Subaru is somewhat late to the game when it comes to hybrids, with its first entry – the XV Crosstrek Hybrid – making its appearance in dealer showrooms in recent months. It is based on the automaker’s conventional XV Crosstrek crossover model that debuted late last year.
Like all Subaru models except for the rear-drive BRZ sports car, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid features all-wheel drive, in this case the Active Torque Split version of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive like that used in the non-hybrid XV Crosstrek. The system sends torque to the four wheels all the time and adjusts torque distribution in response to acceleration, cornering, and road conditions.
Likewise, the same 2.0-liter, four-cylinder BOXER engine is installed. The engine is rated at 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft torque. For its in-house-developed parallel hybrid, Subaru adds an electric motor that’s integrated with the automaker’s Lineartronic continuously variable transmission. The motor supplies an additional 13.4 horsepower and 48 lb-ft torque, mainly to augment power for acceleration and hill climbing. It can also provide a brief period of all-electric driving.
Surprisingly, the Subaru hybrid uses a nickel-metal hydride battery pack rather than the more advanced (and costlier) lithium-ion batteries favored by many of the latest competitive hybrid models. The battery is kept charged via regenerative braking and fuel economy is helped by a stop-start system. This adds up to an estimated 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. This is an improvement of 5 mpg city and 4 mpg highway fuel economy compared to the standard XV Crosstrek.
The XV Crosstrek Hybrid retains the all-terrain capability expected in a Subaru. This includes 8.7-inches of ground clearance, four-wheel independent suspension, and special chassis tuning for more agile handling. The NiMH battery is located beneath the rear seats where it only slightly reduces passenger and cargo capacity.
Subaru’s standard XV Crosstrek Hybrid is available at an MSRP of $25,995. It features a 4.3-inch multi-function color display, exclusive to the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, that shows energy flow according to driving conditions. By switching screens, it displays driving information, entertainment content, and images from its standard rear vision camera. A Touring version is priced at $29,295 that comes with a touch-screen navigation system, leather-trimmed seating, power moon roof, and other upscale features.