The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek provides standard all-wheel drive and 8.7 inches of ground clearance in a compact five-door hatchback body that has pretty much all the amenities of its sibling, the lower and more citified Impreza hatchback. There are two trim levels, with the lesser Premium model starting at just $21,995.
That base Crosstrek includes standard air conditioning, power accessories, cruise control, keyless entry, and a rear cargo tray that can be removed to hose it off, along with a roof rack that'll hold up to 150 pounds of cargo. The base audio system includes audio streaming and hands-free voice commands, courtesy of Bluetooth, along with iPod connectivity and a USB jack, but its small sizes limits the number of characters visible at any time, so finding the songs you want can be tricky.
Move up to the XV Crosstrek Limited model, and you get automatic climate control; leather upholstery, shift knob, and steering wheel; and a rear-seat armrest that folds down to provide cupholders. On top of that, the audio system gets HD radio and a 4.3-inch display screen, plus a rear-view camera for backing up.
An optional navigation system adds a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, plus satellite radio, real-time traffic data, voice control, and text messaging capability. Newly added for 2014 is Aha infotainment and smartphone integration as part of this option. We're still not big fans of this system, however, because its small display and unintuitive interface give the whole thing a distinctly aftermarket feel. Oddly, the SD slot on its face cannot be used for media; you have to revert to the USB jack for that.
Finally, the top-level XV Crosstrek model is the Hybrid, which starts at $25,995. It adds a color multi-function display that shows the energy flow of the hybrid powertrain. All Crosstrek Hybrids come standard with the All-Weather Package that bundles heated front seats, heated mirrors, and a de-icer for the windshield wipers. The rearview camera is also standard, and the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Limited model--to give it its full name--adds the same suite of Limited options as on gasoline models, plus a power moonroof.