2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-In Hybrid

Subaru took the wraps off the all-new Crosstrek Hybrid at the 2018 LA Auto Show, showcasing a semi-electric version of its widely sold SUV. The regular Crosstrek is already tops in CR’s subcompact-SUV ratings, and the added ability to go on electric power alone for short distances could be another enticing reason to consider purchasing it.

Subaru says that the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid will go on sale in December.

Here’s the scoop on what we know so far.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
What it competes with:
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Toyota Prius Prime
What it looks like: This model gets a few discreet “plug-in hybrid” badges as well as other exterior trim bits and 18-inch wheels. Otherwise, it looks exactly like the regular version.
Powertrain: 148-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder hybrid; continuously variable transmission; all-wheel drive
Price: $34,995
On-sale date: December

Outside

The 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid looks almost identical to its gas-powered sibling. It has a few special badges that identify it as a plug-in hybrid: blue rings around the headlights, a silver grille, different lower body panels, and accent trim around the fog lights. It is also available in a new color the company calls Lagoon Blue Pearl—a hue that really stands out along with exclusive 18-inch wheels. 

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-In Hybrid interior

Inside the Cabin

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid’s interior is also very similar to that of the conventional Crosstrek. Subaru has used a blue color theme in the new car, with blue stitching and accent panels scattered about the cabin. The Hybrid also gets gray and blue two-tone leather on the seats, door panels, and armrests. A 4.2-inch color LCD sits in the gauge cluster, which includes a display for power output and regenerative brake charging.

In our tested nonhybrid Crosstrek, we noted a number of flimsy-feeling, hard-plastic surfaces throughout the cabin, but there were some soft-touch elements where hands and elbows fall. Softer leather surfaces would be a big improvement.

The Hybrid comes with a standard 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, a CD player, and voice-activated controls for a paired mobile phone and infotainment system.

An option package includes a power moonroof, a TomTom-based navigation system, a heated steering wheel, and an upgraded audio system.

The Subaru Starlink connected services app can be used to remotely cool or warm the car, as well as monitor the Crosstrek Hybrid’s battery status and charging schedule. These features are part of a 10-year complimentary subscription to the Subaru Starlink Safety Plus & Security Plus package. Other standard interior features include automatic climate control, heated front seats, a windshield wiper de-icer, and heated exterior mirrors. 

What Drives It

The Hybrid model uses the same 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission as the regular Crosstrek, and adds two electric motors. One motor works to start the engine, but it can be powered by the engine and act as a generator for the hybrid battery. The second motor powers the Crosstrek for hybrid and electric driving modes, and also recharges the lithium-ion battery during regenerative braking. Subaru uses an electric drive system that is adapted from the Toyota Prius Prime.

Subaru says the Hybrid returns an all-electric driving range of 17 miles. Subaru estimates that charge times are about 5 hours at 120 volts or 2 hours at 240 volts. The Crosstrek Hybrid can run up to 65 mph in full-electric mode, and Subaru said that the new model is a second faster from 0 to 60 mph than the standard Crosstrek, which is 10.2 seconds.

The hybrid system’s lithium-ion batteries are mounted beneath the cargo area.

The Hybrid version looks zippier, at least on paper, because of the initial electric boost. Subaru claims that the Crosstrek Hybrid can get up to 90 MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent) with a total range of 480 miles. We’ll know more when we buy our own version to test. 

Safety & Driver-Assist Systems

The 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid comes standard with a wide range of safety and advanced driver-assistance systems, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic warning. The Hybrid also includes adaptive headlights, which swivel in the same direction the car is turning, in order to better illuminate the road ahead. Plus, the Hybrid model has a pedestrian alert system that gives an audible warning to pedestrians who are near the vehicle when it is traveling below 20 mph. Finally, the driver gets a knee airbag, which is standard on all Crosstrek models. 

CR’s Take

This is Subaru’s first ever plug-in hybrid, but it is not the company’s first foray into the world of hybrids. The first-generation Crosstrek was offered as a hybrid, but it bumped up fuel economy by only 2 mpg and wasn’t particularly refined, with a start/stop system that restarted with a shudder. With a new system, in a new vehicle, hopefully this Crosstrek Hybrid delivers more refinement and efficiency.  

Read our Subaru Crosstrek road test.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-In Hybrid rear

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