The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid is still a Subaru. That may sound ominous, but it truly is a compliment. With the addition of a permanent magnet AC synchronous electric motor, Subaru managed to increase the power of the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid’s 2.0-liter powerplant by 13 horsepower and 48 lbs-feet of torque. Total output is a decent 160 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. A continuously variable transmission with manual shifting mode (CVT) is the only transmission option.
The 100.8V, 13.5kW nickel-metal hydride battery pack, capable of a 0.55-kWh capacity, resides where the spare tire once lived. Once sufficiently charged, the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid can travel up to 25 mph for short distances. My experience with this feature worked as advertised and it was ideal for slow slogs in traffic.
Gas mileage has improved as well. The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid can achieve 29 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. After a week of hard driving on and off the highway, I am averaging about 28 mpg. That’s nearly four-mpg better than the regular Subaru XV Crosstrek I drove last year. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but it comes at a price: the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek I tested costs $30,120. With the same options on a regular XV Crosstrek the total would be closer to $27,000.
So, other than the hybrid powerplant, what else is unique on the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid? “All XV Crosstrek Hybrid models come with the convenience of Keyless Access and Start, the comfort of automatic climate control, and the safety of a rear-vision camera. New features include LED rear tail lights and turn-signal indicators on the side mirrors.” – – Subaru
The best news is: the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid is no less capable than the regular XV Crosstrek using a CVT. As a matter of fact: the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid is quicker at high altitude than the regular CVT model. Yep, it’s faster up here thanks to the added boost the electric motor provides. Still, it’s no WRX.
On the road, the ride is pleasant, perhaps it has an even more compliant ride than the Subaru Impreza its based on. The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid is an easy car to drive, park and live with. I’ve driven through mud, rocks and gooey snow without a single issue. With its 7.8-inches of ground clearance and Symmetrical All-wheel Drive system (AWD) the only hybrid in this class handled any traction challenge with aplomb. The only minor issue were the Yokohama Geolandar tires. They do well on the road and in snow, but in the mud, they didn’t self-clean particularly well.
Other issues? The interior is a bit of a mixed bag for the entire XV Crosstrek lineup. The materials, ergonomics and overall design feel dated. The biggest offender is the optional stereo/navigation system. It’s too small, confusing to use and outdated for a vehicle in this price range. Fortunately, the front and rear seats are comfy, cargo space is pretty good at 50.2 cu.ft. with the rear seats folded.
This is just a first impression and I still have days to put in before I give it a TFLCar rating. I will say that, based on what Subaru designed (without help from Toyota I should add) it’s a solid effort. I can see how, over many years of ownership, you will make back your money, but that requires a lot of work. For folks who can live without the slight increase in efficiency, I still would take the manual version of the XV Crosstrek.
Still, as I said before – it’s a solid effort.
Here’s some video of the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid doing some light off-roading!