2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
Overall Rating: 8.2
Bottom Line: The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek aims to provide the kind of trail ability and space for gear that weekend adventurer types need; but it also looks like a great value for Snow Belt commuters and small families -- and an alternative to bulkier crossover utilities.
2013 Subaru XV CrosstrekEnlarge Photo
The Subaru XV Crosstrek is essentially a Subaru Impreza five-door hatchback. But it boasts several key differences that set it apart, and make it less of an all-wheel-drive passenger car and more of a tough utility vehicle. With a lifted suspension, for up to 8.7 inches of ground clearance—more than many brawnier-looking SUVs—along with structural reinforcements, improved engine cooling, and special front fenders and body cladding, the XV Crosstrek can power through snow, or negotiate narrow forest trails with ease. For an affordable starting price of around $22k, you get a good list of features, in a roomy interior that’s perfectly laid out for active types (with a rubberized cargo tray and flip-down seatbacks); and a strong, 150-pound roof rack is standard. Now for the bad? That’s mostly a matter of the 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine, which is barely strong enough for the Crosstrek, and a little too noisy for the mission.