For those of you who didn’t pay attention in school, we remind you that evolution is slow development, while the better-known revolution is, on the contrary, a rapid change. And it is precisely in the first mentioned spirit that the successor to the XV, which expanded Subaru’s European offer already in 2011, is presented to us.

Photo: Michal Jirák

The first generation Subaru XV is actually the fourth Impreza lifted.

At first, the car seemed like a revelation, because it was de facto a lifted Impreza, which a lot of people started to like. And taste so much that this outdoor “cut” has become the main driver of the brand on the old continent. And that’s still true today, as the XV, now renamed the Crosstrek, accounts for about 40% of Subaru’s total sales volume in Europe.

And when you look at the Crosstrek, what do you see? No wild changes apart from differently shaped fenders, but rather retouches that correspond to that evolutionary development. After all, the attached photos of older generations will probably say more than Raffaello and the jay cracker put together.

Photo: Lukáš Volšicky

The spirit of the Impreza-XV was continued in subsequent generations.

Important changes to the body have occurred, however, they are not visible. The manufacturer claims to have increased the torsional rigidity of the body by 10%, improved driving stability, steering response and protection of the crew and pedestrians. And there is no reason not to trust the engineers from Japan, because at Subaru they are obsessed with safety, which of course has its cons, but we will get to that later.

But actually yes, the more astute among you may have recognized that the car has redesigned door handles, three modified windshield washers and a longer rear wiper. You might think it’s a small thing, but wait in the rain, off-road or in winter traffic.

We don’t want touchy-feely

Looking at the interior, the only thing that catches your eye at first is the central multimedia screen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto wireless connectivity and a vertically oriented touchscreen. Before you start cursing and cursing what the subs signed up for, hold back. Yes, the car has a large display, but along its edges there are classic physical buttons for controlling the main functions.

Photo: Václav Bauer

The dashboard is dominated by the central touchscreen.

This is also matched by the traditional steering wheel hung with buttons and switches, which Subaru drivers have been very familiar with for several years. The philosophy of “don’t change what works” really suits this car, so installing some hi-tech steering wheel would look as inappropriate as a Dodge Challenger Demon Widebody at a meeting of urban electric cars. So actually kudos to Subaru for not inventing bullshit.

You can’t tell from the photo, but the seats have also received advanced shaping, which are now even better for longer journeys. During the test, we took a longer route and the quality of the session was simply noticeable. And there’s also better noise reduction and less vibration, lest we forget.

Photo: Václav Bauer

Seats? A positive move forward.

Inside the rather decently spacious cabin, you will find many familiar controls, while such switches for heating the seats still remember Pohlreich with hair. The alarm clocks are also analog with a color on-board computer, the gear lever is still a classic stick, a module with USB ports and a 3.5 mm jack is conveniently attached to the dashboard…

Just a hi-tech nitpicker would criticize the car for its non-modernity and lack of progress. On the contrary, we praise it, because none of the real buyers want super-futuristic features in a Crosstrek-type car. And we really like that the car company deals with what people want, and not what the tie-dyed people from the management come up with, right?

Minus 14 mares

Again, you won’t see it, but the Crosstrek once again boasts better approach angles, a ground clearance of at least 220 mm and an improved all-wheel drive system, including the X-Mode off-road profile, which is now active even when reversing. Namely, the xv/crosstreky sub doesn’t spend all its time on city boulevards, but often its owners take them on adventures in forests, meadows and in the kingdom of snow or mud. And that’s exactly where this improved four-wheeler comes in handy.

Photo: Václav Bauer

The chassis, including the 4×4 drive, has also been improved.

As part of our first impressions, we tested a model with a flat-mounted four-cylinder 2.0-liter eboxer, which according to the manufacturer is a mild-hybrid, but in our opinion more of a hybrid model. Why the contradiction? Mild-hybrid (MHEV) is usually a technology where the electric motor only assists the internal combustion engine, but is not capable of driving the car by itself. But with Subaru, you can only drive on electricity (drive) for a limited time at low speeds, which is a feature of classic hybrids and plug-in hybrids (HEV, PHEV).

In any case, the electrified naturally aspirated two-liter is the only powertrain for the European Crosstrek, as the previously offered basic petrol sixteen-cylinder is ending. The structurally improved two-liter also lost 14 hp and 12 Nm of torque due to emissions (now 136 hp, 182 Nm), but this is not noticeable in the previously expected moderate dynamics of the car.

