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Subaru introduces XV Crosstrek Hybrid, its first production hybrid

Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Subaru of America, Inc. unveiled its first production hybrid vehicle, the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid, at the 2013 New York International Auto Show. Based on the XV Crosstrek crossover introduced for 2013, the 2014 XV Crosstrek Hybrid model arrives in Subaru dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid combines a 2.0-liter Subaru Boxer engine with a 13.4-hp electric motor integrated into the Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). A 100V, 13.5 kW nickel-metal hydride battery is located under a revised rear floor area, and the engine uses an integrated starter/generator for the automatic start/stop feature. EPA fuel economy ratings are 28 mpg/34 mpg/31 mpg (8.4, 6.9 and 7.6 l/100km) city/highway/combined.

In addition to optimizing the 2.0-liter FB-series Boxer engine to reduce internal friction, Subaru applied a number of other efficiency-enhancing technologies to the XV Crosstrek Hybrid. An Auto Start/Stop system shuts down the gasoline engine when the vehicle is stopped. Brake regeneration works when the car is coasting or the driver has applied the brake, recapturing kinetic energy from the turning wheels to recharge the battery.

Under light acceleration, the Subaru-engineered hybrid system uses the electric motor for initial vehicle acceleration and then starts the gasoline engine once underway. The electric motor can also provide motor assist for acceleration in parallel with the gasoline engine, and an EV mode will operate the vehicle in certain low-speed situations.

The XV Crosstrek Hybrid shares the gasoline model’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and chassis capability. For example, the 8.7 inches of ground clearance is the same as for the gas model and is higher than for some dedicated SUVs, while providing a low step-in height.

The Active Torque Split version of Symmetrical AWD provides the same operation and benefits as in the gasoline model. The system sends power to the four wheels all the time and adjusts the torque distribution in response to acceleration, cornering and road conditions.

With the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, Subaru re-engineered the chassis to handle the added weight of the battery system, improving handling, steering and ride. In addition to chassis changes, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid added extra sound insulation, a start/stop feature, revised HVAC, new gauge cluster, keyless start and numerous other changes.

The compact hybrid system weighs just 209 lbs. and places the electric motor just behind the transmission and in front of continuously variable transfer clutch. With the addition of all the new features, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid weighs approximately 300 lbs (136 kg) more than the gasoline engine XV Crosstrek.

All-season tires are mounted on new aluminum alloy-wheels with an aerodynamic design. Exclusive to the North American market, a new Active Grille Shutter system helps reduce air resistance. The air conditioning system uses a temperature and humidity sensor to optimize operation for reduced draw on engine power.

Subaru retuned the platform’s suspension and revised the steering ratio to give the XV Crosstrek Hybrid sharper handling responses. Numerous enhancements that help to reduce noise include thicker floor sections, under-floor covers and additional sound insulation.



a 13.5hp electric engine on a SUV is a joke,

Will S

EPA 28 mpg/34 mpg/31 mpg is quite good for such a vehicle. This would be the better direction for those 'requiring' extra traction in snow (though European drivers in the Alps were quite deft with FWD vehicles for many years.)


For boosting acceleration and regeneration 13.5hp is paltry. However for launch assist the torque is more important. The electric motor's 48lb-ft (65Nm) is not huge but perhaps not far off what the engine with peak torque of 145lb-ft can provide at low revs.

If the electric phase of launch is as strong as the subsequent engine phase, and the NiMH battery can't accept more than 13.5hp then it's a sensible size.

Might be better to say that it is a mini hybrid than a full hybrid. I'd like that a hybrid that regenerates more braking would be better but maybe a mini hybrid is the best financial choice for the mass market?

Roger Pham

I think that the 13.4-hp motor is a typographical error. Since the battery is 13.5 kW, or 18 hp, the motor should at least be 18-20 hp. 20 hp is adequate since the motor's torque is amplified by the CVT, perhaps 4-6 folds from zero-mph start, so this low-speed electric torque of the motor and transmission will be equivalent to a 100-hp motor directly coupled to the drive shaft without torque amplifcation by the transmission, like that of the Prius.


I have long thought that Subaru will be the winner when I buy my next new hybrid. I like the opposed engine design and would not even look at a vehicle without AWD.

I've yet to be convinced that this mild a hybrid is the way to go. Creative auto engineers should have been able to get 50+ mpg with this vehicle. I could do it with my eyes closed.


This is just a low cost system mild hybrid, similar performance to GM's eAssist.
You need a Prius-like vehicle to get 50mpg.. sleek, low frontal area, low ground clearance, narrow tires etc.. perhaps you are thinking of a plug-in hybrid?.. those are a different story.


What I am thinking of is this vehicle weighing about a thousand pounds less. Auto makers have just about squeezed all the mpg they are going to get from conventional ICEs. We need fresh thinking and innovation. We don't need to be hauling around all that excessive iron and steel. Cars can, and should be, built tough and strong and much lighter.

We are going to have to do it sooner or later. I vote for sooner.


Well said Lucas. Who needs a 4000+ lbs car?

Strong, rustless, re-enforced light weight composites (Plastics + NCCs or + Graphene) bodies and/or major components could be built with 3D printers on a 24/7 basis?

Steel and Oil lobbies will not buy it nor will all associated businesses around the current ICEVs?

Resistance to change will be mustered by you know who?


I omitted something in my last rant.

Aluminium is not a good metal for major structure in autos. It's ok for the small stuff like rearview mirror brackets, etc.

I costs too much for what it does. (Poorly)

Surely we can do much better with honeycomb sandwiches.

Of course, better Aluminium than Iron but there must be an original thinker out there that has found a better way.


The thinking was done decades ago with the aluminum space frame and polymer panels. That takes 600 pounds off of a 3000 pound vehicle. It is still crash safe and handles much better.


If we are going to do creative and innovative thinking, let's not think about what we have already done. Certainly we can think of new and better ways to do all of that.

What thinking really needs to be done is about things nobody has thought of yet. Is anyone really thinking of materials that are exceptionally strong and also light? Certainly carbon composites looks like it can be useful, but anyone who has worked with it can name you a host of negatives. Like Hydrogen it is expensive and difficult to work with.

What else is out there waiting for someone to think of it? Maybe we can print everything that if fixed, like the shell, as Harvey said above. That would be an interesting new approach. Put the printed body on the assembly line and add all the moving parts. I'll bet you could come up with totally new materials. structures and designs nobody has even thought of yet.

Let's go down that road.

Trevor Carlson

Innovative ideas suggested above must first be proven in a manufacturing environment and be cost competitive when scaled to volume production.

Oil and Steel lobbies are not so powerful that they overcome prudent economic decisions. Innovative and new ways of doing things carry unknown risks with unknown costs. That is not acceptable for volume production.

As 3D printing and other new materials becomes more and more mainstream and proven, designs utilizing those technologies will be incorporated into volume production if the investments will pay-off relative to current technology.

Example: LED lighting - it's a great weight saver and provides a premium look. (lower housing weight, no ballast required and lower power loads enables more power for other things like heated/cooled power seats and touch-screens) There were performance limitations for years but advances have enabled their integration into high-end luxury vehicles. They are even trickling down to mass production vehicles in some cases as an option in the top trim levels.

Trevor Carlson

The new conventional RAV4 gets a competitive 22 city/29 hwy and 24 MPG combined for the AWD version.

When the RAV4 hybrid comes out it will probably get 39/32 for the AWD version and 41/32 for the FWD only based on interpolating between the new Highlander and the Camry Hybrid drivetrain numbers.

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