Subaru unveiled the company’s first hybrid model, the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid, recently during the 2013 New York Auto Show. The XV Crosstrek Hybrid is based upon the popular Subaru XV CrossTrek which is a fairly new model that was introduced for the 2013 Subaru vehicle lineup. Subaru plans to start delivering 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek hybrid’s to Subaru dealerships toward the end of the year.
Engine and Hybrid System
Subaru says the new 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid will offer the same capability and versatility of the gas-powered XV Crosstrek but will obviously have better fuel mileage since it is a hybrid. The Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid will come equipped with the legendary 2.0-liter Subaru boxer engine with a 13.4-hp electric motor that’s integrated into the Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The engine utilizes an integrated starter/generator for automatic starting/stopping. The XV CrossTrek will also feature brake regeneration which captures kinetic energy from the turning wheels to recharge the battery to improve fuel economy.
The battery powering the electric motor is a 100v, 13.5kw nickel-metal hybrid battery which is located under a revised rear floor area. The entire hybrid system weighs 209 lbs. and Subaru says it is fairly compact for a hybrid system. In total the XV Crosstrek Hybrid weighs approximately 300 lbs. more than the gasoline XV Crosstrek because of the re-engineered the chassis to handle the added extra weight of the hybrid-battery system and added sound insulation.
Subaru Symmetrical AWD
Like all Subaru’s the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid will come equipped with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and should have excellent handling in good or bad weather. The Active Torque Split version of Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD provides the same operation and benefits as in the gasoline model. The system sends power to the four wheels all the time and adjusts the torque distribution in response to acceleration, cornering and road conditions. This should make for a sharp and crisp handling hybrid. Something Subaru’s rivals, Honda and Toyota, have not quite mastered with their everyday cars.
The 8.7 inches of ground clearance along with Subaru’s AWD should provide off-roaders plenty of versatility and fun as well. The XV CrossTrek hybrid actually has more ground clearance than some dedicated SUVs but provides a low step-in height.
Interior and Exterior
The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid will feature generous passenger cabin room that is basically the same as the gas model being only a 0.7 cu. ft. difference. With the XV CrossTrek Hybrid having a maximum cargo room (rear seatbacks folded down) measuring 50.2 cu. ft., that should be plenty of room for hauling sports gear or trips to the home improvement store.
Exterior enhancements will differentiate the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid from the gas powered XV CrossTrek. “HYBRID” badges will adorn the front edges of the front doors and on the tailgate. Not surprisingly a new paint color, Plasma Green Pearl, will be exclusive to the XV Crosstrek Hybrid. This is obviously to showcase the eco-friendliness of the hybrid.
Inside, the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid will feature a clean, cool blue theme with silver trim to show the advanced hybrid technology. The instrument cluster, exclusive to the hybrid, uses gradations of the blue color scheme to provide a sense of depth. The Color Multi-Function Display will show the hybrid system’s energy flow under driving conditions. Switching screens, the display combines driving operation information with entertainment content, and its screen can be easily viewed from any seat.
Subaru is aiming at a key demographic with the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid, a crowd that shops at Whole Foods. Ok, well the Whole Foods shopping crowd probably already bought a Toyota Prius. I am talking type of people that go to REI and eat Cliff Bars then goes to Whole Foods.
I think this is a smart strategy as Subaru is relatively late to the hybrid game and it would be hard to introduce a hybrid against the likes of the Prius lineup. It is a smart strategy to fill the REI and Cliff Bar void.
There are other SUV hybrids on the market but the hiking, kayaking, and outdoorsy people don’t want an “SUV” since that is not seen as eco-friendly, they want a “crossover” from a Japanese automaker. Subaru claims the XV Crosstrek Hybrid will be the most fuel-efficient and lowest-emissions AWD hybrid crossover in America when it goes on sale.
Subaru just reported that March was the best sales month for the company ever. Also in the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Issue recently Consumer Reports gave Subaru top marks for reliability and overall vehicle quality. So things are looking good for Subaru in 2013.
Since the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid will be just as versatile as it’s gas counterpart but will offer quieter driving in certain conditions and better fuel efficiency we think it will sell well for a car shopper that wants an capable off-roader but wants to be seen as ‘Green’ at the same time. I expect to see a lot of XV CrossTrek hybrids parked in Whole Foods and REI parking lots.
Checkout this Gallery of the 2014 Subaru XV CrossTrek Hybrid.