Subaru has a knack for making its cars do more than expected.
Take the original Subaru Outback for example. When Subaru’s product team realized it was in the midst of an SUV boom with no SUV product they could offer, it turned its Legacy station wagon into a pseudo SUV. Of course, having a doctrine of employing all-wheel drive for every product (save its BRZ sports car) makes this an easy route for Subaru to take.
This brings us to the Subaru XV Crosstrek. Based upon the Subaru Impreza, as is the all-conquering WRX line of high performance cars, Subaru has once again added branches to branches of its family tree. Basically, the XV Crostrek is a crossover sport utility vehicle for people who would prefer to drive a cars rather than something that looks like a truck.
Equipped with a higher ride height, a more robust suspension system, and protective cladding in places where rocks and obstacles might mar the bodywork, the rough and tumble Subaru XV Crosstrek is kitted out to deal with mild offroading excursions and come back looking good. You wouldn’t want to try the Rubicon Trail in a XV Crosstrek, but if there’s a rutted trail leading to your favorite camping, fishing, or hang gliding spot, you’ll find the Subaru capable of getting you there and—more importantly—bringing you back.
Power comes from Subaru’s 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine configured to produce 148 horsepower and 145 ft-lbs of torque. Two transmission choices are offered to complete the all-wheel drive powertrain; a five-speed manual, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
As you might expect, given the XV Crosstrek’s mission, interior accommodations are more on the utilitarian side. However, it is a Subaru, so the materials quality is quite good. Subaru offers XV Crosstrek in two states of trim—Premium and Limited. Standard features for the Premium trim package include 17-inch wheels, heated seats, Bluetooth for both audio and telephony, and iPod connectivity. Opt for the Limited Crosstrek, you’ll also get an automatic climate control system, leather upholstery, and a rear view camera feeding a touchscreen monitor in the dash.
Cargo space is a quite generous 51.9 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded. Given the Subaru XV Crosstrek is really an Impreza hatchback in disguise, that’s a pretty respectable number. By the way, those seatbacks fold in a 60/40 split to increase flexibility.
All in all, the Subaru XV Crosstrek is a handsome, yet rough and tumble vehicle capable of handling your daily commute just as easily as it does mildly challenging muddy trails.