The Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, and Mazda CX-3 are coming. The Buick Encore, a pair of taller Minis, and the Nissan Juke are already here.
It’s a burgeoning segment, silly in the eyes of many, but useful for automakers who want to cash in on consumers’ desire for fuel efficiency and slightly higher driving positions, consumers who are forever interested in a little wheelarch cladding.
However, these vehicles don’t even combine to sell as often as the Honda CR-V, America’s top-selling SUV/crossover. That’s not to say they won’t. Nor are we suggesting that buyers of these vehicles would consider something as mainstream as a CR-V, Escape, or RAV4, America’s top-selling utilities.
Subaru USA didn’t sell as many Imprezas in 2013 as they did in 2012. By Subaru’s reporting methods, Impreza sales have fallen this year, as well, sliding 0.3% through the first three-quarters of 2014.
But Subaru narrowly defines the term, “Impreza.” That’s a good thing, as too many automakers don’t provide us with longed-for breakdowns in their monthly sales releases. (Examples: F-Series, Silverado, Ram, the four-bodystyle E-Class.) However, this means a cursory glance will suggest that the Impreza range is increasingly less relevant in Subaru showrooms.
In fact, that’s not the case at all. (Read More…)
Subaru’s first hybrid car won’t use the lithium-ion batteries that are now commonplace in many current alternative powertrains. Instead, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid will use nickel-metal hydride units, which were used mainly in older hybrid systems. The 2.0L boxer 4-cylinder engine is mated to a 13.4 horsepower electric motor, but the added 300 lbs of weight means fuel economy is raised only slightly, at 28/34 mpg city/highway. Meanwhile, the EPA lists the standard car at 25/33 mpg with the CVT automatic.
The favorite brand of neophyte rally hooligans and alternative lifestyle practitioners everywhere is finally going hybrid. Subaru’s first hybrid product will take the form of this mucus green XV Crosstrek shown here. Unfortunately, no details have been announced, and we’ll have to wait until next week’s New York Auto Show to find out more.
Apparently I’m a stereotypical Subaru shopper. I’m in my 30s and live on 9-acres of redwood forest in Northern California where I run a small organic egg farm. My nearest neighbor is a mile away and the closest concrete or asphalt driving surface is a 3 mile trek through the woods. During the winter I value AWD and high ground clearance, not because I need it (my 2005 Jaguar XJ has never been stuck) but like most Americans, I feel safe and secure by having a larger margin for error. I also have a special place in my heart for station wagons. It was therefore no surprise to my neighbors when I drove home one day in the Outback’s little brother, the XV Crosstrek.
Four 2013 models, the Lexus ES, the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Subaru XV Crosstrek, and the Dodge Dart received the coveted “Top Safety Pick” award by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (Read More…)