Photo: Václav Bauer

Subaru Crosstrek is new only with a two-liter eboxer 136 hp, 182 Nm.

In addition, when the engine is switched to S mode (modification of the engine map), the unit comes to life pleasantly, i.e. within its capabilities. You simply cannot expect a completely racing machine from a two-liter atmosphere throttled to EURO 6, which is actually not helped by the gearbox.

New in the eyes of the XV owner

We also lent the Crosstrek to our yard photographer, who has been driving a basic Subaru XV with a 1.6-liter engine since 2019, which he sometimes takes to a real marasta. Tomáš Kopečný appreciates the new chassis, which, according to him, irons out unevenness better and is more stable. He also noticed a positive difference in sound insulation and seats.

Photo: Tomáš Kopečný

The hilly Subaru XV sometimes goes into some kind of marshland.

He also liked the adaptive turning LED lights, better readable on-board computer, info system with larger pictograms, multifunction steering wheel and smooth transition from combustion to electric mode.

Improved second eyes

The transmission is once again a traditional CVT variator, which has undergone tuning again and tries to look a little more like a classic automatic. However, it doesn’t do as well as, for example, the current Outback, and in addition, the use of a CVT means another limitation/weakness in the power output.

If you want it half-heartedly, the combination of the naturally aspirated engine and the CVT means that the car simply does not go, which corresponds to the acceleration from zero to hundred in 10.8 seconds. Even the supercharged liter three-cylinder Fabia (70 kW) achieves slightly better values. But…

Photo: Václav Bauer

Shifting is handled like a traditional CVT variator.

On the one hand, the Crosstrek does not play so much on performance, because it is a genuine 4×4 crossover designed for more demanding conditions, and you will not even have to deal with higher consumption (over 8 liters), because you simply count on it for such a car. So you have to count.

On the other hand, it will reward you with solid permeability on unpaved surfaces. Give the Crosstrek decent tires and you can drive all over Lapland through and through. So why does the car have a weaker naturally aspirated engine and CVT? The answer is emissions and safety.

Photo: Václav Bauer

EyeSight has its own icon that can be seen in the on-board computer.

The variator can be tuned perfectly so that the car simply does not emit so many pollutants. A secondary factor is then fitting and matching the car, including the gearbox with EyeSight safety technology, which in itself could produce a printed publication competitive with books like “All Castles and Chateaux of the Czech Republic” or “List of Shops and Junkyards Where You Can Buy Škoda Spare Parts”.

These driver’s second eyes, which by the way come as standard, have undergone a major upgrade including almost double the range and a total of 14 functions, 7 of which are new. The duo of cameras monitors what is happening in front of the car, monitors and recognizes the surroundings, reads signs and lines, helps with evasive maneuvers and so on. In short, it is a co-pilot located behind the windshield that never sleeps after turning on the ignition.

The successor to the Subaru XV is actually such an evolutionist with a substantial improvement where it can’t be seen, but drivers will appreciate it. With the new name Crosstrek comes a car that is a bit safer, more modern, better off-road, but with the preservation of the original DNA demonstrated by the original models. And that, in our opinion, is what makes this model so popular every year, even though it’s not a fast car due to emissions and safety.

The new Crosstrek Active starts with all-wheel drive, a two-liter hybrid, CVT and EyeSight from CZK 880,000 including tax. The higher Comfort equipment costs CZK 955,000, while the top Executive costs CZK 1,020,000. Sales in the Czech Republic will then start at the end of December, just after Christmas.

Specifications Subaru Crosstrek
Motor horizontally mounted four-cylinder
Fuel gasoline N95
Displacement volume 1,995 cm3
Performance 100 kW (136 hp) at 5,600 rpm.
Torque 182 Nm 4000 rpm.
Electric motor 12.3 kW (16.7 hp), 66 Nm
Transmission automatic, CVT
Tree all four wheels
Operating weight 1 687–1 703 kg
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 10,8 s
Maximal speed 198 km/h
Consumption (combination) 7.7 l/100 km
Fuel tank volume 48 l
Wheels and tires 225/55 R18
Dimensions (length/width/height) 4 495/1 800/1 600 mm
Wheelbase 2 670 mm
Volume of the luggage compartment 315 l