2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek – First Drive Review

For years, Europeans have ridiculed American buyers for their SUV addiction, but small-SUV sales are booming on the Continent right now. The new XV Crosstrek was conceived as a way for Subaru to capitalize on the trend, its tidy dimensions making it ideal for tight European roads. When U.S. dealers saw the XV, though, they loved it and convinced Subaru brass that it would be a hit with young urban families stateside. Here, it will be known as the XV Crosstrek.

Jesse James has called the Teutuls of Orange County Choppers fame “cake decorators,” alleging that their products are just flashy eye candy and not true customs. He might level the same barb at the XV’s engineers, as the model is really just a lifted Impreza hatchback with new bumpers, some fender cladding, and unique wheels. That’s the same basic formula Subaru followed to create the Impreza-based Outback Sport.

Mooom! He’s Stealing My Sales!

Subaru’s own Forester is 4.1 inches taller, 4.3 inches longer, and no wider than the Crosstrek; the latter’s success likely will depend on how many sales it can cannibalize from the former. The XV will cost a bit more than the Forester, but it will get better fuel economy from its 2.0-liter flat-four than the larger car sees from its 2.5. EPA figures haven’t been finalized—the car isn’t due in showrooms until the fall of 2012—but expect its ratings to be very similar, if not identical, to the Impreza’s. That car is rated at 25 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway with a five-speed manual and at 27/36 with the optional CVT. That’s quite a bit better than the Forester’s 21/27 mpg (of course, the turbocharged Forester gets even worse fuel economy, at 19/24 mpg).

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