Bottom line: Buy a different Subaru, the Outback Limited, if you want a nice, reasonably fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive wagon to handle nasty weather. Buy the tested vehicle, the Subaru XV Crosstrek Limited, if you have illusions of needing something that rides a bit higher than an Outback or Impreza. Buy the BMW X3 if you believe that your money and position in life entitle you to more. Then wait for a snowstorm.
Ride, acceleration and handling: Ride and acceleration are good, on par with that found in the Impreza and Outback. Handling is okay. But keep in mind that, in the XV Crosstrek, you are driving a vehicle with a slightly higher center of gravity.
Head-turning quotient: The XV Crosstrek has a cobbled-together, purpose-built look inside and out. It’s no beauty.
Body style/layout: The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek is a front-engine, all-wheel-drive compact vehicle based on the Subaru Impreza hatchback. But it has a ground clearance three inches higher than that of the Impreza. Subaru’s marketers say other alterations make the Crosstrek, available in Premium and Limited trim iterations, a small sport-utility vehicle.
Engine/transmissions: The XV Crosstrek comes standard with a turbocharged (forced air) 2-liter, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with 16 valves and variable valve timing ( 148 horsepower, 145 foot-pounds of torque). A five-speed manual gearbox is standard; a continuously variable automatic is available.
Capacities: Seats five people. Cargo capacity with rear seats folded is 51.9 cubic feet. With rear seats up, cargo capacity is 22.3 cubic feet, which meets or beats most vehicles in the compact class. The fuel tank holds 15.9 gallons of gasoline; regular grade is recommended.
Actual mileage: My actual mileage was 21 miles per gallon in the city and 32 on the highway (inclement weather, lots of idling).
Safety: Standard equipment includes ventilated front discs and solid rear disc brakes, four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, emergency braking assistance, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, Subaru symmetrical all-wheel-drive, and side and head air bags.
Prices: The base price for the 2013 Subaru XV Limited is $24,495, with a dealer invoice of $23,178. Price as tested is $25,290, including a $795 destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $23,973. Caution: Option choices can make or break a “good value” deal on this one. Choose carefully.