Preview: 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek subaru reviews car previews
2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek. Click image to enlarge

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Subaru Canada

Article by Paul Williams
Photos courtesy Subaru Canada

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2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

After several years of evolving a relatively stable vehicle lineup, Subaru is releasing two all-new vehicles for 2013: the sporty BRZ coupe and the XV Crosstrek crossover. Autos.ca will have a First Drive of the BRZ in the first half of May, but the Crosstrek won’t be driven until later this summer.

The Crosstrek made its debut at this year’s New York Auto Show, and for buyers looking for a rugged, practical crossover that’s fuel efficient and not too big, this vehicle would seem tailor made.

The Impreza-based XV Crosstrek (the “XV” seems unnecessary and I predict it will disappear just as B9 did with the Tribeca) will be available in Canada in early Fall, 2012.

As you may know, the new Impreza is now powered with a 148-horsepower, 2.0L horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. The Crosstrek receives the same powertrain, but incorporates body and chassis refinements more suitable for this style of vehicle.

Preview: 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek subaru reviews car previews
Preview: 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek subaru reviews car previews
2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek. Click image to enlarge

Crosstrek’s 220-mm ride height, for instance, is a significant increase over the Impreza’s 145 mm, equaling the Forester and just about matching the Jeep Wrangler’s 225 mm (the Jeep being something of a benchmark for useful off-road ground clearance). Seventeen-inch wheels are standard and the Crosstrek uses larger front brake rotors than those found on the Impreza.

The standard five-speed transmission features Subaru’s Start Assist (hill holder) technology that briefly holds the vehicle when starting on an incline. The continuously variable CVT transmission is optional on the entry-level Crosstrek but standard on the Limited. In other words, Limited buyers (at least in the US) won’t be shifting manually, although the CVT does incorporate a manual mode with paddle shifters that enables the driver to shift through six pre-selected ratios.

All-wheel drive is also standard (one has to mention this because with the debut of the rear-wheel drive BRZ, Subarus are no longer all AWD equipped), but, like the company’s other models, the system does differ depending on the transmission. Models equipped with the five-speed manual receive an AWD system that uses a viscous-coupling locking centre differential that distributes power 50/50 front to rear. Slippage at either set of wheels will send more power to the opposite set.

Models equipped with the CVT transmission get an Active Torque Split AWD version with an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch that manages power distribution based on acceleration, deceleration and available traction. This system will transfer up to 100 percent of available power to the wheels with the best grip if required.

The US version of the Crosstrek will be made available in Premium and Limited versions, but those designations (along with their standard and optional features) won’t be the same as Canadian models. However, Crosstrek is certain to get optional leather, navigation and a newly developed communications system, which is a good thing as even subcompacts from other makers now offer these amenities. Hopefully the navigation system won’t be restricted to our Limited model.

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