2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid – Sporty Crossover or Hybrid Fuel Miser? [Review]

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Profile

The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid is Subaru’s first-ever hybrid vehicle and it’s designed to appeal to those looking for crossover utility with a greener footprint than its non-hybrid brother.

STATS Starting Retail Price As Tested Price HP / Lb-Ft
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid $26,820 $28,820 160/163
EPA Rating MPG As Tested MPG
Rating: LEASE IT! 29 / 33 Combined 31 24.6 Combined

At first glance, the crossover utility part of the equation is easy to spot. It’s got 8.7″ of ground clearance on 17″ aluminum alloy wheels with good angles of entry and departure. There are raised roof rails for holding whatever it is that you plan to haul for the weekend and its overall styling looks like something more suited to a dirt road than an office parking lot.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Front Quarter

The interior is clean and uncluttered, almost utilitarian, but it doesn’t come off feeling cheap. Seating is comfortable and supportive and the heated seats warm up lightning fast to a temperature somewhere in the range of molten lava which is wonderful on frigid winter days.

Passenger headspace is ample with 39.8″ up front and 37.7″ in the rear so nobody is going to have their head brushing the roof. There’s also plenty of leg and shoulder room so even taller passengers can sit comfortably in the rear seats without their knees hitting the backs of the front seats. The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid also boasts a few extras over the base Subaru XV Crosstrek 2.0i Premium with the non-hybrid engine, which is a plus considering it costs thousands of dollars more.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Dash

There’s a leather-wrapped steering wheel, silver metallic trim and a special multi-function display that provides information about exactly how that hybrid engine is working at any given moment. Additional standard features not on the 2.0i Premium include a rear-view camera, keyless access and keyless start, paddle shifters, a folding rear seat armrest with cupholders, and an automatic climate control system with air filtration.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Rear Seats

Hybrid vehicles don’t always provide for the most exciting driving experience but the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid challenges that perception. It’s equipped with a 2.0-liter DOHC engine with 160 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque paired to a CVT with a 6-speed manual mode via paddle shifters. This was more than enough to confidently move the car at highway speeds and it actually fared very well accelerating through heavy traffic and was a heck of a lot more fun than a Prius.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Rear Quarter

At first glance, those numbers make it look like this is going to be a much stronger drive than the non-hybrid Crosstrek with 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, but there is a weight difference to be considered. The hybrid has put on 276 pounds so the additional power is moving a heavier vehicle.

It’s rated 29 city/33 highway for a combined 31 miles per gallon. This is exactly the same highway rating as the non-hybrid Crosstrek and an increase of only 4 MPG for city driving. That’s not exactly an impressive change in the numbers. I averaged 24.6 miles per gallon during the test period with a pretty even split of city and highway driving during cold weather with temps hovering just around 30 degrees.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Front

Ride quality and handling in the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid were very good. Steering is tight and precise, braking is quick and confident and the passenger compartment is commendably quiet. This comes thanks to plenty of sound deadening material and an acoustically laminated windshield.

The vehicle’s auto stop/start system was one noticeable drawback. It was very rough and was something that passengers actually commented on the first time it engaged. This also affects how the car performs when you first hit the gas, regardless of how hard, as you feel the hiccup as the gas engine engages and it holds the car back for a disconcerting split-second.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Rear Side

The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid is a good first hybrid effort, but it can’t quite decide if it wants to be a sporty crossover or a hybrid fuel miser. It’s an extremely fun drive, but the rough auto start/stop and lackluster mileage improvements over the non-hybrid version of the vehicle make it a tough sell.

On the TFLcar scale of:

  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid a Lease it!

Check out this 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Off-Road Drive & Review…

Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. Nicole also writes for NerdApproved and GeekMom.