2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Touring/ERI new car reviews

What does this Pleiades-adorned SUV offer? Subaru’s traditions and standards along with green modernization. Can’t get much better than that.

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Alan Cesar Alan Cesar

Hybrid? I guess so. It's definitely a mild hybrid system with meager output. You won't be moving under all-electric power at all. Ever. It sure is green, though, and like every Subaru, it's all-wheel drive and has a boxer engine as its primary power producer. It's not a bad machine, and it's good on gas. It is also fairly forgettable.

Alright, alright. Let's have a real look. How does this compete with the king of fun-to-drive compact crossovers Mazda CX-5? Apples to apples, you can get a CX-5 with AWD for about $1500 less than this, and their Skyactiv drivetrain is good for 31 mpg highway and 25 mpg city. So the hybrid system provides a real benefit, especially in city driving. It also looks good and—hey, roof rack! I have a canoe to throw up there!.

There are plenty of people who, correctly or not, find it necessary to own a vehicle with AWD. Sure, we could get better mileage with a 2WD Mazda—it even comes in a stickshift!—but if that's not an option, you'll get better economy with the Subaru.

How long will it take to pay off the $1100 difference? That's where fueleconomy.gov's side-by-side comparison tool comes in handy. If you spend 80% of your time driving in city conditions—and assuming fuel prices stay flat—it'll pay off in about 4 years. That's not so bad.

It won't be as fun to drive, though.

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