Largely because it’s a Subaru, the XV Crosstrek almost qualifies as a special breed of compact crossover. Adventurous design imparts a more edgy aura than is customary in this family-focused category. Though it’s hardly ready for harsh terrain, a Crosstrek does promise light off-road capability, helped by 8.7-inch ground clearance. Unlike many crossovers, too, you can specify a manual transmission rather than the continuously variable transmission (CVT).
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2016 Subaru Crosstrek Overview
What's New for 2016
Updates include a new grille, front bumpers, and headlights. New dark grey 17-inch wheels feature a machined finish. Inside, new LED night illumination is standard. Newly available active-safety technology includes Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Lane Change Assist.
Choosing Your Subaru Crosstrek
Only one powertrain is offered, centered on a 2-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. Either a five-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) may be installed. Despite lack of actual gears, the CVT incorporates six “virtual” ratios.
Like nearly all Subarus, every XV Crosstrek has all-wheel drive Under normal conditions on CVT-equipped models, the AWD system sends most of the engine power to the front wheels. With manual shift, AWD distributes power equally, unless slippage is detected.
Fuel economy with the manual gearbox is estimated at 23 mpg in city driving and 31 mpg on the highway. The CVT version is thriftier: 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. Subaru also offers Hybrid versions, which are a few mpg more frugal in city driving and identical to the CVT-equipped conventional Crosstrek for highway use.
If you haven't driven a Subaru lately, interior quality might surprise you. Despite its no-nonsense demeanor, seemingly eager for rural-terrain duties, materials in the XV Crosstrek are a cut above those used in earlier Subaru crossover models.
Five passengers fit without fuss, and you get up to 52 cubic feet of cargo space. Yes, that’s on the small side, but a flat load floor makes the area appear bigger.
The XV Crosstrek comes in three trim levels:
Even though the base model is nicely equipped, the XV Crosstrek is one of those vehicles that seem more acceptable in fully-loaded form. Despite all of its additional features, the Limited still costs less than $26,000, or $1,700 more than the Premium edition. We consider that a hands-down bargain. If that’s not sufficient, Subaru offers a huge list of optional items for the XV Crosstrek.
2016 Subaru Crosstrek Review
Subaru's sturdy compact crossover looks more like a lifestyle vehicle than a family hauler, but is fully capable of filling both roles. With its strong brand identity and urban ruggedness, the Crosstrek stands out from the crowd without straying too far from the mainstream.
Pricing and Equipment
Like most Subaru models, the Crosstrek is offered in three trim levels:
- The base 2.0i ($21,595) provides all the basics, plus a rearview camera, roof rails, and a 6.2-inch infotainment touchscreen.
- Starting at $22,395, 2.0i Premium carries nicer interior trim, heated mirrors, heated front seats, and an upgraded sound system.
- The $25,095 2.0i Limited comes with leather seats, automatic climate control, a larger infotainment touchscreen, satellite radio, and advanced safety technology like blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
For an additional $2,896, you can outfit the Limited with a comprehensive option package consisting of a sunroof, navigation, keyless ignition, and Subaru's EyeSight safety suite (adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, collision mitigation, adaptive foglamps). Most of these features are also available on the Premium in a series of smaller packages.
Every Crosstrek is powered by a 2-liter four-cylinder engine the produces 148 horsepower. Base models come with a six-speed manual transmission only, while the Premium can also get a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which is standard on the Limited.
Performance highlights include:
- All-Wheel Drive: It's standard acros the board, a rarity for this price class.
- Steering/Handling: The Crosstrek never fails to feel confident on slippery roads, and can even be entertaining on dry surfaces.
- Fuel Efficiency: With the CVT, you can expect 26 mpg around town and 34 mpg on the highway, well above average for an all-wheel drive vehicle. Those figures slip by about 3 mpg with the standard manual transmission.
- The 2-liter engine is on the weak side of this class, and power is barely adequate at times.
- Response is snappier with the manual transmission, but its mileage penalty outweighs any benefit.
- Passengers are surrounded by nicely textured, soft-touch materials that feel quite durable.
- The rear seat is pleasantly firm and slightly elevated, comfortable even for adults.
- At 51.9 cubic feet, cargo space trails the segment's top sellers by a significant margin.
- The straightforward interior design may come off as unwelcoming to buyers accustomed to other brands.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The all-wheel drive system works wonderfully under a variety of less-than-ideal conditions. While the Crosstrek isn't a true off-road vehicle, it can easily handle campsites and blizzards.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
While the CVT certainly enhances efficiency, it doesn't always play nicely with the engine. Power delivery can be abrupt and noisy, even under moderate acceleration.
The Bottom Line
Affordable and highly competent, the Crosstrek appeals to the masses while keeping its off-beat personality intact.
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