The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek manages to look remarkably different than the Impreza hatchback on which it's based. The makeover comes courtesy of a much taller stance, larger alloy wheels, a slightly restyled front end, and body cladding that together transform it into a much tougher little crossover. The look is off-road-oriented and outdoorsy, backed up by a considerable ability to handle bad weather and marginal roads and trails.
The lower-body cladding accentuates the 8.7-inch ground clearance--almost 4 inches higher than the Impreza--and raises the whole vehicle's profile, capped by a tough-looking roof rack that's a standard fitting on every Crosstrek. A palette of brighter colors, including an almost-lime green and a tangerine orange, stand in bright contrast to the silver, white, black, and maroon of the more pedestrian Impreza line.
The interior is largely the same as the Impreza, though some trim differs and the seats have a more rugged upholstery material. In general, the dashy is sporty but straightforward, a good mix of utilitarian and dashing. Simple, straight-across lines maximize interior volume, and Subaru's traditional analog instrument cluster and steering-wheel controls keep driver focused on the basics.