2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid

The XV Crosstrek has been a hit for Subaru: jacking up an Impreza till it had 8.7 inches of ground clearance and adding some big wheels and fender flares gave it a welcome dose of attitude. All it lacked was a bit of polish and enough torque to feel zippy.

Both of these issues have been addressed to (at least to some degree) with the introduction of the Hybrid model. Power and torque go from 148hp/145lb-ft to 160hp/163lb-ft, and despite the 300 pound increase in weight, the extra low-end torque of the electric motor helps fill in the gap until the annoying-sounding, continuously variable transmission gets the little 2-liter engine into its power band.

Around town on a light throttle the Subaru feels much more responsive, and the extra insulation that comes with the Hybrid quiets much of the din. Turn the XV’s stereo up and all is well. MPG increases only three in highway and town (to 29/33), but the Crosstrek already beat out most AWD vehicles anyway. And there is no other giveaway as to the electrified nature of this funky little crossover; brake feel is as good as most conventionally-powered cars, and the extra mass is down low, so it doesn’t affect handling.

Otherwise, the Hybrid is as charming as the other XVs: a smooth ride smothers most road degradation, it corners with aplomb, and it feels like a quality item. Interior space and quality are decent, and it has an honest integrity about the way it operates—long a Subaru hallmark.

EPA ratings: 29/33; 31mpg combined
Price as tested: $30,120
Here is what Subaru has to say about it.

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