Walking up to my Tangerine Orange Pearl 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Premium for the first time, the intro to Led Zeppelin’s own Tangerine played over and over in my head. This car looks menacing with its black-painted 17-inch wheels, pronounced fender flares and raised ride height.
That ride height adds up to 8.7 total inches of ground clearance – 1.6 inches more than the 2013 Audi Allroad. And while the XV Crosstrek’s styling is “love it” or “hate it,” the overall appearance leaves no doubt as to the wagon’s rugged versatility.
Inside, my XV Crosstrek Premium was clad in black cloth with a black dash, black doors and black carpet. It’s a sea of black, but the materials feel premium and are nicely textured. The upholstery and carpeting feel substantial enough to withstand several years’ worth of abuse (and pet hair).
When measured against the 2013 Subaru Forester, the XV Crosstrek has 16.4 less cubic feet (51.9 vs. 68) of maximum cargo volume. What’s interesting, however, is that the XV boasts 17.7 more cubes of passenger volume overall (119.8 vs. 102.1).
Do these numbers translate to a roomier overall feel in the XV? I’m not exactly sure, but I can tell you that head, leg and shoulder room were in abundance in all outboard seating positions.
Once you get up to speed, the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek is magnificent to drive. The four-wheel-independent suspension’s damping and rebound motions are perfectly controlled and the body structure is as solid as a railroad trestle.
The electronic power steering system is among the best I have ever tested, not far off the Subaru BRZ in response and on-center feel.
Getting up to an entertaining speed is the XV Crosstrek’s Achilles’ heel. The Impreza line’s familiar 148-HP 2.0-L FB-series boxer four-cylinder struggles to motivate the XV’s 3,087 pounds with any sort of alacrity.
That sort of weight does not bestow a “porky” classification upon the XV; but, when paired to the standard five-speed manual’s economical gearing, it simply wasn’t enough. Perhaps the optional CVT, keeping the FB in its narrow power band, would be more appropriate.
On the bright side, the economy-oriented FB and five-speed combo returned a very respectable 29.8-MPG average over 500 miles of mixed driving. On the highway, the car regularly averaged upwards of 37 MPG on regular unleaded fuel.
With a redesigned (and similarly priced) base-model 2014 Subaru Forester on the way, is the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek still a viable CUV alternative? You bet. So long as speed isn’t of the utmost importance, there are few better ways to spend $22,790 on a vehicle.
On the TFLcar.com recommendation scale of:
– Buy it
– Lease it
– Rent it, or
– Forget it
I give the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek a BUY IT!
Where else can you get this level of exclusivity, versatility and personality in a new vehicle for less than $23k? If Subaru added a turbo, this would be the perfect vehicle for rugged mountain climates.
Daniel Buxbaum has had a life-long passion for all things automotive. His background as a Porsche, Audi and BMW service advisor brings a more technical approach to his writing. Dan’s passion for automotive journalism secured him a position as regional manager and contributing writer for Parts & People, a multi-region automotive trade publication. Dan is also an active member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP) and Motor Press Guild (MPG).