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2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek was new.


Performance: 7.4

The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek is equipped with a four-cylinder engine that critics agree is underpowered, unrefined and produces slow acceleration. However, most reviewers say the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) is smooth and responsive. Fuel economy estimates for the Subaru XV Crosstrek are excellent for the class. Test drivers are impressed with the XV Crosstrek’s confidence-inspiring handling around corners and its ability to comfortably absorb road imperfections.

  • "Aside from the tough-looking visual elements and suspension changes, the Crosstrek is virtually identical to the Impreza. That means it features responsive handling that belies its SUV pretensions, along with a fuel-thrifty 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder." -- Left Lane News
  • "The drive isn't without its negatives, though. As well as the aforementioned lack of oomph, there's a sense of detachment to the controls -- numb steering (though nicely weighted) and a numb accelerator pedal -- plus some road noise coming into the cabin." -- AutoTrader
  • "But the XV is a solid, all-wheel-drive utility knife with a smooth, satisfying ride - just like most Subarus." -- Autoblog (2013)
  • "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 (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available. Equipped with the CVT, the XV Crosstrek gets an EPA-estimated 26/34 mpg city/highway, which is outstanding for the class, trumping the fuel economy estimates of most front-wheel drive rivals.

According to reviewers, the XV Crosstrek’s engine is underpowered, which results in sluggish acceleration. A few also complain that the engine is noisy. The available CVT earns high marks from reviewers who say it doesn’t suffer from the lack of responsiveness and refinement that is typical of other CVTs. As a result, many critics recommend skipping the standard manual transmission. 

  • "Mention the letters CVT to a driving enthusiast and expect a tirade about slow responses and drivetrain drone. Put that same enthusiast in the business seat of an XV Crosstrek and watch those words being eaten. There is no advantage to having the manual transmission. Even if there's an itch to select the occasional gear oneself, this setup includes steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles for clicking through six preprogrammed virtual ratios." -- AutoTrader
  • The original XV Crosstrek has decent fuel economy but we wish its engine made a bit more power, especially at low rpm. Normally we like the flexibility of a manual transmission, but XV Crosstrek's smooth CVT automatic does a better job corralling the small engine's horsepower." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The biggest downside to the Crosstrek is the engine, a 148-horsepower 4-cylinder ‘boxer’ engine that's indifferent to how big of a hurry you may be in. The continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) works hard to find power, but the resulting noise from the engine will likely encourage you to just take a more relaxed attitude to your journey." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As in the new Impreza, the XV's flat-four is a letdown. With only 148 horses, acceleration is tepid." -- Car and Driver (2013)

Handling and Braking 

Automotive journalists report that secure handling helps the 2015 XV Crosstrek round corners with confidence. Reviewers say the XV Crosstrek has a comfortable ride, and that its high ground clearance makes it capable off-road. The XV Crosstrek also earns praise for its strong brakes and precise steering. All-wheel drive is standard on the 2015 XV Crosstrek.

  • "Ground clearance is 8.7 in, which is pretty good and comes into its own when mud and ruts replace paved roads. But because of that flat 4-cylinder engine, the XV Crosstrek's center of gravity is still the best in its class. A low center of gravity helps with that feeling of stability and brings a liveliness to the ride." -- AutoTrader
  • "The SUV's suspension errs on the soft side, soaking up bumps and other imperfections nicely, yet somehow managing to feel stable and planted in corners, not swaying too much around bends." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • “The brakes even took a steep mountain descent without showing signs of fade. Aside from the minimal feedback through the electrically assisted steering, the XV’s chassis is well tuned, and its ride quality falls on the firmer side." -- Car and Driver (2013)
  • "XV Crosstrek feels agile and handles confidently in corners. The steering is accurate and nicely weighted." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

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