Editor’s note: If you’re looking for information on a newer Subaru Crosstrek, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Review.
Based on the popular Impreza 5-door wagon, the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek employs the Outback theory of improvement. The formula is simple: Take one standard all-wheel-drive Subaru car, lift it 8.7 inches, adorn it with body cladding and racy wheels and finish it with unique paint and interior trim. Rather than making this vehicle part of the Impreza family, however, Subaru has created a new nameplate, a strategy that appears to have paid off big in the past. See the 2015 Subaru Crosstrek models for sale near you
What’s New for 2015?
For 2015, the XV Crosstrek receives a new base 2.0i trim and a revised center stack with a new 6.2-in touch display. Limited trims receive Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system with a 7-in touch display, thicker windshield glass and welcome lighting. Premium and Limited models can also be equipped with Subaru’s EyeSight collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control system.
What We Like
Cool styling; lots of ground clearance for when the snow gets deep; good fuel economy; well-equipped base models; available with EyeSight collision avoidance system
What We Don’t
Not much power under the hood; hybrid fuel economy not much better than gasoline model; no power driver’s seat option; satellite radio only available with 7-in audio upgrade
The XV Crosstrek is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine. (Instead of pistons moving up and down inside an engine, flip that image 90 degrees and imagine them moving side to side.) This engine develops 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. When the XV Crosstrek is equipped with the standard 5-speed manual, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy ratings stand at 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The CVT automatic ups those figures considerably to 26 mpg city/34 mpg hwy.
The Hybrid trim uses the same 2.0-liter engine but adds an electric motor between the engine and transmission. The electric assist adds another 13 hp and 18 lb-ft of torque, bringing the Hybrid’s total output to 160 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy improves as well, earning an EPA-estimated 30 mpg city/34 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek comes in five trims: 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Limited, Hybrid and Hybrid Touring.
The 2.0i ($22,445) includes a 5-speed manual transmission, power function for the windows, door locks and mirrors, AM/FM/CD stereo, USB/iPod connectivity, Bluetooth with music streaming, a rear backup camera, steering wheel audio controls, 17-in alloy wheels, rear wiper/washer, cruise control, air-conditioning and a tilt-telescopic steering column.
The 2.0i Premium ($23,145) adds the Cold Weather package (heated front seats, heated mirrors and windshield de-icer), fog lights, two additional speakers (for a total of six), a rear cargo cover, a sliding center armrest and a lighted ignition key ring.
The 2.0i Limited ($25,645) adds the CVT automatic transmission, leather seating, automatic climate control, upgraded audio with a 7-in display screen, SiriusXM satellite and HD radio, auto on/off headlights, a sound insulation windshield, welcome lighting, exterior mirrors with turn signals and a rear-seat center armrest with cup holders.
The Hybrid ($26,845) includes keyless entry with a push-button start, automatic climate control, cloth seats and unique wheels and color choices. The standard Hybrid Touring ($30,145) includes all of the Limited’s standard and optional equipment.
Options for the Premium trim with the CVT automatic include the EyeSight and Starlink package (EyeSight collision avoidance system, adaptive cruise control, steering responsive fog lights and upgraded 7-in audio display) and a power moonroof.
The Limited can be equipped with EyeSight, navigation, a power moonroof and keyless access with a push-button start.
The XV Crosstrek comes standard with an antilock braking system, electronic traction and stability control and electronic brake assist. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Crosstrek an overall 5-star rating; it earned four out of five stars in the front crash test, five in the side-impact test and four in the rollover test. The XV Crosstrek also ranks at the top of its class in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests and was chosen as a Top Safety Pick.
Behind the Wheel
Since power goes to all four wheels all the time, there’s a stability to the XV Crosstrek that rivals the Swiss currency. Admittedly, the engine never taxes it, but the chassis has a talent that can deal with canyon roads and dirt tracks. It’s controlled, composed and still fairly comfortable.
Ground clearance is 8.7 in, which is pretty good and comes into its own when mud and ruts replace paved roads. But because of that flat 4-cylinder engine, the XV Crosstrek’s center of gravity is still the best in its class. A low center of gravity helps with that feeling of stability and brings a liveliness to the ride.
Mention the letters CVT to a driving enthusiast and expect a tirade about slow responses and drivetrain drone. Put that same enthusiast in the business seat of an XV Crosstrek and watch those words being eaten. There is no advantage to having the manual transmission. Even if there’s an itch to select the occasional gear oneself, this setup includes steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles for clicking through six preprogrammed virtual ratios.
The drive isn’t without its negatives, though. As well as the aforementioned lack of oomph, there’s a sense of detachment to the controls — numb steering (though nicely weighted) and a numb accelerator pedal — plus some road noise coming into the cabin.
Other Cars to Consider
2015 Kia Sportage — This latest generation of Sportage is already a hit, thanks to smart styling, generous equipment levels and decent pricing. There’s also a turbo version.
2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport — Somewhat underappreciated, the Outlander Sport has clean lines, better audio and navigation systems and comparable standard equipment to the XV Crosstrek.
Used Subaru Outback — a 2010-2014 Outback will give you all of the year-round traction and good fuel economy of the Crosstrek but with much more interior room.
Go for any CVT-equipped model — it will ultimately have better resale value. The entry-level model starts under $23,000 including destination charges, so checking the box marked CVT is probably within a potential customer’s budget. For the added measure of safety, we’d also recommend going for the Premium or Limited trim with EyeSight. Find a Subaru Crosstrek for sale