Is this a review for a car on roadbikereview? Unlike the Netherlands, most of us still own a car so we might as well get one that fits our cycling lifestyle. And we have unique auto needs as we need a vehicle that will haul bikes first and foremost. We need a car that will transport us and our bikes to all those races, events and cycling destinations. Or maybe just one that can get the bike to our workplace so we can sneak out for a lunch ride.
And yes, make it affordable and make it economical on the fossil fuels we reluctantly consume.
Enter the Subaru XV Crosstrek. It is new for 2013 and it in a nutshell is an Impreza that has been raised several inches. The surprising part is it works. It works well enough for us to say that it is our favorite car in the whole Subaru line-up.
Subaru XV Crosstrek Video Review
The Impreza hatchback is the latest to get this treatment, and while it’s a little more involved, that really is basically the gist of its transformation into the $22,805 XV Crosstrek. While the design of the Impreza is a little bit on the awkward side, it looks just right as a high rider. And the XV Crosstrek is definitely that. The little 5-door has 8.7-inches of ground clearance, more even than a Jeep Grand Cherokee, although it sits lower and is easier to get into than a conventional compact crossover. Chunky wheels with a blocky spoke design combined with unique front and rear bumpers help give it the appearance of a space buggy, especially when finished in its signature Tangerine Orange Pearl paint.
The Subaru XV is not a long car but the seats fold down flat and one can slide a road bike in the back without having to take the front wheel off. This is key as one can slide a bike in the back along with a gear bag and the bike is safe from thieves and low garage roofs. A passenger can still sit in the front as the seat doesn’t have to be pushed up all the way forward. With the seats folded down flat, all kinds of cycling, ski, camping gear can be stuffed in the back. It’s not SUV roomy but the size of this vehicle seems just right for a couple buddies packed for a weekend adventure.
The interior is identical to the Impreza’s, which means plain, but appointed with excellent visibility and lots of room for the compact class. The main difference is a standard rubber cargo tray for hauling mucky gear in the back.
The great news is the vehicle weighs in at about 3100 pounds which is up to 500 pounds lighter than its SUV and CUV peers. The 2.0-liter flat-four-cylinder engine only has 148 hp. All-wheel-drive and a five-speed manual transmission are standard, but with the CVT automatic the vast majority of buyers will choose, the XV Crosstrek is a little slow getting up to speed on the highway. And as we mentioned in the video, the XV Crosstrek feels light on its feet. The CVT transmission seems to squeeze out all the useable torque out of the engine efficiently and gets the car moving pretty quickly. The other bonus is the car coasts like a champ. Coasting is underrated and it seems to be how many manufacturers are squeezing good mileage out of modern cars. Eliminate drivetrain drag and manufacturers are rewarded with an extra 3-5 mpg.