Most auto companies have at least a hybrid or two within their line-ups, but through the 2013 model year, Subaru remains the exception. That will change come 2014, when the automaker adds the all-new XV Crosstrek Hybrid to its line. The new crossover gets some extra electricity to add efficiency, but maintains Subaru's well-established utility and all-conditions versatility.
Subaru hasn't estimated the XV Crosstrek Hybrid's fuel economy just yet, but it does call its newest model the most fuel efficient AWD crossover model in America. To establish that self-awarded title, it slid a 13.4-hp electric motor between the transmission and continuously variable transfer clutch. With current provided by the 0.6-kWh nickel-metal hydride battery pack, the electric motor can handle initial vehicle acceleration before the 2.0-liter BOXER engine takes over. It can also add power in parallel with the engine and power electric-only driving at low speeds. The battery is recharged via regenerative braking.
Outside of the motor and the 300 pounds (136 kg) of weight it brings, Subaru worked to leave everything else the same as the gas XV, including the Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system with Active Torque Split. The system sends power to four wheels at all times, adjusting torque to each wheel based on acceleration, cornering and road conditions. The hybrid also offers the same 8.7 inches (22 cm) of ground clearance as the gas model.
Changes to the hybrid model include steering and suspension tunes, an American-exclusive Active Grille Shutter that decreases air resistance, new aluminum alloy wheels, noise-reducing measures, and an engine start/stop system. With the addition of the battery under the rear floor, the XV Hybrid loses 0.7 cu ft (20 liters) of passenger space and 1.7 cu ft (48 liters) of rear cargo space. Folding rear seats open up 50.2 cu ft (1,422 liters) of cargo room.
The XV Crosstrek Hybrid distinguishes itself from the gas XV Crosstrek with a series of external badges. The Plasma Green Pearl color is exclusive to the hybrid model, and a blue-and-silver interior highlights the hybrid aspect of the car. A color infotainment display shows various vehicle information, including data about the hybrid system's energy flow.
The 2014 XV Crosstrek will hit the market in the fourth quarter of this year. Pricing has yet to be announced.