Subaru Hops onto Hybrid Bandwagon


The XV Crosstrek Hybrid is the perfect ride for people who don’t want to feel as though they’re compromising style, feel and flavor in favor of a more compassionate carbon footprint. It doesn’t exactly fit the mold of the label “crossover” – it’s more a wagon with a beefed-up rear – but it’s the Subaru that’ll satisfy anyone needing a family taxi without excessive bulk, and it’s also fun to drive, unlike some blow-dryer Hybrids. It’s all-wheel drive, first, thus handling in advance most snowstorms. It stands about 3 inches taller than Subaru’s Impreza, with 8.7 inches ground clearance, meaning you can also drive it across the beach or over dirt or off-road. The tall stance and black plastic wheel well flares will also help prevent gravel, rocks and road debris from bashing the car’s body. The interior is fairly standard Subaru – materials are reasonably high-quality and there wasn’t anything annoying in basic operation. Some reports have criticized the nav system, but I had no issue with it other than the same issue I have with all auto nav systems as compared to my iPhone – when you type into a car nav system, it’s like like asking a 110-year old to run a mile in under 3 minutes – it ain’t gonna happen quick.


You’re purely electric at slow speed and it’s a satisfying feeling to look at your gauge and see you’re getting 30 miles per gallon. Don’t crow yet, though – the Crosstek Hybrid gets only about 3 miles per gallon more than the non-hybrid. Why buy the hybrid, then? The short answer is that

Hybrids are hot, and Subaru doesn’t want a customer to start looking Toyota-ward if they can help it. It takes corners well, its seats are comfortable, there is more than enough room for a load of what-have-you, and my Grasshopper Green model was more than easy to spot in parking lots with its 17-inch wheels, chrome door handles, grille shutters and foldable side mirror.

Go for the upscale Hybrid Touring and you get leather upholstery, a sunroof, nav system with voice controls, smartphone integration, HD radio and satellite radio. You’re powered by a four-cylinder, 148 horsepower engine making 145 pound-feet of torque. Your electric motor contributes 13 more horses and 48 more pound-feet of torque. Its safety rating from the

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an across-the-board “Good.” If you like Subarus to begin with, this is a car you should investigate. If you’re on the fence, it’s still worth a drive.

josh max

Josh Max grew up on a rural Westchester road next to a garage, and designed his first car, the "Washington" - an answer to "Lincoln" - when he was four. He read and memorized the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Car Care And Repair at 16 and was soon gapping plugs, changing clutch cables, rotating tires and anything else that didn't require a lift. He has test-driven over 776 cars and trucks and published over 2,000 articles in major media.