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Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Performance

Auto critics say the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid delivers quick acceleration and has a responsive CVT. Some test drivers think the XV Crosstrek Hybrid’s handling is nimble and they like its brake pedal feel, while others wish its ride were more engaging and its brakes were more consistent. Though the 2015 XV Crosstrek Hybrid earns great fuel economy estimates, they’re only slightly better than those of the gas-only model.

  • "The extra low-end torque provided by the hybrid's electric motor improves drivability slightly by giving the car a little bit more punch off the line. The Crosstrek Hybrid is a little less entertaining, though, as its extra weight hurts handling in quick corners." -- Edmunds
  • "Ground clearance is 8.7 in, which is pretty good and comes into its own when mud and ruts replace paved roads. But because of that flat 4-cylinder engine, the XV Crosstrek's center of gravity is still the best in its class. A low center of gravity helps with that feeling of stability and brings a liveliness to the ride." -- AutoTrader
  • "For what's essentially a Subaru hatchback with a lift kit and a so-so hybrid system, that inherent strength and capability should not be understated." -- Left Lane News (2014)
  • "The Subaru performs well and is no doubt more comfortable than the old Toyota or Landie." -- Automobile Magazine (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid is equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that together generate 160 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard, and a five-speed manual transmission is available. The 2015 XV Crosstrek Hybrid earns an EPA-estimated 30/34 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for a compact SUV.

Test drivers write that the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid has plenty of power for highway passing. A few auto writers also report that, unlike CVTs on some rivals, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid’s doesn’t detract from the driving experience. The CVT also comes with a manual mode and steering wheel-mounted shifters that some reviewers say are helpful when driving in snowy conditions. Although the XV Crosstrek Hybrid earns great fuel economy estimates for the class, critics note that its estimates are only slightly better than those of the gas-only model.

  • "Interestingly, Hybrid models don't offer a significant fuel economy advantage over the standard XV Crosstrek." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Mention the letters CVT to a driving enthusiast and expect a tirade about slow responses and drivetrain drone. Put that same enthusiast in the business seat of an XV Crosstrek and watch those words being eaten. There is no advantage to having the manual transmission. Even if there's an itch to select the occasional gear oneself, this setup includes steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles for clicking through six preprogrammed virtual ratios." -- AutoTrader
  • "The extra low-end torque provided by the hybrid's electric motor improves drivability slightly by giving the car a little bit more punch off the line." -- Edmunds
  • "… we never hesitated to pass slower traffic when we wanted, and our urban driving in Reykjavik was without incident or even any wish for more power." -- Autoblog (2014)

Handling and Braking 

The Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid comes standard with all-wheel drive. While some test drivers think the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid has relatively responsive handling and steering, others wish its ride were more engaging. A few reviewers say the regenerative brakes have steadier pedal feel than many hybrid rivals’ brakes, but others say they feel inconsistent.

  • "The drive isn't without its negatives, though. As well as the aforementioned lack of oomph, there's a sense of detachment to the controls -- numb steering (though nicely weighted) and a numb accelerator pedal. …” -- AutoTrader
  • "The Crosstrek Hybrid is just as capable off-road as the standard model and broadly similar on pavement, but the awkward regenerative brakes are intrusive.” -- Edmunds
  • "The Crosstrek's regenerative braking system is controlled by an unusually consistent-feeling pedal. If you didn't know this was a hybrid when you hopped in, the brakes certainly wouldn't give it away." -- Car and Driver (2014)
  • "Aside from the decrease in interior decibels, the biggest change is that Subaru tweaked the car's steering to be faster and more responsive. Not quite a corner carver yet - that'll be the upcoming, Impreza-based WRX - the XV Crosstrek Hybrid proved nonetheless more nimble and precise on any surface." -- Left Lane News (2014)
Review Last Updated: 5/14/15

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