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2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Two months with Subie Doo by jstone.redmon

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Introduction

I'm mostly satisfied with my purchase, but I can't claim to have no misgivings. The hybrid, as I was warned, isn't a Prius-class fuel sipper, and I miss the power and handling of my old Jetta. But for what it is, it's very easy to live with. It's very easy to get in and out of and very comfortable on longer drives, the roof line is low enough that it's easy to put my bike on the roof, the fuel economy is improving as the car breaks in and I learn to maximize the hybrid, visitiliby and drivability are good, and the techno gadgets work well overall.

Reviewed: 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek

4dr Hatch 160-horsepower 2.0L H4 Hybrid 6-speed shiftable CVT AWD

Why the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek?

Interior styling

The design and layout are very clean and attractive. Not the fanciest car out there but the clean simplicity of the design borders on elegant.

Fuel economy

Economy is not stellar for a hybrid but very good for a car with AWD, great ground clearance, and good interior space. The stop/start system saves a ton of gas when driving around town, and at moderate country road speeds (around 50) the mileage is great, easily over 40 mpg for some trips.

Driving position & visibility

I love the driving position in this car -- more like a station wagon, which is what I'm used to, than a truck or SUV -- and I feel very comfortable and relaxed while driving. Visibility is outstanding -- the windshield is panoramic and even the small rear window doesn't create a problem because it is perfectly sized relative to the rearview mirror. The ivory color of my car's interior also contributes to the feeling of spaciousness.

Materials & workmanship

The leather is very comfortable and the plastics seem fine.

Off-road capability

One of my reasons for buying the Crosstrek was a trip I took to Newfoundland and Labrador a few months after I bought it. A lot of the roads up there are unpaved, and while it's certainly possible to drive on them in a regular car I wanted a vehicle that would give me more confidence when driving long distances on gravel, sometimes hours away from the nearest town. The Crosstrek's ground clearance and AWD really shone on that trip and every time I've challenged it since. I've never taken it very far off-road but it's been on some roads that barely qualify as roads and it has never let me down.

Why Not the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek?

Powertrain performance

In most driving situations the power is fine, even peppy, but it needs more power in some situations like merging onto a highway at a slight uphill grade. The hybrid/CVT combination is mostly fine but it can get confused in stop and start driving and when parking.

Materials & workmanship

There's a small but annoying rattle in the dashboard and a less frequent but louder rattle emanating from somehwhere in back near the hatch. I understand these are common complaints with Subarus.

Ride smoothness

Ride is unsettled over uneven pavement.

Other Features of the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek

Audio & nav systems

I have mixed feelings about the infotainment. The audio quality is middling at best, there's always a significant delay in reading the files off a thumb drive and initializing voice commands, and Bluetooth volume is erratic. But once the thumb drive and voice commands are initialized it's easy to select music and the Pandora integration is great. XM and HD radio also work well. The navigation system could be easier to use and it once got hopelessly confused, but most of the time it works well enough and it's well integrated into the other systems in the car. I don't make a lot of phone calls but it is frustrating that the system has never been able to read the phonebook from my Android phone. Adding phone numbers manually wasn't terribly painful, though, and receiving and reading text messages works well.

Feature availability

The worst trade-off when buying the hybrid, other than the cost, is the space the battery pack takes up, which yields a slight reduction in cargo space and, more significantly, no room for a spare tire. Flat tires have become pretty rare occurrences lately -- my last car had only one very slow leak in the 10 years I owned it, and the Jeep I had for 7 years before that never had a flat -- and roadside assistance is usually available if the can of flix-a-flat doesn't do its job. But if you want to go to remote areas with poor roads the prospect of doing so without a spare tire is daunting. I ended up buying a cheap full-size wheel/tire combo for peace of mind on an upcoming drive to Newfoundland and Labrador.

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