The tradeoff to the uninspired 0-60 acceleration is that once you are there it delivers 33 mpg, which Subaru says is best in class for all-wheel-drive crossovers, even if the XV Crosstrek barely qualifies as one. Unlike many cars today that come up short on real world fuel economy, we saw as much as 35 mpg on a couple of 30-mile flat highway trips.
One of them took me to a snow-covered dirt road where, even on all-season tires, the XV Crosstrek kept us out of the woods. The Vehicle Dynamics Control is not subtle about saving your sorry self, the system loudly rat-tat-tatting individual brakes to keep the car going straight whenever you start getting out of line. Treat it like the buzzer in a game of Operation and it can be a very good lesson in vehicle dynamics. Slippery surfaces or not, the XV Crosstrek’s suspension does a great job in the rough stuff, soaking up the deepest ruts with nary a shock to the spine, but is a little bouncier than ideal on paved roads.
As with many “gearless” CVT transmissions, the XV Crosstrek has a manual mode and paddles behind the steering wheel that allow you to use it like a virtual six-speed. Normally very silly, this feature actually comes in handy off-road by giving you more direct control over the power delivery and some engine braking when heading downhill.
Roof rails are included so installing a bike rack on top is a cinch with the Thule cross bar system. It works well with up to three bikes up on the roof. But the vehicle sits high and there is no obvious place to place your feet as you climb up to reach the roof. A step-ladder may be a necessary tool here.
And the obvious bike transport location is the rear cargo area. The seats fold flat so it’s easy to slide a bike in. We were able to put in a road bike with front wheel on but mountain bikes will need their front wheel off. The roof is not high like an SUV so forget about visions of fork mounting the bikes and standing them upright on the rear cargo area.
And the best option of all is a hitch rack. Subaru does offer a hitch mount option and they even have bike hitch racks available! Check here for available Subaru accesories. A third-party mount is easily available from places like Etrailer.com for about $150. Install that yourself, then buy a rack like the 1upusa.com and you will be a happy camper for the next decade. Mileage is unaffected and you will have easy access to your bike and your rear cargo door.
So orange we impressed? Yes, the author is now scheming to sell some older cars to make room for this one in the stable.
2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
- Base Price: $22,805
- Type: 5-door, 5-passenger hatchback
- Engine: 2.0-liter flat-4-cylinder
- Power: 148 hp, 145 lb-ft torque
- Transmission: 5-speed manual or CVT automatic
- MPG: 25 city/33 hwy
- 0-60 mph: 8.7 seconds
Check the Subaru XV Forum for more details. Mtbr Subaru XV Discussion
What else is out there?
There’s many options of course but one particularly close peer is the 2013 Mazda CX-5. It starts out at around $20k and can end up at $30k when fully decked out, just like the Subie. It’s a little bit heavier at 3300 lbs and has a tick more horsepower at 160 hp. It’s roomier, bu not quite as off-road capable. Read our full review here: 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Review