2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Review

Look like cottage-bound soccer mom, feel like a teenager in hot hatch
By Zoe Ackah
Zoe Ackah
Zoe Ackah
April 18, 2013 Updated: April 18, 2013

It took time to discover that the Subaru XV Crosstrek is a fun car to drive. I was sort of lukewarm about it at first and we just didn’t connect.

Then something happened. It snowed.

Second day of my test-drive a surprise March snowstorm dumped 5 cm of snow on the ground, not that the XV even noticed. The traction was so impressive on unplowed Sheppard Avenue that, naturally, I had to push it.

I started trying to get some oversteer on the corners, nope. Maybe a little understeer and a little jiggle here and there until the computers kicked in. You can turn the traction control off if you want and I did for a minute, until I remembered I was an adult.

I started trying to slam on the brakes and slide. Didn’t really work. I started trying to spin out at a green light. Nope. It just dug right in and I blasted by everyone else. 

The XV’s full-time symmetrical AWD, and 17-inch wheels with snow tires had complete control on snow and ice.

My favourite part of the car, the 2.0L DOHC Boxer engine, sounds like four dwarves facing each other with aluminum hammers, precisely and industriously smashing them together at 180 degrees. 

This car is at its best when accelerating between 0-60 km/hr. The dwarves’ hammers engage and you feel the results of their enthusiasm. 

The firmness of the chassis and the precision of the steering will ensure you feel like you’re driving something rather more expensive.

When you get on the highway you will have to give the dwarves a little time to adjust, but when they realize where they are, they are covertly aggressive if you push them. And you should, because they can take it.

The interior is a little thin, but I’d rather have the money put where it counts: the chassis, drive train, you know, the car. Keep the electronic fripperies and upscale plastic.

The Goods:
$24,495 – $28,995
IIHS Top Safety Pick
I got 10.2 L/100 km driving like a maniac but it’s official rated at 8.9/6.7 city/hwy
148 hp at 6,200 rpm (why its so noisy?)
145 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm
Available in CVT or 5-speed manual
Standard heated seats are hot like fire on high setting (love it!)
Can tow 680 kg.
60/40 split rear with 1,470 L of cargo space

Zoe Ackah