Consumer Reports New Cars – November 2019

(Kiana) #1

On the Road At Our Test Track

A HYBRID VERSION of the widely
sold Subaru Crosstrek is back
after a three-year absence—this
time as a plug-in version.
Subaru says this new model
can deliver 17 miles of all-
electric driving—so far, we’re
seeing about 20 miles. The
EPA estimates the Crosstrek
plug-in hybrid (PHEV) will
return about 35 mpg overall,
up from the regular model’s
29 mpg.
However, Subaru’s first
attempt at a PHEV costs thou-
sands more than a similarly
equipped standard Crosstrek.
And that’s not the only draw-
back. The addition of a battery
reduces usable cargo space,
and drivers will have to charge
it frequently to see any real
fuel savings.
The Crosstrek hybrid
delivers smooth and effortless
acceleration with electric power,
provided drivers are gentle
with the throttle. Otherwise,
the gas engine will kick in.
Once the EV miles are used
up, the SUV acts like a regular

hybrid, switching back and forth
between gas and electric power
as needed.
The ride is nicely cushioned.
Handling comes alive when the
SUV is pushed a bit in corners,
but it doesn’t feel very sporty in
everyday driving. As with
the standard Crosstrek, getting

Subaru Crosstrek Plug-In Hybrid

A plug-in hybrid version of this popular subcompact SUV comes at a hefty price.

in the front seat is very easy,
thanks to its accommodating
step-in height. The rear seat
is roomy, too.
Most of the Crosstrek’s
controls are logically designed
and well-placed, and the touch
screen is relatively easy to
navigate. Android Auto and

Apple CarPlay are available.
It has been taking 2.25 hours
to replenish the battery on a
240-volt connection. It would
take around 7 hours to charge
from a standard 120-volt
household plug.
The Crosstrek PHEV comes
standard with FCW, AEB with
pedestrian detection, BSW,
RCTW, lane departure warning,
lane keeping assist (LKA), and
adaptive cruise control.
Unlike other all-wheel-drive
hybrids, which use their electric
motors to send power to the
rear wheels only when the front
wheels slip, Subaru says the
Crosstrek Hybrid has the same
full-time all-wheel-drive setup
as the conventional Crosstrek.

The front seats are quite
basic—we haven’t liked
them for long trips—and our
$36,000 vehicle doesn’t have
adjustable lumbar support for
the driver’s seat, which we
find disappointing.
In addition, the storage area
is compromised compared
with the standard Crosstrek.
The automaker says it put the
battery under the cargo floor
instead of elsewhere in the
vehicle for the sake of ground
clearance and passenger room,
and to fit the all-wheel-drive
system. That means the hybrid
loses about a quarter of the
conventional Crosstrek’s cargo
volume behind the rear seats.
The CVT is also unimpressive;
it creates the same obtrusive
engine drone we experienced
in our regular Crosstrek.

This is a solid improvement
over Subaru’s first hybrid
effort from a few years back.
However, buyers looking to go
green will definitely have to
pony up a bunch of green and
plug in frequently to do so—
and even then, they won’t get
Toyota Prius-like fuel economy.

Model 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-In Hybrid
Price $36,895 Engine 148-hp, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
Transmission CVT Drive wheels All

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