2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.2

Test drivers say the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid offers plenty of power for highway passing and urban driving. Reviewers are also impressed with the XV Crosstrek Hybrid's all-wheel drive system, which can handle rugged terrain and harsh winter weather. Reviewers also like the XV Crosstrek Hybrid’s balanced handling and responsive steering.

  • "For what's essentially a Subaru hatchback with a lift kit and a so-so hybrid system, that inherent strength and capability should not be understated." -- Left Lane News
  • "With the XV Crosstrek Hybrid the emphasis was put solidly on retaining the model's on- and off-road capabilities and, if anything, sharpening them both." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Subaru performs well and is no doubt more comfortable than the old Toyota or Landie." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "… I can say the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid is indeed gifted. Nearly ever[y] one of the Icelandic monster-truck driving support crew expressed some variation of, 'I can't believe this car made it here.'" -- Motor Trend

Acceleration and Power

The Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid is equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which generate 160 horsepower combined. The XV Crosstrek Hybrid earns fuel economy estimates of up to 29/33 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for a compact SUV and also better than what many larger hybrid SUVs get.

Reviewers write that the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid offers plenty of power for passing and urban commutes. One test driver likes the CVT’s manual mode and says it’s helpful in inclement weather.

  • "… we never hesitated to pass slower traffic when we wanted, and our urban driving in Reykjavik was without incident or even any wish for more power." -- Autoblog
  • "Subaru claims the hybrid weighs 304 more pounds than the standard Crosstrek, so the gas-electric variant likely won't be any quicker at the test track. It does, however, feel handier around town, thanks to the additional torque. Certain buyers will be thrilled with the hybrid's capability to launch from a stop using only electric power." -- Car and Driver
  • "Though the CVT doesn't offers conventional gears, it does include a manual mode with steering wheel paddles to engage specific gear ratios, and we found this help in the snow and muck we encountered in Iceland." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Sure, you'll need to work your way into the throttle pedal to move with real authority, but the Crosstrek Hybrid is noticeably peppier." -- Left Lane News

Handling and Braking 

Test drivers like the XV Crosstrek Hybrid's quick, responsive steering. Others are impressed with the brakes, which they say feel consistent, unlike some other hybrid braking systems. Test drivers also say the XV Crosstrek Hybrid's handling is nimble and precise on many surfaces.

  • "The Crosstrek's regenerative braking system is controlled by an unusually consistent-feeling pedal. If you didn't know this was a hybrid when you hopped in, the brakes certainly wouldn't give it away." -- Car and Driver
  • "Aside from the decrease in interior decibels, the biggest change is that Subaru tweaked the car's steering to be faster and more responsive. Not quite a corner carver yet - that'll be the upcoming, Impreza-based WRX - the XV Crosstrek Hybrid proved nonetheless more nimble and precise on any surface." -- Left Lane News

Off-Roading

The XV Crosstrek Hybrid comes standard with all-wheel drive and reviewer say it's capable when it comes to handling rugged terrain and high water. However, some test drivers say the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid has trouble overcoming deep snow and slush.

  • "Over the course of our several days in very challenging conditions, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid conquered an impressive array of terrains. But even with all its technical sophistication it couldn't overcome physical barriers like snow so deep that it overwhelmed the vehicle's 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Perhaps its most impressive capability was its ability to ford rivers with flowing water as deep as mid-door." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Throttle response, seamless in most situations, is a bit sluggish when trying to rock out of deep slush, although the electric motor does boost low-end torque (163 lb-ft at 2000 rpm versus the conventional XV's 145 lb-ft at 4200 rpm). Stability control intervenes even when it's turned off, making it difficult to spin the wheels to create momentum." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "That 8.7 inches of ground clearance in conjunction with the standard capability of a Subaru with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive aided by VDC kept us going, and almost entirely on our own power." -- Autoblog
  • "Subaru owners tend to be a hardy type, and while few will encounter anything quite like the cookies and cream-like landscape of Iceland, it's always nice to know that they could if they wanted to." -- Left Lane News

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