Love the versatility of an SUV but hate the extra bulk that comes with it? That's why the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek crossover is generating a lot of buzz these days. Big utility vehicles just don't fit many modern lifestyles, but plenty of folks would love to have an SUV's elevated ride and generous cargo capacity in a compact package. Because the XV Crosstrek is based on the pint-sized Impreza hatchback, it really does give you the best of both worlds. Here are five reasons to become an XV Crosstrek convert.

Commanding Height

The XV Crosstrek is roughly 5 inches taller than the Impreza, and that's a significant margin. For example, it's the difference between plopping down into the driver's seat, like you do in the Impreza, and sliding sideways onto the XV Crosstrek's seat like a barstool. That's just more comfortable on a daily basis, and the extra height also gives you increased confidence on the road. When you're mixing it up with cargo vans and full-size SUVs, a compact hatchback can feel pretty insignificant, but the XV Crosstrek puts you at eye-level with those behemoths for peace of mind.

Great Fuel Economy

If you're familiar with all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicles, you know that they tend to guzzle gas relative to their 2-wheel-drive counterparts. The XV Crosstrek is changing all that. If you opt for the continuously variable automatic transmission, the Crosstrek returns 25 miles per gallon in the city and an awesome 33 mpg on the highway. The typical AWD crossover, meanwhile, struggles to get 25 mpg hwy.

Top-Notch Tech

Subaru used to give you just the facts in terms of technology, but the XV Crosstrek is a turning point. Even the base model comes standard with a nice-sounding 6-speaker stereo that includes iPod/USB connectivity and Bluetooth streaming audio. And if you don't mind paying a premium, you can add a 4.3-in LCD screen with a rearview camera or even a navigation system with a 6.1-in touchscreen.

Versatility to Spare

Given the XV Crosstrek's compact dimensions, you might be worried that it's not large enough for serious hauling duty. But as it turns out, there's a healthy 22.9 cu ft. of space behind the rear seats, which is more than you get in any sedan's trunk, and is also about 5 cubes clear of the new Porsche Macan. Folding down the rear seatbacks opens up 51.9 cu ft. of maximum space, which is close to real crossover territory. Chances are you'll never need more room than the XV Crosstrek provides.

Better Off-Road

Most crossovers never leave the beaten path, but Subaru drivers are a different breed. Accordingly, the XV Crosstrek boasts a generous 8.7-in ground clearance, which matches Subaru's bulkier, heavier Forester. So if you want to take the gnarly route, the Crosstrek has you covered. And even in normal driving, the sure-footed AWD system and high ride make the Crosstrek a great year-round solution.

AutoTrader Says

With a starting price well under $25,000, the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek is a genuine bargain. If you like the sound of crossover capability in a compact wrapper, give this Subaru a shot.

Find a Subaru XV Crosstrek for sale

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Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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