• Review: the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek and the bladder of destiny

    The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek looks better in person… with lots of mud on it.

    The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek was warmly received by many of us at The Fast Lane Car, but the lack of power from its 2.0-liter, boxer engine was disconcerting. With 148 horsepower making its peak power at 6,200 rpm, we had to rev its lug-nuts off to make it move. Most of our testing is done at over a mile up in elevation, this change in air pressure lowers the power on all internal combustion vehicles. Up here, up to 30% of your horsepower can go bye-bye.

    I immediately felt the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek struggle when going up steep grades, climbing mountains and picking up the kids. It had a five-speed manual, I thought I could keep it in the power-band longer and compensate from some of the sluggishness by using what was left of its 145 lbs-feet of torque. I thought it was going to be as trying as the regular Impreza which the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek is based on.
    Then, thanks to my little-one’s bladder – something happened turning my irritation of the usurped power into praise for the 2013 Subaru XV. 
    Driving home from a pumpkin patch with my rug-rat in the very kid friendly back seat of the  2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek, I was in the midst of an argument.
    No! You are NOT allowed to kick the pumpkins!” was my reply as to why we were zooming home with no pumpkins.
    You mean daddy!”
    Indeed. Not only was I a mean daddy, I was a forgetful one as well. The bag holding my kid’s change of clothing, wipes and trainers (pull-up diapers) was still at home. I realized this when I heard, “Uh-oh daddy.…”
    That’s the indicator that not all is well. My kid’s bladder control was still in the programming faze and holding things in is a challenge. “Uh-oh daddy” means: time’s up.
    Knowing that a side road would get me to my side of town quickly, and looking at my kid’s near cross-eyed expression, led me to an off the highway excursion. It was here that I found salvation and adoration for the  2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek,
    I learned that: if you keep your foot in it and let the tachometer go an extra 1,000 rpm over where you would normally shift, the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek (with the five-speed manual transmission) comes alive. Rounding corners, the 50/50 split of power, courtesy of the all-wheel drive’s (AWD) viscous coupling, kept the traction constantly moving forward – no matter how poor my positioning.
    On dirt and mud, nothing felt as secure and stable as the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek did.
    Look at the height difference between the regular Impreza and the XV Crosstrek. I think it’s better looking than the regular Impreza too.

    Having 8.7-inches of ground clearance, did nothing to upset the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek’s ride. I’ve driven other Imprezas and, despite being several inches higher, there is no discernible difference in handling. The   2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek is well dampened, smooth and compliant while maintaining great road grip. This is Audi and BMW levels of ride control people.

    Okay, it’s a bit noisy inside and the standard radio is crap – but this is a $22,790 vehicle. You can upgrade the speakers and even add a $499 subwoofer. If you really rev the horizontally-opposed boxer engine, you get a pleasing growl. If you’re a fan of old, air-cooled Porsche engines, there’s a hint of that above 5,000 rpm.
    The car grows on you.
    Outward visibility is quite good and the added ride height is nearly ideal for loading kids, lazy bottoms, mountain bikes and is a boon for shorter drivers. Rear cargo room is slightly tight at 22.3 cubic-feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 51.9 cu-ft seats down. It’s less than a Honda CR-V, but more than a Nissan Juke. Rear passenger space is good, with squishy seat-bottoms and acceptable leg room for average-sized adults.
    Good room, but the roof is low while the lift-in height is high. Still, it’s pretty utilitarian.

    “Hurry Daddy!”

    That was my two-minute warning. I knew that the liquid would soon be followed by solid. Man… I truly WISHED this thing had a turbo.
    One attribute to this new-ish 2.0-liter engine was its impressive economy. The  2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek with the five-speed manual transmission is rated at 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. That’s mighty impressive for an AWD car and the automatic/CVT equipped  2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek gets up to 33 mpg highway… but I would never recommend the CVT –  never recommend I any CVT.
    Finally home and I managed to avoid the dark and messy tide of stinky injustice by mere moments.
    Had my kid’s bladder help change my perception of the  2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek? The answer is – yes; yes indeed. I went from disliking it to admiring it. For folks who need a lifted ride to conquer snow and dirt, this is an excellent machine.
    Here’s some goodies you can get with the $24,495 Limited 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek.
    • Leather-trimmed upholstery
    • Automatic climate control
    • 6-speaker audio system with HD Radio™
    • Automatic Lineartronic® CVT
    Love the black trim. It’s a PVC-like plastic that is fairly scratch resistant. As for the wheels? Well, they are unique – but I think they look better dirty too.

    On the TFLcar scale of:

    – Buy it
    – Lease it
    – Rent it or
    – Forget it
    I recommend that you Lease it. If it had just a little bit more power, I would definitely recommend buying it.
    Here’s a brand new video with Roman and I putting the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek through its paces off road!

    Nathan Adlen
    Nathan Adlen
    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.

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