The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid is the model’s second try at a hybrid crossover. The primary iteration by no means offered notably nicely, so Subaru took a distinct method this time round, using plug-in know-how borrowed from Toyota. Consequently, the brand new Hybrid mannequin presents a compelling argument for the additional cash it instructions over the standard Crosstrek.

Juices flowing

An Eight.Eight-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery affords as much as 17 miles of all-electric vary, which you’ll be able to recoup after 5 hours of Degree 1 charging or after two hours on Degree 2. DC quick charging is not provided. And whereas 17 miles is not a ton of vary, that is nonetheless ample for most folk who’ve shorter commutes.

Subaru says many house owners will journey round 6,000 miles a 12 months on electrical energy alone, which represents a big power financial savings. The usual Crosstrek will get 29 miles per gallon mixed, whereas the Crosstrek Hybrid is sweet for 35 mpg mixed in hybrid mode and 90 MPGe with a completely charged battery delivering all-electric driving vary. Plus, whereas the usual Crosstrek makes use of a 16.6-gallon gasoline tank, the hybrid employs a 13.2-gallon unit. Regardless of this smaller tank, the Hybrid’s 480-mile estimated vary is simply 1 mile lower than the gas-only model.

All of the goodies

Beginning at $34,995 (plus $975 for vacation spot), the Hybrid is predicated off the top-shelf Crosstrek Restricted, so it comes fairly nicely outfitted with heated entrance seats, leather-based upholstery and an Eight-inch StarLink infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Driver-assistance options together with adaptive cruise management, collision-mitigation braking, lane-keep help, cross-traffic alert and automated excessive beams are additionally customary.

All Crosstrek Hybrids obtain a singular gray- and navy-blue inside that contributes to the cabin’s already spacious, premium feeling. The entrance seats are soft and comfy, however a scarcity of accessible lumbar adjustment might be an issue on longer highway journeys. Additionally, the rear home windows lack the auto-down and auto-up performance of the entrance home windows. That is an annoying omission for a automotive that, as examined, totals $38,470 together with vacation spot.

The Crosstrek Hybrid’s unique gray- and navy-blue inside livens up what was already a spacious and premium-feeling cabin.

Michael Shaffer/Subaru

Elective goodies on my tester embrace a sunroof, heated steering wheel, embedded navigation and an eight-speaker, Harman Kardon premium audio system that I discover to be a notable enchancment over the Crosstrek’s customary audio.

These Harman Kardon audio system are augmented by a extra serene inside backdrop that is 5 decibels quieter than the usual Crosstrek due to extra sound insulation. “Once we first put in the hybrid drivetrain within the Crosstrek, the automotive was so quiet in EV mode that wind/tire/highway noise turned apparent,” says Garrick Goh, automotive line supervisor for the Crosstrek Hybrid. “[A] aspect impact of engine operation is white-noise technology, which masks the skin world. EV mode would not have that. Therefore the required extra sound deadening.”

In observe, the Crosstrek Hybrid does a great job of quelling noise on the freeway when the engine is off. When it fires up, the signature flat-four burble sounds distant. Total, I can not say the Crosstrek Hybrid’s inside approaches luxurious ranges of tranquility, nevertheless it’s first rate for a mainstream car.

A notable downfall in contrast with the usual Crosstrek is cargo house. There’s solely 15.9 cubic ft behind the second row and 43.1 cubic ft with the rear seats folded, in comparison with 20.Eight and 55.three, respectively, for the non-hybrid mannequin. On account of all of the house the battery occupies behind the rear seats, the Crosstrek’s cargo maintain is smaller than many subcompact crossovers. The plug-in, with its 1,000-pound towing capability, additionally pulls 500 fewer kilos than the gas-only mannequin — in fact, not many people tow with the Crosstrek, so this downfall is probably going negligible.

The plug-in Crosstrek encompasses a commendably stiff chassis and well-tuned suspension, however the steering lacks precision and is devoid of really feel.

Michael Shaffer/Subaru

Demure on-road

Hold a lightweight foot on the throttle and you may rise up to 65 miles per hour in electric-only mode. A heavier foot and speeds increased than 65 mph will make the plug-in Crosstrek function as a traditional hybrid. If you wish to save the all-electric vary for later, have interaction the battery save mode that locks the Crosstrek Hybrid out of full-EV operation. There’s additionally a battery cost mode you should utilize to cost the battery whereas driving. Over the course of 60 to 90 minutes, cost mode will burn an additional gallon of gasoline to fill the depleted battery to 80 % or about 13 miles of EV vary.

