2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Expert Review

3.5 Overall Score
Performance 3.0 Comfort 3.5 Styling 4.0 Value 3.5

Editor's Overview

Although it's built upon the underpinnings of Subaru's latest Impreza, the new 5-passenger XV Crosstrek delivers the all-terrain prowess and versatility of the Subaru Outback, but in a smaller, sportier package. Beyond its practical 5-door design and striking good looks, the 2013 XV Crosstrek is also the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive SUV available.

You'll Like The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek If...

Today's small-SUV shopper faces no shortage of choices, but if all-terrain capability and distinctive exterior styling are prerequisites for your next compact SUV, the 2013 XV Crosstrek should make your decision much easier.

You May Not Like The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek If...

If you need a vehicle with a great deal of cargo space and an affordable sticker price, the larger Toyota RAV4 or the Honda CR-V is worth a closer look. Subaru fans who love the rugged capability of the XV Crosstrek, but require slightly more interior volume should consider its bigger brother, the Subaru Outback.

What's New

The 2013 XV Crosstrek is a brand-new nameplate in the Subaru lineup and looks to make a name for itself in the small-SUV segment by way of impressive fuel economy, stylish sheetmetal and go-anywhere capability.

Interior Features

Barring a few minor details, the XV Crosstrek and the Subaru Impreza share the same interior layout. While material quality is below average for the segment, panel gaps are narrow and consistent throughout the cabin. The rear seats offer sufficient legroom for average-sized adults and fold flat to yield 51.9 cubic feet of cargo space – considerably more than the Nissan Juke. The dashboard's center stack is home to user-friendly controls and a handy lower storage compartment for mobile phones and other small items. If possible, we recommend avoiding the optional navigation system, as the outdated interface can be extremely frustrating to operate.

Exterior Features

The 2013 XV Crosstrek shuns the utilitarian look of many "compact" SUVs in favor of a more aggressive, dynamic design. The look is spearheaded by Subaru's signature hexagonal grille and hawk-eye headlights, while prominent over-fenders and unique starfish alloy wheels combine to project an athletic stance. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and fairly steep approach/departure angles, the Subaru XV Crosstrek is well-equipped for travel in unforgiving terrain. Moreover, the lower body panels are wrapped in rugged plastic cladding for additional protection against various obstacles encountered on unpaved roads.

Driving Impressions

Though it is largely based on Subaru's latest small-car platform, the XV Crosstrek feels exceptionally stable and secure on the open road. Road imperfections and undulations are well absorbed, and the up-sized brakes provide plenty of stopping power for the relatively light XV Crosstrek. The electric-assisted power steering lacks feedback, but the light effort makes low-speed parking maneuvers a cinch. The 148-horsepower engine, however, has a difficult time hauling more than two passengers, and the continuously variable transmission (CVT) exacerbates engine noise under hard acceleration. To that end, drivers looking to haul more than a few hundred pounds should search for a more powerful alternative. Still, the prevailing impression is one of suitable refinement and comfort.

Pricing Notes

With a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) that starts just under $23,000 and tops out around $28,000, the all-new Subaru XV Crosstrek is filled with value. In base form, the Nissan Juke undercuts the XV Crosstrek by a few thousand dollars, but does not include the same level of standard equipment. Larger compact SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V start just above $23,000 and easily surpass the $30,000 mark when fully loaded. To see what consumers in your area are actually paying for their XV Crosstreks, take a look at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. As for resale value, we expect the 2013 XV Crosstrek to perform slightly better than the Nissan Juke, but not as well as the increasingly popular Mini Countryman.

Notable Equipment

The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek is offered in two trim levels: Premium and Limited. Premium models include roof rails, heated front seats, a multi-information display and a 6-speaker sound system with Bluetooth and a USB port for portable MP3 players. Stepping up to the Limited trim adds dual-zone climate control, leather, rearview camera, auto-on/off headlights and Subaru's new 4.3-inch touch-screen audio system with HD Radio. Despite the $25,000 price tag, Limited models do not offer power-adjustable front seats. Occupant protection comes in the form of seven airbags, rollover mitigation control and sure-footed traction of symmetrical all-wheel drive.

