I recently headed out to Florida to check out Subaru’s new XV Crosstrek Hybrid, touted as the first hybrid all-wheel-drive vehicle. We had just under a week to drive these things around the keys, from in-town driving, to a several hour road trip to Miami, that culminated in a fun little obstacle course that a mountain bike park had set up for us. And while I’ll be writing a full review for Men’s Health later this month, I thought you guys wouldn’t mind a sneak peek at some of this model’s highlights.
On the Road:
The interior gave a good first impression. It was roomy enough in the front and enough headroom in the rear to keep our 5’10 photographer’s head from hitting the ceiling, and the standard keyless ignition and bluetooth connectivity are a pleasant touch. The back had plenty of room for storage as well as a nice, wide opening, so you can huck a bunch of stuff in the back with ease. They addressed one of the biggest complaints from previous Crosstreks (excessive cabin noise) by beefing up the insulation within the cabin as well. Super quiet ride.
It handled well on the road - the sport tuning hugged curves and the low-sitting Boxer engine gave it a low center of gravity that added to the mix. Like most hybrids, it’s slow getting off the line, but once we’d get above, say, 20mph, it had plenty of ‘oomph’ for us to pass other cars with no problem.
What can I say, it’s a Subaru. It’s got 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the all-wheel-drive was great on the sketchy terrain, and the 160hp Boxer engine was actually really game when came to grinding up steep inclines and gunning it over obstacles and such. And the mileage? A reported 29MPG city/33MPG highway. We averaged around 29 for the trip.
So here’s the bottom line - for me, most road trips consist of 7-8 hours of driving, then an hour or two of off-roading to get to where we’re going. For the highway, I want 30+ miles per gallon, but I need some off-road chops when it’s time to get to the trailhead. It looks like the XV Crosstrek Hybrid is the way to go. It’s $4k more than the non-hybrid, but you’re getting a sport-tuned suspension, a quieter interior, slightly better gas mileage, and about 12 more horsepower. Is it worth it? That’s up to you, but after a few hours on the road, I’d kick down a couple extra bucks just for the quiet ride.
And at $26,000 to start, you’ll still be able to swing a few summit permits.