$12,948 - $14,503

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek was new.


Performance: 7.1

A car-like ride and a capable all-wheel drive system are among the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek’s highlights. However, the bulk of reviewers agree that this crossover needs a more powerful engine.

  • "The weak engine lets down a fairly athletic chassis." -- Car and Driver 
  • "XV Crosstrek feels agile and handles confidently in corners. The steering is accurate and nicely weighted." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Journeying through the tight, undulating dirt roads of Oahu's famous Kualoa Ranch served as a formidable challenge to the 2013 XV Crosstrek, but it made quick work of the slippery grades, water crossings and lengthy stretches of rough soil we encountered along the way." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "With the boxer engine and symmetrical AWD, the XV has a well-balanced and comfortable feel." -- Autoblog 
  • "It is a machine that competently gets its job done on the road, but was it fun to drive? No. Although I am sure most of this is due to the powerless engine. Perhaps a bit of extra torque would have allowed the handling to present itself a little more prominently." -- Jalopnik 

Acceleration and Power

The XV Crosstrek comes with a 148-horsepower four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with paddle shifters is optional. The EPA reports that the XV Crosstrek gets up to 25/33 mpg city/highway, which is quite good for an all-wheel drive SUV.

While test drivers say that the XV Crosstrek has its share of attributes, most agree that the engine isn’t one of them. Many write that the XV Crosstrek is underpowered and that it accelerates slowly. Some mention that the manual transmission makes better use of the XV Crosstrek’s limited power, while others appreciate the CVT, which behaves similarly to a conventional automatic transmission.

  • "As in the new Impreza, the XV's flat-four is a letdown. With only 148 horses, acceleration is tepid." -- Car and Driver 
  • "The manual transmission has an easy-to-use shifter and fine clutch action, but off-road and highway driving can require timely downshifts to keep the engine spinning fast enough to make sufficient power to climb even moderate grades. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) behaves just like an automatic transmission in everyday driving and is very smooth in operation." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Acceleration, however, is rather underwhelming, and the 145-horsepower 4-cylinder was fighting for its life when faced with the daunting task of hauling four full-size journalists around town." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Here the XV Crosstrek falls flat. The car bears the same flat-four 2.0-liter Boxer engine as found on the Impreza. ... And you certainly feel less than excited when standing on the throttle." -- Jalopnik 

Handling and Braking 

A few reviewers are disappointed with the XV Crosstrek’s steering system, saying that it doesn’t provide as much road feel as they’d like. However, nearly all test drivers agree that the XV Crosstrek offers balanced handling and a car-like ride. Most also agree that the brakes provide good stopping power. The XV Crosstrek comes standard with all-wheel drive, and auto writers think that it works well in a variety of conditions.

  • "One of the few letdowns is the electrically assisted steering, which could use a brightening facial of nightingale droppings, available at a resort on nearby Maui." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "The brakes even took a steep mountain descent without showing signs of fade." -- Car and Driver 
  • "Ride height is about four inches higher than Subaru's similar Impreza hatchback, but XV Crosstrek manages to retain a car-like demeanor on the road." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Since it is neither a hardcore SUV nor a completely on-road vehicle, Subaru had to balance on-road feel with off-road capabilities, a job it accomplished very well." -- Motor Trend  


Although the XV Crosstrek lacks the purpose-built ability of off-road SUVs like the Jeep Wrangler and Nissan Xterra, reviewers agree that Subaru’s all-wheel drive system makes the XV Crosstrek capable enough to handle a variety of conditions.

  • "We encountered rocks, sand, gravel, mud, and the occasional shallow creek crossing. It wasn't the Rubicon, but it did give us plenty of chances to see how the Crosstrek handled itself." -- Motor Trend 
  • "The average person who stuffs the cargo area with one medium kennel, the contents of two shopping carts, or three golf bags would be startled by the Crosstrek's off-pavement capability." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Subaru's renowned symmetrical all-wheel-drive worked so well, we can't recall a single instance of traction loss, that is, when we weren't deliberately trying to spin the wheels." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • Can it handle some off-roading? Sure. We drove the XV through a vineyard on a dirt road, but we're sure a 1970 Dodge Coronet could have handled it without getting stuck." -- Autoblog

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