by Roger Biermann
The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid is a subcompact crossover with an attitude. For 2019 the Crosstrek gets a few tech and safety updates, and small changes to its look and feel. The hybrid produces a total output at 148 horsepower, four less than the gas-powered version, but manages to sprint to 60 mph a full second faster. The Crosstrek Hybrid's funky interior, nippy acceleration, standard all-wheel drive, and intuitive infotainment system are impressive, but a lack of cargo space, uncompetitive efficiency ratings, and high asking price let it down. Competition comes in the form of the 2019 Nissan Rogue Hybrid, Kia Niro, and Toyota's RAV4 Hybrid.
The second-generation Crosstrek Hybrid now features plug-in charging so you can power up anywhere with a standard outlet. This is made easier with the all-new charge finder app that allows you to pinpoint charging spots. All-wheel drive and a respectable 8.7 inches of ground clearance make it one of the first subcompact crossover hybrids that can actually go off-road and not get stuck at the first hint of mud.
The 2019 Hybrid looks the part with big flared wheel arches, side skirts, and a beefy looking front end. The optional 18-inch wheels give it extra street cred. The 2019 model gets a nifty roof spoiler, blacked-out folding mirrors and raised roof rails that beg for a mountain bike or two.
Curb weight for the hybrid is 3,757 pounds, 613 pounds heavier than the base 2.0i manual Crosstrek. The Crosstrek is based on the Subaru Impreza hatch, so dimensions are comparable; length, width, and height are 175.8 /71.0/63.6 inches (with roof rails). Ground clearance is a respectable 8.7 inches, and the wheelbase measures 104.9 inches.
The 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid comes equipped with a 2.0-liter boxer engine producing 137 hp and 134 lb-ft of torque. This is supplemented by a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor for an estimated total of 148 hp. All of this is coupled to a Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) which gives it a 0-60 mph time in the high eights. It must be said that the CVT gearbox can be a bit clumsy at times. The Crosstrek Hybrid performs well around town as well as pulling off overtaking maneuvers, with the low down torque of the electric motor giving the Crosstrek some much-needed grunt.
Thanks to permanent all-wheel drive, the Crosstrek Hybrid feels planted and sure-footed on the road. Slightly softer springs and damping over the previous generation gives it a supple ride that remains composed, and the 8.7-inch ground clearance doesn't make it feel top-heavy.
Subaru's X-MODE optimizes engine outputs, fixes the transmission ratio, increases all-wheel-drive system engagement, and uses enhanced control of the VDC system to reduce individual wheel spin, providing optimal traction on low friction surfaces. What does this all mean? The Crosstrek Hybrid will surprise even hardened off-roaders with how capable it is off the beaten path.
The Crosstrek Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient in the Crosstrek line up. Fully charged, Subaru claims the hybrid can provide 17 miles of EV range at speeds up to 65 mph. The result is a 90-MPGe estimate from the EPA. Once the juice runs out, the Crosstrek is rated at 35 mpg combined, an improvement of 6 mpg over the nonhybrid model. Permanent all-wheel drive, however, takes its toll and explains why the Crosstrek is so far behind the 46-mpg rating of the front-drive plug-in Kia Niro. The Crosstrek Hybrid is happy unleaded 87 octane gas and has a fuel tank capacity of 13.2 gallons.
The hybrid will seat five people rather comfortably. Front legroom and headspace are good for a subcompact. Front and rear headroom is 39.8/38 inches and legroom comes in at 56.7/55.6 inches, while shoulder room is ample at 56.7/55.6 inches. The Crosstrek's slanting roof limits rear headspace for taller passengers, especially when fitted with the optional tilt/slide moonroof.
The Crosstrek Hybrid is no cargo ship but offers a decent amount of cargo space seeing as it's based on a hatch design. Trunk space measures in at 20.8 cubic feet, and offers enough space for a weekend getaway for two. With the 60/40 split seats folded down, the Crosstrek really opens up and more than doubles its cargo space, even though the back seats don't completely fold down, leaving a hump at the folding point. Additional storage space can be found throughout the car. A center console with storage tray sits upfront, alongside a lockable glove box. Handy additions such as grocery bag and tie-down hooks and an optional rear cargo tray help the Crosstrek make up for its relatively diminutive size.
