2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Touring
2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Touring. Click image to enlarge
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Review and Photos by Mike Schlee
Photo Gallery:
2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Touring

Odometer: 6,024 km
Observed Fuel Consumption: 9.6 L/100 km
Costs: $694 (gas)

It is funny how quickly time flies.  It feels like just last week we picked up our long-term 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek, affectionately referred to as ‘pumpkin’.  But no, it has been three-plus months since we first brought the high-riding Subaru crossover into our fleet and it is time to say good-bye.

Those following our monthly updates on the XV Crosstrek will know how much we appreciated it in the snow and how it differs from the Impreza.  For the final month, I thought I would focus more on its abilities in day-to-day life.  It was used for a weekend getaway up north, to transport a medium-sized piece of furniture, and of course the daily nightmare that is my and my wife’s Greater Toronto Area commute.

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

Shortly after the new year rang in, we took the XV up north to a weekend getaway at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario.  For those unfamiliar with this area, it is known to be in the heart of the Ontario ‘snow belt’ and receives more than its fair share of the fluffy white stuff.  Although the drive up was drama free, Huntsville lived up to its reputation and dumped a thick layer of fresh powder on the resort the day we were to leave.  The drive home proved to be filled with a wintery mix of slush, sleet, snow and rain.  No problem for the Crosstrek, though, as sensible driving, light weight, winter tires, good weight distribution and, of course, all-wheel drive made short work of this weather.

I know we have focused a lot on the all-wheel-drive, messy-weather abilities of this crossover, but perhaps equally as impressive is the way it drives on clear days.  The XV Crosstrek seamlessly operates in dry weather too.  Put a non-car person in the XV, have them drive it for a week, and then ask them which wheels are powered, and I would wager their response wouldn’t be much more than a guess.

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

In spite of being a vehicle with permanent all-wheel drive, the XV did its best to achieve decent fuel efficiency.  We ended up creeping back up to 9.6 L/100 km during our 6,042 km of driving.  This is not great, but it was winter, we had winter tires installed and our driving conditions/habits are not the most efficient.  For reference, we achieved the exact same average with another XV Crosstrek, this one in Limited trim, during a 5 vehicle mini-crossover comparison.  The next closest vehicle was a whopping 1.5 litres worse per 100 km.  The XV Crosstrek also handily won the whole comparison and no, it had nothing to do with the fact we were driving one long-term; we had four other writers evaluating those mini-crossovers as well, none of whom had driven it more than a week, and all five of us ranked the XV first on our individual scoresheets.

So it seems the XV Crosstrek has passed our three-month test (with flying pumpkin colours) and should be ready for retirement.  But not so fast! It had one more task left during its final weekend with us.  My wife and I purchased a piece of furniture that was over an hour away and we had to go pick it up.  The box containing said furniture measured 62 inches long, 38 inches wide and 14 inches tall.  The XV’s rear hatch opening is not completely uniform and it is actually wider, roughly 39 inches, at the top half.  The bottom half is only 36 inches or so wide.

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Touring2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Touring
2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Touring. Click image to enlarge

We were able to lift the box up through the wider top half of the hatch and then place it down on the floor.  At 62 inches deep, the box required both my wife and me to move our seats further forward than our optimal comfort position, but not so far forward we could not drive home.  Take heed, future XV owners: this is about the maximum size cargo you will want to haul with this little utility vehicle.

And a lot of future owners I predict the XV will have [is that so, Yoda? –Ed.].  The more I drove it, the more I got it.  It seems like a right sized vehicle for those not wanting the ever-increasing, in both size and price, traditional compact crossover utility vehicle.   If you still lament the loss of the original Subaru Forester and its light weight, compact dimensions and tall wagon driving position, the XV is worth a long, hard look.  Compared to a 1998 Forester, the XV is the exact same length, a bit wider, slightly shorter and weighs 5 kg less.  The XV does give up a good chunk of cargo space compared to the original Forester, though, due to that swoopier profile and chunkier design.

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

My only real quibbles after three months with the XV were minimal.  The continuously variable transmission would moan and clatter until warmed up on colder mornings, the front cupholders were so deep some drinks would get lost in them, and of course there is the ride.  If Subaru could soften the ride slightly, even at the expense of some handling, it would vastly improve the XV.  But these drawbacks are easily outweighed by the positives, like a soft-touch interior, generous seating for four and decent efficiency.  In the end, that is what makes the XV Crosstrek a solid vehicle.

Pricing: 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Touring
Base Price: $24,495
Options: $1,300 (CVT Automatic)
Freight & PDI: $1,695
A/C Tax: $100
Price as tested: $27,590

Crash test results
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

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