Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
2019 Subaru Crosstrek
Hybrid: So you want a little all-wheel drive Ö
Price: $38,470 as
tested. One option package explained below.
ďSmartly powered for modern adventure.Ē
Edmunds.com likes the ďspacious interior for a hatchback of its
size; optional safety features not typically found in the class;
high ground clearance for enhanced off-road capability; comfortable
ride qualityĒ but not that the ďhandling isnít as precise as
that of some rival cars.Ē
Reality: Not bad on
Whatís new? The
whole hybrid system. The company that brought us standard all-wheel
drive across its lineup is finally venturing into plug-in hybrid
power. The plug-in Crosstrek adds 17 miles of electric range before
the gasoline engine will kick in.
The Crosstrek has two
electric motors, one to start the engine and function as a generator
for the hybrid battery, the second to power the vehicle for hybrid
and electric driving modes and charge the hybrid battery during
Seventeen miles might
not seem like a long range, but it adds the kind of efficiency a
straight, non-plug-in hybrid might add, and also improves
acceleration. But owners can make even more of that if they happen
to live close to work, the store, the schools ó wherever they need
Fuel economy: I
averaged about 37 mpg in a highway-heavy, hard-driving weeklong
test. I travel between 25 to 40 miles depending on where Iím
working on a given day and donít have a place to plug in at work,
so owners with a better setup could get far higher efficiency.
But the number is
awesome for an all-wheel-drive vehicle, even a small one.
Up to speed, but
shiftless: Whether or not itís a rocket ó itís not ó the
Crosstrek Hybrid is notable for providing about the smoothest power
delivery Iíve found from a Subaru. Their CVTs often feel a touch
surge-y, but this modelís hybrid drivetrain was just smooth. It
doesnít feel fast, but the 148 horses take only 8.3 seconds to
reach 60 mph, according to Motor Trend. Full throttle sounds like a
Back down again: Most
hybrids enjoy excellent braking ó thanks to regenerative motors
that help build up the battery power ó but the Crosstrek Hybrid
seemed to frighteningly skip a beat before the brakes first engaged.
Subaru media info makes note of its hybridís ďexclusive new
high-contrast Gray and Navy-Blue leather seats.Ē On the plus side,
the heated, leather-covered seat was delightfully comfortable,
despite lacking a lumbar adjustment. On the down side, itís
slippery and slidy, and handling tests led to my seat sliding left
Hidden from view:
Iíve noted a few quirks of ergonomics in previous Subarus, but
Iíve never boiled it all down into one pronouncement. Now I can:
Subaru controls are poorly laid out.
The EyeSight control
for lane-keeping? Itís up near the sunroof controls. The control
for the display over the infotainment system? Itís on the left
side of the steering wheel. And that display features 10 different
screens, which drivers are permitted to toggle through one by one.
No skipping, no backing up.
The Crosstrek also
features a host of buttons on the dashboard to the left of the
steering wheel, never a great location for easy discovery. The best
safety device is a well-designed operating system.
On the road: Steering
is as loose as the latest generation of the Crosstrek has become.
Not terrible, just disappointing, when one tries a 2017 or
Play some tunes: The
Harman Kardon premium stereo (part of the $2,500 option package,
which also added sunroof, heated seats, and navigation) offers
pretty good sound, probably about a B+. Controls feature knobs for
volume and tuning, and buttons for changing source. The touchscreen
controls the other functions and goes several levels deep.
I experienced one
episode where CarPlay lost all functionality for a morning. I turned
off the phone, plugged and re-plugged the USB, and turned the car
off for a solid 20 seconds, but no dice. After a two-hour shutdown,
everything was back to normal.
Friends and stuff:
The Crosstrek rear seat is quite tight. Foot room is good thanks to
the raised front seat, but legroom is fair, and headroom is really
The Crosstrek offers
15.9 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 43.1 with the seats
folded, so itís pretty small.
Night shift: The
headlights shine in just the right spot, but interior lights are too
bright and diffuse to work well while in motion.
Where itís built:
How itís built: The
Crosstrek gets a predicted reliability of 5 out of 5 for the 2019
model year. But the hybrid is all new, so I would be a little wary.
In the end: As an
efficiency nut whoís decided itís time for all-wheel drive,
Subaru may have just built the perfect car. Except for the
acceleration. And the fun factor. And the price.