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Road Test: 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

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2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek (credit: Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd.)

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek (credit: Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd.)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This week’s edition of Drivetime has us taking a spin in the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek.

You know Subaru is a pretty cool little car company and the XV Crosstrek shows you exactly why. They seem to get what the person who likes to get off the beaten path wants in a car, just as well as the family who still loves the traditional station wagon. It’s the off-the-beaten-path thinking that brings us this extremely ample off-roader.

From the outside, the compact five-door hatchback that is built off an Impreza is a bit different looking. The Impreza was all new for 2012, so the design is fresh with soft-rounded lines, not a lot of sharp angles on the body, so it flows with nice curves and good visibility. The Crosstrek gets a different front bumper and body cladding that offsets the raising of the body with about eight inches of ground clearance. The car has been raised with the intention of making it actually able to go off-road, instead of dreaming about it. Special wheels, black with steel insets, look awesome and really give the car a sportier look.

Inside, the XV is comfortable. No one is going to mistake it for a  luxury crossover, but who wears their tuxedo on a hike? Seats are well positioned, materials of good quality and gauges simple and readable. Controls all seem to be easy to use, nav and Bluetooth easy to figure out. The nav system seems a bit aftermarkety like it was slapped in as an afterthought, but it still gets you where you want to go. There is also a lot of room getting in and out of the front seats. Fold down rear seats will provide a fairly large cargo area that comes with a washable rear mat if you get your XV all muddied up. A roof rack is standard as well with the up packages. Nice touch.

The XV gets the tried and tested four-cylinder boxer engine that is fairly bulletproof. While it’s not going to knock your socks off with acceleration, especially with the CVT, it still gets the job done. You might find yourself working the gears a bit with the steering wheel mounted paddles. The 148 horses and 145 pound feet of torque quickly remind you that those paddles are not connected to a sports car, but a good athletic hatchback. It also has a 1,500 pound towing capacity, rare in this type of vehicle.

Subaru has announced that it will also introduce a XV Crosstrek Hybrid, which ought to be a huge hit.

Handling can be a bit squirrely at high winds in an empty car as it does sit higher, but otherwise it might be the best handling Subie that doesn’t have a WRX or a BRZ attached to its name. Solid through the curves and very connected to the road, it gives you a car-like driving experience in a car that handles the off-road life after it rolls out of the showroom!

The XV Crosstrek that I drove was the Limited with sunroof and nav, stickered at $27,290. It gets a 2013 Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Mileage figures come in at 25 city/33 highway according to Subaru.

The XV Crosstrek should be called an AUV for Active Utility Vehicle. If you live an active lifestyle and want a car-like vehicle that can handle a bit of the off-road life, the XV Crosstrek fits the bill. It will get you to that mountaintop campsite with a couple of bikes strapped to the roof, then wash up real nice and look elegant as you pull up to the fancy restaurant on date night. It’s also a pretty good car to take to Costco, fill up with paper towels and a side of beef, and get you back home in any kind of weather, even if you never get to that mountaintop.

For more information on the  2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek, visit http://www.subaru.com/vehicles/xv-crosstrek/index.html.

Get more reviews, news about cars and the people who drive them, interviews and tips on how to get more out of your driving experience all on Drivetime with Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte Saturday mornings 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA. Also listen to Vinnie on The Vinnie and Cook Show Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan. Follow Drivetime on Twitter @dttweet and on Facebook at Facebook.com/DriveTimeRadioandTV. Follow Vinnie @nyvinnie.

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