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2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/11/2015 Stefan Ogbac
2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid© Subaru 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid

New for 2015

The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek adds a new 2.0i base model, standard rearview camera on all variants, and a quicker electric power assisted steering system. Limited models gain an insulation-glass windshield, an upgraded instrument cluster with LCD color display, exterior mirrors with welcome lighting and integrated turn signals. All models are now available with the new Starlink Multimedia system that first debuted in the 2015 Legacy and Outback. Hybrid models also gain a PIN code access system added to the hands-free keyless access feature. New this year, a Special Edition variant painted Sunrise Yellow is based on the Premium trim and is limited to 1,000 units.

UPDATE: The XV Crosstrek Special Edition comes with extra features including an upgraded Starlink infotainment system featuring a seven-inch touchscreen with swipe and scrolling controls, voice command capability, six-speaker audio system, SMS text messaging, iTunes Tagging capability, satellite radio, two USB ports, blackened headlight bezels, power moonroof, and hands-free keyless entry and start.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek is a small crossover that comes standard with all-wheel drive and is available in gas and hybrid variants. A 2.0-liter flat-four with 148 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque paired to a five-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) serves as the base engine. Fuel economy is competitive at 26/34 mpg city/highway with the CVT and 23/31 mpg with the manual. Hybrid models have the same 2.0-liter flat-four but paired to an electric motor for a combined output of 160 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. The CVT is the only transmission available in the hybrid while fuel economy is acceptable at 30/34 mpg.


Performance isn’t one of the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek’s strong points, with leisurely acceleration thanks to it not having a lot of power to move the crossover’s curb weight of over 3,000 pounds. The generous 8.7 inches of ground clearance, on the other hand, means that the XV Crosstrek is able to go through unpaved roads with ease; however, it isn’t a thoroughbred off-roader like the Jeep Wrangler. On pavement, the crossover is more carlike with little body roll due to it essentially being a raised Subaru Impreza.

Interior space is generous for both passengers and cargo, with plenty of room for four passengers and up to 51.9 cubic feet of volume with the rear seats down. The addition of the new Starlink Multimedia system, which first debuted in the 2015 Legacy and Outback, means that the XV now has an infotainment system that works well with a more intuitive touchscreen and smartphone integration to allow owners to use apps such as Pandora, Aha, and iHeart Radio.

The NHTSA gave the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek a five-star overall safety rating (out of a possible five stars). In IIHS evaluations, the car earned a good score in all five categories and received the Top Safety Pick+ award (good is the highest possible score).

What We Think

For buyers in search of a roomy and fuel-efficient small crossover with decent off-road capabilities, the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek is a good choice because of its generous ground clearance, standard all-wheel-drive system, and spacious interior. In a 2013 First Test review, we said that the crossover is a capable crossover on the beaten path and it was able to take on ruts, rocks, sand, and mud with its standard all-wheel-drive system. Additionally, it remains agile particularly around town, and fuel efficient especially with the CVT, which enables it to “sip fuel like a small car.” In terms of practicality, the XV Crosstrek is one of the most usable small crossovers thanks to its roomy in interior, which has enough space for adult passengers in the front and rear seats, and up to 51.9 cubic feet of cargo volume. However, the powertrain’s lack of power means acceleration is leisurely, making it slower than competitors with more powerful engines.

You’ll Like

  • Roomy interior in both models
  • Good off-road capability
  • Carlike on-road driving dynamics

You Won’t Like

  • Hybrid model isn’t that much more fuel efficient
  • Weak powertrains
  • Expensive top of the line models

Key Competitors

  • Nissan Juke
  • Fiat 500X
  • Mazda CX-3
  • Honda HR-V
  • Chevrolet Trax


3 star


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