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2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Review

A retrofitted Impreza gets some off-road cred

Consumer Reports magazine: February 2013

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Tiny SUVs are an emerging market segment, and Subaru wants to join the party. But rather than build a new bantam utility vehicle from the ground up, Subaru hiked up and retrofitted its Impreza hatchback, rebadging it the XV Crosstrek to give it some off-road credibility.

As is typical of Subaru, all-wheel drive is standard, but what lets the Crosstrek pose convincingly as a miniature SUV is that raised ride height, which provides 8 inches of ground clearance—on par with “real” SUVs—and makes the Crosstrek more than a match for deeply rutted muddy roads.

Fuel economy is impressive at 26 mpg overall, but the Crosstrek with the CVT feels a little sluggish when it first gets underway, and the engine sounds raucous when revving, which it has to do a lot. Road noise adds more racket. The jacked-up chassis height and stiffened suspension also take a toll on agility and ride comfort. Many buyers would do better sticking with the higher-scoring Impreza Sport that costs $2,000 less.

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