The new Outback Sport.
Looking for the ground clearance of an Outback with the footprint and fuel economy of an Impreza? Perhaps the awkwardly named XV Crosstrek is the car you’ve been looking for. We find the chassis to be nimble, the handling predictable, and the off-road capability to be more than adequate. One of the few let-downs is the electrically assisted steering, but fuel-economy concerns trump driving enjoyment in a vehicle like this. Not surprisingly, the interior looks and feels exactly like the Impreza’s and offers the same standard Bluetooth and iPod connectivity along with a more universal USB port. The powertrain is carried over directly from the Impreza, which means a 2.0-liter flat-four engine producing 148 hp and all-wheel drive are standard. The only choice to make is between manual and continuously variable transmissions. Despite the shared engine, the XV Crosstrek isn’t quite as fuel efficient as the Impreza because it offers 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which is three more than its road-focused cousin. If you aren’t going to venture off-road, the Impreza hatchback probably makes a lot more sense because its lower center of gravity will improve handling. Although we aren’t in love with the name, we certainly appreciate the execution of this crossover.
new for 2013
Although the name is new, the XV Crosstrek is more or less the same idea as the old Outback Sport. That means the XV Crosstrek shares a lot with the Impreza, right down to its interior and powerplant. Look for unique orange or khaki paint and the presence of plastic cladding on the rockers to distinguish between the two models.
Front, side, driver’s knee, and side curtain air bags; traction and stability control; ABS; and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard. A rearview camera is optional.
Just a taller Impreza
Worse fuel economy than the Impreza’s
Base Price Range: $22,790–$25,290
TRIM LEVELS: 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Limited
BODY STYLE: SUV/crossover, 7-passenger
ENGINE: 2.0L flat-4, 148 hp, 145 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual, continuously variable
PASSENGER VOLUME: 97.4 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: (rear seats up/down) 22.3/51.9 cu ft