Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
If you like the Subaru Outback, but don’t have that much money or need that much space, then the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek may just be the ticket. Based on the smaller Subaru Impreza, the Crosstrek SUV offers plenty of ground clearance, surprisingly good off-road ability, and this year gets Subaru’s EyeSight active safety suite and a new lower-priced base model.
You'll Like The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid If...
If you’re drawn to the size and shape of the Subaru Impreza, but live a more outdoorsy lifestyle – or at least want people to think you do – then the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek is exactly what you’re looking for.
You May Not Like The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid If...
If you haul people and things simultaneously, you might need something bigger, like the Subaru Forester or Outback. If you want more power from your compact crossover SUV, the Forester XT’s turbocharged engine will deliver it. Additionally, the Crosstrek Hybrid model doesn’t offer much of a fuel economy boost.
The interior gets a new audio system with an improved interface, and EyeSight is available for the first time in the XV Crosstrek. There’s also a new base model, the XV Crosstrek 2.0i, for budget shoppers. A rearview camera is now standard across the board.
The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek SUV features the same upgrades that came to the newest Subaru Impreza. Front and center is an improved infotainment system called Starlink that emphasizes apps and user friendliness, putting this little Subaru on more competitive footing, and letting us recommend the navigation system. Otherwise it’s mostly the same, with rear seats that are sufficiently big for adults, but may be better used when folded flat for nearly 52 cubic feet of cargo space. The dashboard’s center stack is home to user-friendly controls and a handy lower storage compartment for mobile phones and other small items.
The XV Crosstrek doesn’t do much to hide its familial ties to the Subaru Impreza, and that’s just fine with us. We like the aggressive SUV touches on the Crosstrek, like the 8.7-inch ride height and the dark-gray wheel well trim. Not only are they suitably off-roady looking, they also contribute to the little Subie’s ruggedness, making it easier to traverse ragged terrain, and less likely to cause paint damage when you misjudge how far off that branch is. Moreover, the SUV’s lower body panels are wrapped in rugged plastic cladding for additional protection against obstacles encountered on unpaved roads.
Since it’s based on the Subaru Impreza, it’s not surprising that the Subaru XV Crosstrek drives similarly. The SUV’s suspension errs on the soft side, soaking up bumps and other imperfections nicely, yet somehow managing to feel stable and planted in corners, not swaying too much around bends. The electric-assist power steering system offers a quicker ratio for easier maneuverability this year, but no word on if it improves feedback. The biggest downside to the Crosstrek is the engine, a 148-horsepower 4-cylinder "boxer" engine that’s indifferent to how big of a hurry you may be in. The continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) works hard to find power, but the resulting noise from the engine will likely encourage you to just take a more relaxed attitude to your journey.
The new Subaru XV Crosstrek 2.0i starts at about $22,500 when you include the $850 destination charge, undercutting last year’s base model by a solid margin. The top-line 2.0i Limited starts at about $25,600 – with options, it can climb to about $28,500. Starting just a little over $23,000, we think the mid-level 2.0i Premium’s price and features are a better deal though. Hybrid models start at just under $27,000, and top out a little over $30,000. Size-wise, the Nissan Juke is the closest competitor, and the new 2.0i base model brings the two much closer in base price. We’ll have to wait a few months to find out what the new Honda HR-V and other small crossover SUVs cost. Be sure to check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid, and note that resale for the XV Crosstrek will likely be a bit better than the Juke, but not as good as Mini Countryman.
This year, a new base model joins the lineup. The Crosstrek 2.0i comes standard with tilt/telescoping steering and power windows, locks and mirrors, and a 5-speed manual transmission. Bluetooth is also standard, as is a multi-function display with fuel economy information. It also includes the new 6.0-inch Starlink infotainment system, which comes with a standard backup camera. The midrange 2.0i Premium model adds an All Weather Package that includes heated seats and outside mirrors, plus a windshield de-icer. Top-line 2.0i Limited models get a larger Starlink display with dual USB ports. Hybrid models get keyless entry and push-button start.
If you want an automatic transmission, you’ll have to step up to the 2.0i Premium, since the manual is the only choice in the base Crosstrek 2.0i. Other options include EyeSight on Premium and Limited models, a moonroof, touch-screen navigation on an upgraded 7.0-inch Starlink system, and keyless entry and start. Note that if you want a moonroof or EyeSight, you also have to get the CVT. And if you want added features in your XV Crosstrek Hybrid, you’ll have to get the Touring model, which offers most of the features of the gasoline-only Limited model.
STANDARD SYMMETRICAL ALL-WHEEL DRIVELike all Subarus, the XV Crosstrek offers full-time all-wheel drive. Known as Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, the system is permanently engaged, and thanks to generations of refinement, it’s a lightweight, compact and extremely reliable way to ensure foul-weather and off-road traction.NUMEROUS DEALER ADD-ONSSubaru caters to those who live an outdoor lifestyle, and dealers are all too happy to supply you with numerous accessories to facilitate your quest for fresh air, wherever it may be found. There are bike and ski racks, roof-mounted cargo carriers and even interior upgrades including a 110-volt outlet.
Under the Hood
The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek’s standard 2.0-liter, horizontally opposed "boxer" 4-cylinder engine offers 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. A standard 5-speed manual or available continuously variable automatic transmission routes that power to all four wheels. Premium models equipped with a manual gearbox feature an AWD system with a 50/50 front/rear power distribution, while automatic transmissions get an adaptive system that automatically proportions power to the wheels with the most grip. The XV Crosstrek Hybrid couples a 13.4-horsepower electric motor to the same 2.0-liter engine for a total of 160 horsepower. Interestingly, Hybrid models don’t offer a significant fuel economy advantage over the standard XV Crosstrek. However, all 2015 XV Crosstrek SUVs get a slight increase in fuel economy.2.0-liter boxer-4148 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg (manual), 26/34 mpg (automatic)2.0-liter boxer-4/permanent-magnet AC synchronous electric drive motor160 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm163 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/34 mpg
The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek looks a lot like the Impreza compact sedan/hatchback upon which it’s based, but the changes made to it are more than cosmetic. The capable little crossover SUV offers up 8.7 inches of ground clearance, just as much as the bigger Subaru Outback, and even more than some "real" off-road vehicles like the Jeep Grand Cherokee. This year, the Subaru XV Crosstrek gets Subaru’s EyeSight suite of active safety gear, which uses cameras and other sensors to incorporate active cruise control, lane-departure warnings and pre-collision braking. Along with a new base model and a new audio system, the XV Crosstrek and Crosstrek Hybrid are well suited to go head-to-head with the likes of the new Honda HR-V and other small SUVs.