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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Preview

Pros: Introduced last year, the Subaru XV Crosstrek has proven to be a nice addition to the Japanese manufacturer's lineup. It's safe, fun to drive, and competent both on and off the road thanks to a standard all-wheel drive system that has made Subaru famous the world over.

Cons: The manual transmission has five gears only, so there's room for improvement there. The ride isn't as smooth as one could wish for on slick pavement. Also, higher trim levels are just as expensive as the more spacious Forester.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Price: Buyers have a choice of four models including Touring at $24,495, Sport at $26,495, Limited at $28,995, and Hybrid at $29,995.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Fuel Economy: Gasoline-powered models achieve 6.7L/100km on the highway and 8.9L/100km in the city with the manual transmission, or 6.0/8.2L/100km with the optional CVT. In hybrid form, expect 6.9/6.0L/100km.

Subaru XV Crosstrek 2014
Photo: Subaru

Improvements and Changes: The biggest news for 2014 is the introduction of the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Powertrain: If the standard 148-horsepower, 2.0L 4-cylinder engine isn't enough for you, maybe you should consider the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, which adds an electric motor to generate 160 net horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission and a Lineartronic CVT appear on the menu. Of course, Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel drive system is standard fare.

Cargo Capacity: You'll find 632 litres of cargo space behind the rear seats, and 1,470 litres behind the front seats.

Safety: The 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek comes standard with ABS, brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, stability and traction control, as well as automatic headlights.

Comparing the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek: Similar SUVs and CUVs include the Jeep Patriot, Nissan Juke, Mitsubishi RVR, and MINI Cooper Countryman.