First Drive: 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid

Image Spoiler alert: It was awesome. Big Impression, Small Footprint Subaru never fails to deliver fun, reliable vehicles that go the distance on any road – or no road at all. So it was with great enthusiasm that I accepted an invitation to the Subaru 2014 XV Crosstrek Hybrid event In Key West. True to the Subaru brand, the first-ever hybrid Subaru delivers versatility and utility in a sporty package that is hella fun to drive. Touted as the first hybrid all-wheel-drive crossover, its powertrain uses a 2.0-liter Subaru BOXER engine and integrates an electric motor into a continuously variable transmission optimized for efficiency. Image The 2014 XV Crosstrek Hybrid achieves an EPA-estimated mileage of 29 city and estimated 33 highway. That’s a great thing for Subaru owners with a passion for adventure and a soft spot for the environment. It’s designed to accommodate all the activities Subaru owners love with go-anywhere and bring-all-your-stuff aptitude. Whether you’re transporting a paddleboard in the roomy cargo area or strapping a kayak on the roof – this Subaru hybrid oozes capability. Image In Key West, our small group of road warriors enjoyed an eco-kayak tour through exotic mangrove tunnels. Off the Beaten Path For me, the off-road course designed especially for the XV Crosstrek Hybrid event was the highlight of the trip. A little backstory is required here. I am the ’fraidy cat who had to trade driving positions with MY MOTHER in Dubuque, Iowa, a few years back when the paved road proved too steep for my sensibilities and confidence in my non-Subaru. So yes, I was more than intimidated by the first incline on the formidable Subaru course. I elected to navigate rather than drive the first run. Image That’s me snapping photos with one hand out the window. The other hand was ferociously gripping the passenger seat. After an intense, breathless and insanely fun ride, I practically pushed my driving partner out of his seat for my turn. Oblivious to the loose gravel, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid climbed up the terrain like a billy goat on steroids. It barreled through the turns and easily traversed the rocky bumps, thanks to generous ground clearance of 8.7 inches. The ride thrilled me, and the Hybrid’s off-road performance more than proved itself. Image Count the tires touching the ground! Back on the Asphalt Our XV Crosstrek Hybrid caravan motored from Key West to Miami along the historic Overseas Highway that overlooks leftover bridges and road sections from the original railroad system built by Henry Flagler. We made a few stops along the way to enjoy scenic views and local eateries. Image More than once, I saw other drivers crane their necks to get a closer look at our vehicles. The Hybrid’s special chassis tuning delivered on its promise of enhanced handling. Avoiding one precarious traffic situation, I felt like a fighter jet pilot effortlessly maneuvering out of harm’s way. Image Creature Comforts The XV Crosstrek Hybrid carries all the standard equipment from the XV Crosstrek Premium model and adds an automatic climate control system, upgraded instrument cluster, high-grade multi-function display, body-color foldable side mirrors with integral turn signals, leather-wrapped steering wheel with silver stitching, chrome exterior door handles, Keyless Access & Start and more. The XV Crosstrek Hybrid Touring model adds a touch-screen navigation system, leather-trimmed seating and a power moonroof. The ride was quiet, comfortable and smooth. Soaking it all in – the vehicle, the views, the wide-open road – we grew silent. My driving buddy popped in a Blondie CD and cranked up the volume. Life was good on the Seven-Mile Bridge. Image A Fond Farewell After a few days behind the wheel of the rugged Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid on and off the roads, it was time to say goodbye. One thing remains clear: The XV Crosstrek Hybrid delivers an exceptional, greener driving experience for a sticker price starting at just $25,995. Combined with great gas mileage, that leaves more green in drivers’ pockets for adventures down the road. Image SPECS Body:   5-Door/5-Seat Wheelbase:   103.7 in. Length:   175.2 in. Cargo:   21.5/50.2 cu. Ft. (rear seats up/down) Weight:   3,451 lbs. Engine:   DOHC 4-cyl. 2.0-liter BOXER Horsepower:   148 @ 6,000 rpm Torque:   145 ft.-lb. @ 4,200 rpm Electric drive motor:   13.4 hp / 48 lb.-ft. Total system hp:   160 @ 6,000 rpm Total system torque:  163 @ 2,000 rpm Transmission:   Lineartronic CVT EPA mpg, city.hwy:   29/33

Categories: adventure, automotive, Cars, hybrid, SubaruTags:

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