2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid

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Key Specs

of the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Higher driving position
  • Front and rear occupant space
  • Power from a stop
  • Simple dashboard design and climate control layout
  • Forward and rear visibility

The Bad

  • Fuel economy
  • Steep hybrid price premium
  • Passing power
  • Road and engine noise on the highway
  • Rough idle on startup

Notable Features of the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid

  • Based on the Subaru Impreza hatchback
  • Hybrid model new this year
  • Ground clearance of 8.7 inches
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Continuously variable automatic transmission

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Road Test

Jennifer Geiger

Some things in life just don't make sense, like decaf coffee and our country's continued fascination with the Kardashians. Now, we can add Subaru's first hybrid to the list.

The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek is a likable little wagon with comfort and utility, but paying a premium for the inefficient, unrefined hybrid version doesn't make sense.

The XV Crosstrek is based on Subaru's Impreza and debuted for the 2013 model year; the hybrid variant is new for 2014. Compare them here. This review covers the hybrid; click here for our review of the gas-powered XV Crosstrek.

The XV Hybrid's direct competitor is the Toyota Prius, but Volkswagen's diesel-powered Jetta SportWagen TDI and its upcoming Golf SportWagen TDI provide comparable levels of utility and efficiency. So too does Subaru's own Impreza wagon; compare them here.

Exterior & Styling
When the XV Crosstrek debuted for model-year 2013 it was all-new, but it certainly looked familiar, echoing the Impreza wagon's wedgy shape and the Outback's rugged, body-cladded style.

The hybrid model looks nearly identical to the regular version, plus extra badging, exclusive wheels, some additional chrome trim outside and one unfortunate new paint color: Plasma Green Pearl. True, it screams "hybrid" — but also "look at me, I'm ugly." I heard the U word quite a bit during my test weekend.

How It Drives
First impressions aren't everything, but they're hard to shake, and in ...

Some things in life just don't make sense, like decaf coffee and our country's continued fascination with the Kardashians. Now, we can add Subaru's first hybrid to the list.

The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek is a likable little wagon with comfort and utility, but paying a premium for the inefficient, unrefined hybrid version doesn't make sense.

The XV Crosstrek is based on Subaru's Impreza and debuted for the 2013 model year; the hybrid variant is new for 2014. Compare them here. This review covers the hybrid; click here for our review of the gas-powered XV Crosstrek.

The XV Hybrid's direct competitor is the Toyota Prius, but Volkswagen's diesel-powered Jetta SportWagen TDI and its upcoming Golf SportWagen TDI provide comparable levels of utility and efficiency. So too does Subaru's own Impreza wagon; compare them here.

Exterior & Styling
When the XV Crosstrek debuted for model-year 2013 it was all-new, but it certainly looked familiar, echoing the Impreza wagon's wedgy shape and the Outback's rugged, body-cladded style.

The hybrid model looks nearly identical to the regular version, plus extra badging, exclusive wheels, some additional chrome trim outside and one unfortunate new paint color: Plasma Green Pearl. True, it screams "hybrid" — but also "look at me, I'm ugly." I heard the U word quite a bit during my test weekend.

How It Drives
First impressions aren't everything, but they're hard to shake, and in the Crosstrek Hybrid's case the shake is the problem. Upon startup, the car bounces and shudders unsettlingly. It smooths out eventually, but is again intrusive each time the stop/start system engages; it's one of the more abrupt-feeling systems I've tested.

Pep from a stop is surprisingly brisk, but high-speed passing is uninspired. The all-wheel-drive hybrid pairs a horizontally opposed 2.0-liter engine with an electric motor and nickel-metal-hydride battery for a total of 160 horsepower, which is a bump from the gas model's 148 hp. The sole transmission is a continuously variable automatic.

Subaru says that under "light acceleration" and in "certain low-speed situations" the hybrid can travel on electric power alone, but I found that mode tough to sustain. The threshold seems pretty low, with the engine kicking in fairly quickly on takeoffs and remaining on during cruising. It's no surprise, then, that this alien-green wagon isn't very "green" at all. Fuel economy is underwhelming, with an EPA rating of 29/33/31 mpg city/highway/combined. That's only 3 mpg combined better than the non-hybrid model, and it's in range with the car's more affordable platform mate, the Impreza wagon (27/36/30). The competition returns much more impressive numbers: The Toyota Prius is rated 51/48/50 and the Jetta SportWagen diesel 29/39/33.

The XV Hybrid's road manners are hit or miss: It's loud on the highway, with high levels of engine and road noise invading the cabin. Stopping is another problem, as the regenerative brakes have an unresponsive and brick-like feel that will likely take a lot of time to get used to. On the plus side, the wagon handles nicely despite its tall body, with natural steering and a solid, grounded feel even while cornering.

Interior
The cabin's design has a utilitarian look that matches the hatchback's rugged exterior styling. Black plastic surfaces are dressed up with matte chrome trim, and the touch points on the door panel and sliding center armrest are sufficiently padded.

