfortable, ride. The lifted independent suspension soaks up bumps sufficiently well, and, in usual Subaru fashion, allows for a decent amount of controllable body roll when heading into a corner with gusto.
A few days and multiple hundred-plus-mile trips had me realize this: Even though the XV Crosstrek won't necessarily fit two child seats on its bench, take corners like a sportier car, or win any beauty pageants, it will make the growing set of young, cool, eco-friendly, outdoorsy vehicle buyers happy. This is the more adventurous Impreza for the more adventurous Subaru driver -- the driver who would have never thought to put an Impreza in their parking spot in the first place. It's a match made in a dirt-laden heaven.
Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/wagons/1208_2013_subaru_xv_crosstrek_premium_first_test/#ixzz259AqQb8h