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Old 02-02-2013, 10:22 AM   #1
HowlingMad OP
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Subaru Crosstrek

Although it's mentioned in another underpopulated comparison about small SUV's, there doesn't seem to be much in here about the Crosstrek which seems to have caught Mrs. Mads attention.


Never having owned a Subaru before I'm curious to hear others thoughts, especially on the newer models. There's a good thread on the head gasket thing, but I don't want to clutter up that thread and it seems to focus on a problem that appears to have been solved. But what are the issues with the newer Scoobys?

Mrs Mad has a second generation CRV that has been the best car either of us has ever owned with absolutely no issues, tows well, lots of room, reasonable mileage, etc, so it's a tough act to follow. But it's also 11 years old and the Crosstrek is the first car to catch her eye.


Manual transmission is a non-negotiable requirement which limits choices greatly in this country I'd be open to other vehicles with similar capabilities, provided that it has three pedals.

Based on some of the chatter in the head gasket thread I can't quite figure out exactly how the AWD works and if there is a difference between the CVT and the manual.

So, thoughts, opinions, useless uninformed nescience simply to boost a post count? Let's hear it.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:47 AM   #2
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I 'm really curious about everything from cupholders to viscous couplers, and don't want to get hung up on how off road capable this grocery getter is, but I'm not sure if the symmetrical turbo encabulator crap is just marketing or not.

In that vein, please feel free to shoot some holes in this video since its impressive, but also from a Subaru dealer. I'm no longer sure if the AWD system is the same design here vs the Crosstrek.



Although they quickly point out that comparing the Crossrek to a Land Rover is mildly comical, the video seems to present the Subaru well:
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:52 AM   #3
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Unfortunately, it's a gutless wonder.

Probably good for the Midwest and Northeast, but it will disappoint in the Mountain West.

They need to offer it with the 2.0 turbo
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:57 AM   #4
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Not very quiet or quick, but it scoots over snow

Quote:
I spent about a week with a Limited with the continuously variable transmission, followed by a Premium with the manual.

The manual allows more involvement, but there are two downsides. One is a mileage rating that’s 2 m.p.g. lower in town and 3 lower on the highway.

The other is noise. At highway speeds the engine — working hard just to maintain 70 m.p.h. — adds to the already considerable racket from the road and the wind. Life is quieter with the variable automatic, which allows the engine speed to drop considerably, reducing the racket. And the C.V.T. comes with some underhood soundproofing that isn’t in the manual. A spokesman said that soundproofing would be made available for installation on the manual Crosstrek.

Of course, you pay a price in performance for the good fuel economy. Acceleration is just acceptable, at best, with either the manual or the variable automatic. The testers at Consumer Reports clocked a C.V.T. model at a leisurely 9.7 seconds from a stop to 60 miles per hour.

While the manual shifter is slightly notchy, the C.V.T. works well. And because the transmission lets the engine operate at peak efficiency most of the time, it’s a big factor in fuel efficiency.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:00 AM   #5
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Those are great videos I had not seen before. I have a 2006 WRX and I am a Subaru believer. I've drunk the Kool Aid. My Subie is the best car I've ever owned and I can't see myself ever buying anything but another Subaru. I'd like to get the XV but my WRX is still running great and I see no reason to get rid of it.

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Old 02-02-2013, 11:06 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by gatling View Post
Those are great videos I had not seen before. I have a 2006 WRX and I am a Subaru believer. I've drunk the Kool Aid. My Subie is the best car I've ever owned and I can't see myself ever buying anything but another Subaru. I'd like to get the XV but my WRX is still running great and I see no reason to get rid of it.

Beautiful. I have the 2007 2.5i that looks like yours. Love it. Unfortunately, I think our cars represent the zenith of Subaru vehicle design. With the possible exception of the Forester, there really isn't anything in their lineup that I find interesting or attractive.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:08 AM   #7
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A few requirements from the War Department: (in no particular order)
-AWD
-Manual transmission
-ample cargo room for bicycles, camping gear ,etc (but don't need to as much as the CRV currently has)
->25mpg
-Enough sack and stopping power to pull a small trailer with two dirt bikes or one supertanker. (total ~1200 max)
-Balance of fun to drive but commutable without the maintenance issues of typical real driving cars.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowlingMad View Post
Never having owned a Subaru before I'm curious to hear others thoughts, especially on the newer models.

This car is tantamount to a jacked-up Impreza hatchback.


If you actually go off road maybe the few inches of extra ground clearance
matters, but otherwise an Impreza with conventional ride height is the car
that makes more sense in most driving scenarios because it will handle better
on most any paved road.


The all wheel drive system in a Subaru is excellent and works better than
many so-called AWD systems found in other vehicles. Unlike some vehicles
which drive the front or rear wheels only until the ABS computer detects
wheel speed differences and invokes the "AWD" system, the Subaru AWD
system is true all wheel drive, all the time, and this makes a significant
real-world difference in stability in tricky road conditions.


Subaru builds a great car. The head gasket issues are behind them, and it sounds
like you are ready to buy a new car so that should not be an issue in your case.



I prefer the lower ride height Impreza because I like to drive in a "sporty" manner,
but some folks are attracted to the added height of wannabe-SUVs like this one,
and for them Subaru makes the car you are considering. I don't think you can go
wrong if the Subaru in question has all the abilities you actually need and
all the features you want.



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Old 02-02-2013, 11:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowlingMad View Post
-Enough sack and stopping power to pull a small trailer with two dirt bikes or one supertanker. (total ~1200 max).