The Crosstrek Hybrid comes with all the bells and whistles available. The chassis comes with electric power-assisted rack and pinion steering, a brake override system and cool looking 18-inch wheels. LED steering responsive headlights and a set of fog lights make sure you can navigate through the gloom. On the inside, the Hybrid gets the full treatment. Heated front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and accented seats make you feel right at home. Behind the steering wheel, a multifunction color display tells you everything you need to know. Keyless entry and push-button start, electronic cruise control, and dual cupholders make the journey more comfortable.
For 2019 the Crosstrek Hybrid comes standard with a Subaru Starlink 8.0-inch Multimedia Plus system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Pandora, and Aha smartphone app integration. Starlink cloud-based applications include Yelp, iHeart Radio, and Magellan navigation, while other goodies include SiriusXM all-access radio and travel link, high-resolution LCD multi-touch-gesture display, AM/FM/CD player, HD Radio, dual USB port/iPod control, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free phone and text messaging connectivity, and 3.5-mm auxiliary jack, all playing through a six-speaker system. 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability turns the Crosstrek Hybrid into a portable internet cafe, and the optional Harman Kardon audio system will make you a neighborhood favorite.
The 2019 Crosstrek has been affected by one recall due to a malfunctioning connector in the power steering system that could lead to a short and the loss of power steering. According to Subaru America, none of the affected cars have been sold to the public, and vehicles would be inspected and repaired by dealerships before hitting the showroom floor.
The 2019 model earned an IIHS Top Safety Plus award, and achieved a superior score for front crash prevention, along with a good rating for side-impact, rear crash protection and roof strength amongst others. Similarly, a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA clearly shows that Subaru has taken care to build a car that is safer than the mountain bike it's carrying on its roof.
The Crosstrek is already an accomplished small city crossover that's perfect for navigating the urban jungle, but with the addition of a hybrid system, the Crosstrek starts to make even more sense for those looking for a practical city runabout that can also be used for weekend getaways closer to home. The Hybrid adds some welcomed diversity to the Crosstrek lineup and adds to its versatility and performance. If you're looking for a subcompact crossover with decent gas mileage and actual offroad credentials, the Crosstrek Hybrid should be on your list.
The Crosstrek Hybrid is the most expensive model in the lineup and starts at an MSRP of $34,995 excluding tax, licensing, registration and a $975 destination fee. Dealerships are responsible for their own pricing, so you may be able to find a great deal if you're willing to look.
2.0-liter Flat 4 Plug-in Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
The Hybrid comes with a limited number of optional extras, keeping in mind that it gets all the features found on the top of the line Limited trim. Some interesting optional extras include the $570 Rockford Fosgate sound system upgrade and the moonroof. The Hybrid would be the perfect choice for urbanites who do a lot of city driving, and the electric power will not only save fuel but will give owners some extra low down torque.
Subaru prides itself on building adventure-hungry SUV's that are equal parts happy on and off the road. This characteristic runs through Subaru's entire range, bar a few models, and thus makes it necessary to compare the Crosstrek Hybrid with its bigger siblings. The Outback is clearly a larger car. The Crosstrek, which is based on the Impreza hatch doesn't pretend to be a big car, while one of the main attractions of the Outback is its extra cargo space. The Crosstrek Hybrid is the more efficient car thanks in part to its electric powertrain setup and more frugal gas-powered engine. The Outback greets you with a more mature interior and extra options. Subaru has made a clear distinction between the two in terms of targeting a younger crowd for the Crosstrek, and more family orientated buyers for the Outback.
The equally priced 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited AWD costs $35,850 and represents the top of the RAV4 Hybrid pile. The Toyota makes use of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a hybrid drive system and a CVT auto gearbox and pushes out a combined 219 hp. The RAV4 is more fuel-efficient, getting 40 miles to the gallon, despite being heavier and more powerful than the Crosstrek. Both cars share similar interior space, but the RAV4 boasts superior cargo space. It also gets more infotainment and tech features as standard as well as standard rear pre-collision and parking assistance. The RAV4 should be the choice for larger families.