Tooling round city in EV mode is a pleasing expertise. There’s a man-made, pedestrian-alerting whirr, and I truly discover it a enjoyable accompaniment to the otherwise-silent motoring.

This Subaru is a straightforward, high-riding commuter. With 148 horsepower of complete system output and the moment 149 pound-feet of torque from simply the electrical motor, its acceleration is nothing to write down dwelling about. To the Crosstrek Hybrid’s credit score, although, it is a couple of second faster to 60 miles per hour than its gasoline-only counterpart, which takes about 10 seconds to get to 60.

Meandering alongside Santa Barbara’s Freeway 154, I study that mountainous sweepers will not be the high-riding hybrid’s forte. Elevated speeds uncover a scarcity of directness within the steering. I typically must dial in some mid-curve corrections to trace an correct line. It is also unlucky that the steering lacks even a whisper of suggestions. In tighter sections of highway, nevertheless, the place my inputs are extra deliberate, the steering’s lack of precision and really feel is much less of a difficulty because the Crosstrek Hybrid’s barely stiffer chassis begins to take heart stage. Sort out a nook rapidly and you may really feel the braking drive on the within entrance wheel lending a hand to maintain you protected; this brake-based, front-axle torque vectoring is provided on all Crosstreks.

The Crosstrek Hybrid can obtain as much as 35 mpg mixed as a hybrid, or as much as 90 MPGe in EV mode.

Michael Shaffer/Subaru

Dynamically, I am in the end a fan of the Crosstrek Hybrid’s suspension. At over three,700 kilos, the plug-in is about 500 kilos heavier than the standard Crosstrek, necessitating some suspension tweaks. But regardless of its further weight, the Crosstrek Hybrid displays minimal physique roll whereas providing the kind of trip that retains bumpiness at bay. In the event you’re touring over a rutted part of tarmac, you recognize it is there, nevertheless it by no means appears to upset the Crosstrek or your backbone.

Additionally due to the added weight, Subaru has upgraded the Crosstrek Hybrid’s brakes to vented discs out again, in contrast with strong discs for the usual mannequin. Below braking, it is principally the regen — not the brake pads — slowing you down. Some hybrids exhibit touchiness with their regenerative braking, however the plug-in Crosstrek has next-to-seamless stopping really feel no matter pedal strain.

Electrifying off-road

The plug-in powertrain would not hinder any of the Crosstrek’s off-road capability, as this electrified model retains the usual mannequin’s beneficiant Eight.7 inches of floor clearance. As quickly because the pavement ends, I hit the X-Mode swap, which maximizes traction whereas additionally incorporating hill-descent management at speeds beneath 12 mph.

Prompt electrical torque is remarkably satisfying off-road. Over bigger obstacles that decision for heavier throttle, the two.Zero-liter, flat-four-cylinder gasoline engine will kick in, nevertheless it by no means must rev excessive to ship torque as a result of the electrical motors have that coated all the best way from Zero rpm. Consequently, the PHEV system makes the Crosstrek Hybrid really feel extra assured off-road than its typical counterpart, and you may be extra gradual with throttle functions, given the moment EV energy.

This electrified Crosstrek feels extra at dwelling on unpaved roads.

Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Is it value the additional cash?

The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid’s $34,995 MSRP represents a hefty $7,800 worth premium above the top-level, gas-only Crosstrek 2.0i Restricted, at $27,195. How a lot your gasoline financial savings will counteract the Hybrid’s markedly increased MSRP will differ relying on the way you drive and the size of your commute. Extra importantly, that $7,800 premium might be lowered after accounting for the $four,500 federal tax credit score, to not point out different native and state incentives. In California, for instance, when all out there credit are factored in, the Hybrid’s premium might be lowered to as little as $1,800.

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid goes on sale nearer to the top of 2018 and will likely be out there in 10 states that adjust to California emissions at first, whereas probably increasing to different states after that. Prospects within the different 40 states the place the Crosstrek isn’t but out there in dealerships, nevertheless, will be capable to specifically get them organized at taking part retailers.

In the end, the Crosstrek Hybrid is a smidge faster, simply as succesful off-road and considerably extra environment friendly, albeit much less spacious for cargo than the gas-only Crosstrek. The additional worth premium is certainly one thing to contemplate, however in most key areas, the plug-in powertrain solely makes the already-good Crosstrek even higher.

Editors’ word: Journey prices associated to this function have been coated by the producer. That is frequent within the auto trade, as it’s miles extra economical to ship journalists to vehicles than to ship vehicles to journalists. Whereas Roadshow accepts multi-day car loans from producers with the intention to present scored editorial critiques, all scored car critiques are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases.

The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial workforce are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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