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Subaru introduces 2013 Crosstrek crossover SUV

Americans love their crossover sport utility vehicles. Check out the roads these days and note how many crossovers are out there. Yes, it's quite a lot and the trend is not expected to decline anytime soon.

Perhaps with that in mind, Subaru decided there was room for at least one more crossover offering, unveiling the new 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek. Not sure the XV was necessary in the naming. But admittedly, Crosstrek kind of grabs one's attention, as in, "What is it."

The Crosstrek is essentially a knockoff of the Subaru Impreza hatchback that was redesigned last year. There are differences, but as one auto writer suggested, in other world markets the Crosstrek may be referred to as the "Impreza XV" due to the similarity.

Where the Crosstrek primarily differs from the Impreza is it rides 3 inches higher and has a ground clearance of 8.7 inches, which comes in handy while driving in snow or off-road adventures.

Subaru hopes the combination of all-wheel drive, solid fuel economy (25-33 mph), and good cargo space make the Crosstrek unique in its class.

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

  • Performance: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, 148 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 25-33 mpg
  • Price: $21,995 to $24,495
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/unlimited; roadside assistance 3 years/36,000

Indeed, the Crosstrek has some fine qualities. However, my main beef with the Crosstrek, and frankly a lot of Subaru models, is performance.

It's great that Subaru equips all its vehicles with all-wheel drive. But do you want to be driving a pokey four-cylinder, five-speed automatic transmission in a mountainous region in winter or summer? Frankly, I don't.

Even around town, on some modest hills, the Crosstrek labored during a week of test driving. That's not surprising, given its 2.0-liter, horizontally opposed "boxer" four-cylinder engine that offers 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque.

The Crosstrek goes a sluggish 0-60 mph in 10.1 seconds! The suggestion here is offer a V-6 or turbo-charged model for people who want more performance. Right now, there are two Crosstrek trim models (Premium, Limited) with the identical four-cylinder engine.

The two trim models falls right in place with the general game plan for the Crosstrek - take it or leave it! Subaru doesn't offer many options; a power sunroof, voice controls, satellite radio, and navigation system with rearview camera, are the primary available additions.

Of course, there is plenty of upside to the Crosstrek. At a time when too many manufacturers feel they have to provide a complex interior design, Subaru is going fairly basic with the Crosstrek. The center stack is easy to see and operate. There is also lots soft-touch material and the overall cabin is pretty sizable for a compact vehicle. One minor complaint is an ordinary radio tuning knob would be nice - maybe next year.

Even large adults should be fine in the front seat, where both head and leg room are good, plus the seating is comfortable. The rear seat is not spacious, but overall it's solid and will accommodate small and large folks. The rear cargo space is roomy and folded down provides 22.3 cubic feet of storage.

The Crosstrek drives like a car, which is one prime reason why many people are buying crossover SUVs. The vehicle has agile handling, corners well, and the braking is trustworthy.

What will annoy some is the sound of a whiny engine that labors far too much. The Crosstrek is sluggish from a starting point and there's significant engine noise during many acceleration situations.

Only time will tell if the Crosstrek attracts buyers. There are plenty of fine qualities with the new Subaru crossover SUV, but the lack of adequate power could definitely be an issue.

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Weidel on Wheels author Jeffrey Weidel is an award-winning writer from the Sacramento region who has reviewed automobiles for more than two decades. He can be reached at skiweidel@gmail.com
Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.



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