Notable Options

Since the majority of features are tied to trim level, the XV Crosstrek's short list of options includes a power moonroof, touch-screen navigation with a 6.1-inch display and host of stand-alone accessories. Given the substandard sound quality produced by the standard audio system, we highly recommend upgrading to the dealer-installed speakers from Kicker.

Favorite Features


Unlike most competitor all-wheel-drive systems, Subaru's trademark symmetrical AWD continuously sends power to all four wheels to help prevent a loss of traction before it happens. Additionally, Subaru symmetrical AWD incorporates a compact design to optimize both fuel economy and handling performance.


Until recently, hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles were the sole recipients of the EPA's Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) rating. The Subaru XV Crosstrek achieves PZEV status without the need for costly alternative-fuel technology.

Under the Hood

The lone engine choice for the 2013 XV Crosstrek is a 2.0-liter, horizontally opposed "boxer" 4-cylinder engine that churns out 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. The XV Crosstrek sends power to all four wheels via a standard 5-speed manual or an available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Premium models equipped with a manual gearbox feature an AWD system with a 50/50 front/rear power distribution, while automatic transmissions are coupled to an adaptive system that automatically proportions power to the wheels with the most grip.

2.0-liter boxer-4

148 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm

145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (manual), 25/33 mpg (automatic)

Editors' Notes

In the automotive world, downsizing has long been synonymous with downgrading. While this notion is often far from true , most of today's compact SUVs have swollen to near mid-size proportions, which in turn spawned a new series of small SUVs that actually live up to their namesake. The all-new 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek is among this new breed of right-sized SUVs, offering a wealth of upscale features, nimble handling and ample cargo space at an affordable price. Rivals such as the Nissan Juke and Mini Countryman deliver engaging on-road performance and laudable fuel economy, but the new XV Crosstrek supplements its solid road manners with a surprising level of off-road proficiency and the best fuel economy of any all-wheel-drive (AWD) SUV on the market.

Road Test Video Reviews

  • Here's the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek on Everyman Driver
    Here's the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek on Everyman Driver
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek OWNER review
    2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek OWNER review
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Limited Start Up, Exhaust, and In Depth Review
    2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek Limited Start Up, Exhaust, and In Depth Review
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek 1st Drive & Off-Road Review
    2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek 1st Drive & Off-Road Review
  • 2013 and 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Review and Road Test
    2013 and 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Review and Road Test
  • 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek - Drive Time Review with Steve Hammes | TestDriveNow
    2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek - Drive Time Review with Steve Hammes | TestDriveNow

Owner Reviews


60 Reviews

62% 27% 10% 2% 1 star 0%

Owner reviews are verified by our team and cannot be altered or removed.

A great car with a lot of amazing features and capabilities.

I really love this car. It is very safe, well made, and has high performance. It is all wheel drive with other safety features, has 4 doors and a trunk, and has 5 available seats (driver, passenger, three in the backseat). The seats in the back can be put away in order to have extra trunk space. Up front there is a multimedia system that phones and other devices can connect to using the outlet ports with charging cords. There is also capability of radio service and CD playing. The mirrors work well and everything else works well. The seats can recline easily and the vehicle is very easy to maneuver on the roads. It fits in small spaces and can take a lot (running over curbs, driving in the snow, etc. ) It is a very comfortable car and well worth the money.

- A G

After buying this car, I will stay a Subaru customer for life.

I have had this car for approximately 2 years and I will never drive a car other than a Subaru. The way the vehicle drives in the snow is fantastic. I can travel significant distances without having to stop for gas often. I have never had any problems with the car and only have to do the regular routine maintenance. The car is very comfortable. I love the size of the car as it has helped me move multiple times however, it is not bulky or too big. I can comfortably fit enough people in the car.

- Jennifer P

Great for all conditions and all drivers!

I love my Subaru Crosstrek. It is sleek, sporty yet very rugged with AWD and has lots of user friendly space as well. I have traveled extensively in it and sleep in the car with the seats down which is very practical at times and with the right gear actually quite comfortable. Needless to say it is also good in conditions like mud and snow where AWD is a must. . . I have never been stuck! I highly recommend it to the adventurer or the daily commute driver. . . Awesome!

- Kathleen G