• Starting price under $22,000.
  • Top-trim Limited model priced under $25,000.
  • Navigation and moonroof optional on both base Premium and Limited models.

Not since the 2011 model year has Subaru offered the Impreza-based Outback Sport, a 5-door hatchback with rugged styling similar to that of the popular Outback wagons. But a new model brings back the Outback Sport's go-anywhere attitude and attractive value proposition. The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek, like the Outback Sport before it, is based on the 5-door Impreza. But the XV Crosstrek offers more ground clearance, tougher-looking styling and bigger brakes than does the Impreza. Subaru just announced pricing for the new model, which starts under $22,000.

The XV Crosstrek comes in two flavors: Premium and Limited, both with standard all-wheel drive. The base Premium model has a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $21,995. By comparison, a standard 5-door Impreza with matching Premium trim starts at $19,295. The XV Crosstrek Limited is priced at $24,495 before adding its only available options, the navigation and moonroof package. Both of those extras are also available on the Premium.

Aside from a raised suspension, the XV Crosstrek gets a more rugged look than the mainstream Impreza thanks to a distinct grille and bumpers and a roof spoiler. Cladding on the body sides and wheel arches is finished in a contrasting color, yet maintains a restrained look. The XV Crosstrek also gets standard 17-inch alloy wheels.

In addition to the off-road capability afforded by the XV Crosstrek's 8.7 inches of ground clearance, larger front brake rotors and a larger fuel tank contribute to its adventurous nature, as do a pair of roof rails to accommodate gear.

Under the hood, a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine produces 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. Two transmission choices are offered. The base Premium model gets a standard 5-speed manual or an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) that requires no inputs from the driver. The Limited model comes with the CVT, which yields slightly better fuel economy in both city and highway driving. With the manual, the XV Crosstrek is EPA-rated at 23 mpg city/30 mpg highway; the CVT returns 25/33 mpg.

While the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek has not yet arrived on dealer lots, we expect it soon. Subaru's website encourages shoppers interested in the XV Crosstrek to contact a dealer regarding availability.

What it means to you: Among compact crossovers, the Subaru XV Crosstrek offers good value along with the off-road capability of tall ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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