2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Touring
2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Touring
2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Touring. Click image to enlarge
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Subaru Canada

Review and photos by Mike Schlee

Photo Gallery:
2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Touring

Odometer: 2,712 km
Observed Fuel Consumption: 9.4 L/100 km
Costs: $217 (gas)

It has been three and a half weeks since we picked up the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek for a long-term test drive.  During that time my wife and I have put on just over 1,900 trouble-free kilometres.  The vehicle has been used for all manner of daily chores including a few endeavours that have put the rear cargo hold to the test.  It held four winter tires without issue, repeatedly fit a week’s worth of groceries, and has handled several garbage bags full of charity donation items.  So far, the XV is passing the utility part of our long-term test; next up, a shopping trip south of the border.

For those unfamiliar with the Subaru XV Crosstrek, it is a new crossover vehicle that is slotted below the Forester in Subaru’s hierarchy of utility vehicles.  Many have written it off as an Impreza on stilts due to the bodies looking basically the same.  Although I can see why the assumption is made, it isn’t exactly accurate.

Compared to the Impreza, the XV Crosstrek receives increased cooling capacity and has additional stiffeners as well as reinforcement patches that allow for towing (681 kg).  Additional reinforcement on major suspension and body components combined with the increased stabilizer bars improve stability, predictability and handling.  These enhancements are noticeable even with the blocky Blizzak tires installed; however, the handling of the XV is still better than the average compact CUV.  On the highway the vehicle tracks straight and is devoid of any wandering tendencies.  There is a downside to this handling prowess, though, as the ride is choppier than I would expect in a crossover utility vehicle.

The suspension is raised 76 mm and the body 102 mm compared to the 2012 Subaru Impreza 5-Door.

This bump in ride height has been welcome as we are yet to find a parking curb tall enough to scuff the front or rear of the XV.  On the outside, the most noticeable differences between the XV and the Impreza have to do with plastic protective body cladding that wraps the lower portion of the XV.  I like its subtle diamond-plated design.  It looks more upscale and not tacky like some lower body cladding found on other vehicles. It really punctuates the looks (and purpose) of the vehicle; especially on a brighter colour like our XV.  In fact, my wife and I both prefer the look of the XV over the Impreza hatchback the more we look at it.  It is funny how revised bumpers, some aggressive cladding, and those black wheels work to make the XV Crosstrek look ‘mean’.

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Touring. Click image to enlarge

Besides the ‘what makes it different than the Impreza’ question, I have also been asked quite a few times if the vehicle is worth its price point over a 5-door Impreza.  Starting at $24,495 for the base Touring model, the XV starts at $3,600 more than an Impreza 5-Door.  However, to get the same level of equipment in an Impreza 5-Door as the standard XV Crosstrek, like 17-inch alloy wheels, a front armrest/storage bin, fog lights, infotainment screen and upgraded gauge cluster, you need to purchase the $24,895 Sport model.  The Impreza Sport 5-Door does include features not found in the XV, like leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, sunroof, and the sport appearance package.  But, the XV also has equipment that the Impreza Sport 5-Door doesn’t have, like roof rails, tinted windows, its own ground effects package, and of course the ability to tow.  So basically it is a wash between the two content-wise as well as price-wise and it is up to the consumer to decide which one better fits their wants and needs.

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