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Is 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid really that tough?

The all-new 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid is the brands first-ever hybrid model and they built it to take on the world’s toughest conditions.

When most automakers come out with a new green hybrid vehicle, they tout the fuel-sipping benefits and talk about how fuel-efficient and green the car will be. But Subaru isn’t your normal automaker. They have just launched their first-ever hybrid mode, the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid, and they took it to the coldest and most harsh place on the planet to test its toughness in extreme conditions.

Subaru of America recently took journalists to Iceland to experience the capability of the all-new 2014 XV Crosstrek Hybrid. And they put the XV Crosstrek Hybrid through some of the toughest conditions on the planet to test it out. This is what Subaru is about, touting how well their new hybrid will handle the harshest conditions in the world.

They let the journalists run the new crossover hybrid through frozen ponds, the coldest tundra, and took the vehicle up to high altitudes to test its toughness. They were near the towns of Reykjavik and Blafjaliaskali Iceland which is near the top of the world. What better place to rest the all-wheel-drive capabilities of the new crossover hybrid?

The gasoline version XV Crosstrek was launched in 2012 and is becoming a top seller for the brand. Along with the new 2014 Forester, XV has helped Subaru reach a record number of sales around the globe. It’s been popular in U.S., Australia and Canada markets. The all-new XV Crosstrek Hybrid is the next new offering and we’ll see if it is as popular as the gas model.

XV Crosstrek Hybrid offers all the capability and versatility of the gasoline XV, but adds the benefits of a hybrid powertrain, including higher fuel efficiency. The XV Crosstrek Hybrid shares the gasoline model’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and chassis capability, including 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Subaru says it will achieve 31 mpg combined fuel-mileage.

The hybrid uses a 2.0-liter Subaru Boxer engine with a 13.4-hp electric motor that’s integrated into the Lineartronic CVT. A 100.8V, 13.5kWh nickel-metal hydride battery is located under a revised rear floor area, and the engine uses and integrated starter/generator for the automatic start/stop feature. Under light acceleration, the Subaru-engineered hybrid system uses the electric motor for initial vehicle acceleration and then starts the gasoline engine once underway. The electric motor will assist acceleration in parallel with the gasoline engine, and an EV mode will operate the vehicle in certain low-speed situations. An Auto Start/Stop system shuts down the gasoline engine when the vehicle is stopped. Brake regeneration works when the car is coasting or the driver has applied the brake, recapturing kinetic energy from the turning wheels to recharge the battery.

Subaru engineers developed a new Active Grille Shutter system that helps reduce air resistance, and the air conditioning system uses a temperature and humidity sensor to optimize operation for reduced draw on engine power.

The Active Torque Split version of Symmetrical AWD provides the same function and benefits as in the XV Crosstrek gasoline model. The system adjusts the front-to-rear torque distribution in response to acceleration, cornering and road conditions. Subaru is appealing to anew generation of buyers who are active and sports enthusiasts. Subaru is touting not only the fuel economy, but more so the off-road capabilities of the new hybrid XV.

It’s a good marketing move by Subaru since they don’t really have any competition in the hybrid all-wheel-drive market. They continue to keep with their core values of providing multi-use vehicle with a “go-anywhere” attitude. It seems to be working with new younger buyers. Subaru’s sales last year were made up of close to 60 percent of buyers who had never owned a Subaru product before.

Is the all-new 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid really that tough? Many active sports enthusiasts are going to find out.


zack (not verified)    January 14, 2014 - 2:24PM

The battery capacity is 0.5 kWh, not 13.5 kWh. The power output is 13.5 kW. For reference, the Chevy Volt has a battery capacity of 16.5 kWh so a 13.5 kWh battery would be extreme overkill for a non plugin mild hybrid.

Mark McNeely (not verified)    January 18, 2014 - 2:48PM

I don't get it. I get 27 mpg in my Outback in combined driving. So what's the big deal about all of this technology and cost to get a smaller vehicle only up to 31 mpg? To be impressive, that number should be 41 mpg.

Zack (not verified)    January 19, 2014 - 9:52PM

I ended up getting the Crosstrek Hybrid and it is a mild hybrid. The hybrid is noticeably peppier with the extra low end torque it provides, so it is the power boost as well as the increase in already excellent fuel economy that I feel will drive consumers towards this car.