We here at Autos.ca have a soft spot in our hearts for the Subaru XV Crosstrek. Its tidy size, nimble handling, surprisingly good fuel economy and, of course, legendary flick-the-bird-at-winter symmetrical full-time all-wheel-drive saw it win top spot in our 2013 Mini-SUV shootout.

In the world of small crossovers, the Crosstrek is an interesting specimen. It’s more car than SUV, being an Impreza five-door wagon, jacked up 75 mm for bad-road duty and sporting some attitude-altering plastic body-cladding. Factor in those funky 17-inch alloys, an integrated roof rack along with a palette of interesting colours, and suddenly the innocuous Subaru Impreza hatchback becomes the characterful Crosstrek XV.

Its swagger is more than skin deep, too. I drove an XV Crosstrek in the depths of winter and found it to be like a Malamute puppy – all frisky and joyful in the white stuff. The clever all-wheel drive, in tandem with its alert and communicative chassis, made for a mighty confidence inspiring winter drive. And fun too, as the XV is quite flickable and not adverse to a bit of oversteer when provoked.

The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek starts at $24,994 for the base Touring model. It comes with five-speed manual transmission, heated front seats, back-up camera and a new-for-2015 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system with USB and Bluetooth streaming. Move up to the Sport Package ($26,995) and we get a sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear spoiler and HID headlights.

The $29,295 Limited adds leather, dual-zone climate control, aluminum pedals, powered foldable heated door mirrors with integrated turn signals and a fresh 7-inch touchscreen with navigation. The XV Crosstrek Hybrid runs $30,495.

New for 2015 is the availability of Subaru’s impressive EyeSight driver assist system on the Sport and Limited models.

Here we’re looking at the $29,495 XV Crosstrek Sport Package with Technology Option. The latter includes Eyesight, steering-responsive fog lights, proximity key with push-button start and Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) with paddle shifters. CVT-equipped Crosstreks also benefit from liquid-filled engine mounts, a sound insulated hood and a more advanced AWD with an electronically controlled multi-plate transfer clutch (MPT), as opposed to the viscous-coupling limited-slip centre differential that comes with the manual transmission cars.

So this $2,500 Technology Option gets two big thumbs up for value.

All 2015 Imprezas (remember, the XV is a butchy Impreza) benefit from an intensive effort to quell road, engine and wind noise within the cabin. An area where this compact Subaru needed attention.

To that end, Subaru has added thicker windshield and side glass, thicker window sealers, foaming agents inside the cross rails and pillars, added sound insulation in the floor and wheel wells, and sound absorbing material in the roof trim.

Additionally, the insulating cover on the tranny was reshaped, the oil pump is quieter, and both the torque converter and main case get thicker walls with added ribs.

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