I'd at least test drive the WRX hatchback.

The non-STi version is what I mean.

It has significantly more power and that will make towing a breeze. It also meets
all your other requirements. Sure, the lowest-power Subaru will tow a couple
of dirt bikes, but when you need to pass on an uphill you might wish for more
power than the engine has, and that can be frustrating. I tow two dirt bikes with
a hatchback which has 140hp so I know about this firsthand, and I have often
wished for more power when towing, but rarely wished for more power otherwise.



Your list of requirements makes it obvious ( to me anyway ) that some Subaru is
the car for you, and the only question is "which Subaru". If you want to stuff
bicycles inside the vehicle, a Forester might be worth a look, but I think roof racks
for carrying bicycles make more sense than stuffing the bicycles inside a vehicle,
especially if they are mountain bikes and covered with mud.


It's hard to beat the all-around utility of a small hatchback. The hatchback body makes
a lot of things easier, like pulling into a small parking spot, or making a trip to Home
Depot when you don't want to hook up a trailer but need to carry a dozen sticks
of lumber home.



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Old 02-02-2013, 12:02 PM   #10
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I too have taken an interest in the Cross Trek. I am currently driving a Nissan Frontier and while it does a whole lot more than I actually need it to, the big downside for me is the mileage. That being said, I can't get away from a truck if it doesn't have some trailer pulling capacity. While the Cross Trek supposedly has a 1500 lb. capacity, I came from a 1st gen. Xterra prior to the Frontier and it had absolutely no guts when towing and that was with a V6 and more horsepower. It wasn't that it didn't have the grunt to pull a trailer, it was just that if you did much of your hauling on the interstate, it left you feeling like you were going 35 in a 100mph zone. Dirty looks and fist-shaking aside, you will feel like you are taking your life in your hands.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:14 PM   #11
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i've got the impreza 2012 hatch. you will NOT be able to stuff a couple bikes in there, if the cross trek is similar sized. folded seats will leave lots of room for camping gear and dogs, though. I, personally, find that the 2.0 is peppy enough for us with the CVT. we got a combined 30-32 regularly with it, and unlike others have complained, i don't see any issue with the build quality in the interior. it replaced a 2006 forester (well, replaced it as my wife's daily driver), and replaced it well. I haven't towed with that motor at all, but it seems peppier than the 2.5L in the forester, and i can tow a trailer full of wood with that no problem. I imagine that a couple dirt bikes would be no problem.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowlingMad View Post
A few requirements from the War Department: (in no particular order)
-AWD
-Manual transmission
-ample cargo room for bicycles, camping gear ,etc (but don't need to as much as the CRV currently has)
->25mpg
-Enough sack and stopping power to pull a small trailer with two dirt bikes or one supertanker. (total ~1200 max)
-Balance of fun to drive but commutable without the maintenance issues of typical real driving cars.
You might be happier with the new 2014 Forester. It's due out in March. It has a 2.5 liter engine and will get 27-30 mpg.
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:59 PM   #13
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In a similar line are the Jeep Patriot and Compass. I liked my '10 Compass enough to replace it with a '12. I had the 5 speed 2.4L AWD both times. The '10 regularly returned 27 mpg once I got through the first few oil changes. The '12 I'm topping out at 25 mpg so far but I only have 3500 miles on it so far and it is winter so there is typically some warm up time every morning. It is primarily FWD and variably engages the rear wheels as needed. It is not a "smart" system in that it has open diffs front and rear but I haven't found it lacking in any commuting conditions up here in NY near the Canadian/VT boarder. I have a hitch on it but haven't towed yet but it has more HP and more torque than my Stratus had with the same size motor and I pulled a Kendon bike trailer and 2 KLX 250's from here to NJ and back on the interstate with no problem.

A few weeks back we got hit with a nasty storm and had a total of 16" of snow dumped over 2 days and I had to pull out my landlord's plow truck when the front end let go in the neighbors drive way. He was able to push the snow back a ways and then the front drive went out on the short box Silverado. The snow was over top of the plow and he was totally buried and the wee little Compass pulled out.

The seats fold completely flat and if you get a model above the Sport (I have the Sport) you get the fold flat front seat but even without it you can fit 8' long lumber in and close the hatch.

It's not very sporty but dropping to 3rd or 4th when passing will get you by pretty quickly and about 80mph pretty easy.

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Old 02-02-2013, 05:44 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by RockyRaccoon View Post
Thanks, I had not seen this yet. It reflects today's test drive quite accurately. More on that soon.

Thanks Gatling and ItsNotTheBike for your thoughts on this so far too.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:02 PM   #15
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This is all great feedback so far, much appreciated!

Interesting note on the '14 Forester, I will look that one up.

Mr. Mad is just about to post some details on our test drive today. Off the cuff, it's really seems like a lot of car for the price. Definitely would be a lateral move from my CR-V... power and ride seem very similar. Of course there's a bit less cargo room, but that's not a deal breaker.

Despite the sexy black wheels, the heated seats and the comfy ride, I am leaning away from it because I found it too noisy at 70. I spend 2 hours a day commuting for work and find my current car to be noisy. I would really like upgrade in that area so I am back to the drawing board for now.

I should note that the XV has kick-butt braking and feels very nice to drive on narrow twisties. Relatively quiet at those speeds as well.

So, its a great little car, just a shame it's not more quiet on the highway, where I really crave it :(
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