The XV's tall ride height makes getting in easy, and the front seats themselves are comfortable, with plenty of available headroom and legroom. The backseat is no-frills in terms of looks and features, but it's sufficiently comfy thanks to a wide, nicely contoured seat. There's plenty of headroom and legroom for two average-size adults in the outboard seats. The middle position is tight, but a smaller adult could squeeze in for a short ride.

Ergonomics & Electronics
Although the XV Crosstrek is new for 2014, Subaru is still using what looks like a media interface from 2004. This setup is common throughout the brand's lineup and should be retired. The 6.1-inch touch-screen is small and the onscreen buttons are even tinier, plus the graphics look dated. The center-dash-mounted hybrid power-flow monitor, which doubles as the backup camera screen, is even smaller and questionably useful.

The problem isn't just how the touch-screen looks; in some aspects, the system is also complicated. Inputting audio presets, for example, isn't very intuitive, and some simple navigation functions, like setting a destination, are buried in menus. It also lacks a clear "home" button that takes you back to the original multimedia screen. There's a handy physical volume knob, but a tuning knob would help make audio functions easier, though the car is equipped with standard steering-wheel audio controls.

On the flip side, the climate controls are clear, large and easy to use, and pairing my phone to the Bluetooth streaming audio system and launching Pandora internet radio was quick and painless.

Cargo & Storage
The front seat offers a couple of nice small-item storage spaces; there's a large open area under the controls and a small but deep center console bin that houses a USB port and auxiliary input jack.

Backseat passengers will find two cupholders in the fold-down center armrest and one more in each door. Only one seatback has a map pocket, however, which always bugs me. This small feature really comes in handy when traveling with kids … and their seemingly bottomless bags of stuff.

In back, the battery is packaged under the cargo floor. It makes for a high liftover height, but the space is only marginally diminished versus the non-hybrid XV. With the second row up, there's 21.5 cubic feet of cargo room, just shy of the non-hybrid model's 22.3 and the Impreza wagon's 22.5. The hybrid's space is competitive against the Toyota Prius' 21.6 cubic feet but is dwarfed by the Jetta SportWagen's 32.8. The cargo area is also peppered with a few unexpected niceties, like a standard removable and waterproof cargo tray for carting messy items, plus a small underfloor storage area and grocery bag hooks.

The backseat folds flat easily in a 60/40 split, and cargo room once it's down is again generous at 50.2 cubic feet of volume, just a bit less than the non-hybrid model's 51.9 and the Impreza wagon's 52.4. The Prius can't compete, offering only 39.6 cubic feet of space when the backseat is folded. The Jetta SportWagen wins again, with 66.9 cubic feet.

Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety deemed the 2014 XV Crosstrek a Top Safety Pick, reflecting top ratings of good in both frontal-offset tests, a side-impact crash test, a roof-strength test designed to gauge protection during a rollover, and an assessment of neck protection during rear-impact collisions. It also got an overall rating of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Crosstrek's tall ride height combined with its low dashboard make for very good forward visibility; rear visibility is also clear, and a backup camera is standard on the hybrid (it's optional on the gasoline version). Advanced safety systems available on other Subarus, like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, blind spot warning and lane departure warning, are not offered on the XV Crosstrek Hybrid. Click here for a full list of safety features. To see how well child-safety seats fit in the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, check out our Car Seat Check.

Value in Its Class
The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid starts at $26,820 including destination — around $4,000 more than the non-hybrid version. With such paltry gas savings, it's going to take a lot of years to recoup the hybrid price premium, and you'll have to spend those years in a hybrid that could use some refinement.

It's also no bargain against the competition. The Prius starts a touch lower, at $25,010, and the Jetta SportWagen is just above it, at $27,385. To confuse matters more, Subaru's own Impreza wagon is more affordable ($19,190) yet offers similar room and fuel economy. So why choose the XV Hybrid over the regular gas version or even the Impreza wagon? There's really no logical reason — unless you just can't live without a jolt of Plasma Green Pearl in your life.

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2014 XV Crosstrek Hybrid Video

Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays says Subaru's first hybrid, the 2014 XV Crosstrek Hybrid, offers rugged exterior styling and an effectively utilitarian interior to match. But should anyone pony up an extra $4,000 for an unimpressive fuel economy boost?

Latest 2014 XV Crosstrek Hybrid Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.1)
Interior Design
(4.2)
Comfort
(4.2)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.2)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Perfect for my needs!

by MissBrook from Ossining on May 24, 2018

Needed something to fit my grandchildren's 'stuff' plus easy for my 92yo Mom to get in and out of. With the price of gas constantly fluctuating gas consumption was a key factor and my 'new' ride ... Read full review

(4.0)

Subaru Crosstrek XV

by JimD from Ocala, FL on March 27, 2018

The car has been very good. It gets great mileage. Has many options that a more expensive car would have! Very comfortable vehicle. Has been flawless and hybrid system does a great job! Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid currently has 0 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Subaru

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance and Carfax vehicle history report

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    Powertrain: 7 years/100,000 miles from original date of first use. Roadside assistance: 1 year from date of purchase
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 85,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 152 point inspection and reconditioning.

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All Model Years for the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The XV Crosstrek Hybrid received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

B

Booster

(second row)

A

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

A

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker