2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Review: Driving Impressions
The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek's Impreza origins give it a significant leg up when it comes to providing a driving experience that is far more car-like than most other small crossovers. In all honesty, piloting the XV Crosstrek around town had us feeling more like we were behind the wheel of a tall wagon rather than an SUV, an impression that reinforced every time we took a sharp corner and were surprised by the Subaru's minimum amount of body lean and excellent overall stability. From a comfort perspective, the suspension system did a relatively good job of absorbing the punishment dished out by Montreal's horrific road infrastructure, further enhancing the passenger car personality of the small crossover.
Subaru's answer to the fuel consumption issues that have plagued older models of its crossovers, sedans, and hatchbacks has been to down-size its power plants and introduced a CVT, a move that was necessary given the soaring mpg ratings boasted by many other compact SUVs. When seen on paper, the 148 ponies and 145 lb-ft of twist delivered by the Crosstrek's 2.0-liter engine might seem anemic at best, but once put to the test the small four-cylinder unit stands up well to the rigors of real-world driving.
The continuously-variable automatic transmission outfitted to our test vehicle never had us giving it a second thought, and although we occasionally flipped through the 'virtual' gears programmed into it via the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, we were happier to leave the Crosstrek in 'D' and have the computer sort things out for us. We found little difference in performance between the five-speed manual and the CVT, with both versions of the crossover providing tepid, but usable acceleration, and we experienced none of the under-hood buzz that is sometimes associated with continuously-variable designs pegging small displacement engines at higher rpms.
Montreal saw a snow-filled January that wreaked havoc on local roads, and we were glad to be able to take advantage of the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek's excellent all-wheel drive system while blasting through the piles of white stuff that were scattered along side streets that the city's removal crews had completely forgotten about. With more ground clearance than a base Jeep Grand Cherokee, the XV Crosstrek had no issue finding traction and maintaining its forward momentum in the less-than-ideal conditions we flogged it through, and the vehicle even display a surprising willingness to get tail-happy around a corner if one cranked the wheel at a high enough rate of speed. It's very difficult to find a crossover better prepared for snowy weather than one wearing a Subaru badge, and this remains true for the new Crosstrek.