By on October 4, 2016

green subaru xv crosstrek hybrid

It may have replaced Volvo wagons and Saab 900s in the driveways of the middle to upper-middle class, but Subaru couldn’t get its growing customer base to cosy up to its lone hybrid model.

Amid slow sales, Subaru has decided to cut the Crosstrek Hybrid loose, Cars Direct reports. The slightly greener variant disappears for the 2017 model year, meaning the automaker’s lineup returns to strictly gas-only offerings.

While the hybrid model has been declared dead at the tender age of three, production of the regular Crosstrek five-door continues, allowing buyers to take their Impreza to new heights (of ground clearance).

The Crosstrek Hybrid faced a simple issue, and it was all about economy. The 13-horsepower electric motor connected to the stock 2.0-liter four-cylinder warranted a nearly $5,000 premium, and the fuel economy gain was no screaming hell. The hybrid model returned an EPA-rated 30 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, while a CVT-equipped Crosstrek returns 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.

The slight combined mileage boost (2 mpg) clearly had buyers wondering why they should bother. Subaru went to the trouble of designing the hybrid system in-house, but its engineers are probably already focused on the Next Big Thing, which likely won’t be a hybrid (unless it’s a plug-in). Crosstrek sales remain healthy, so no one’s hurting in Tokyo over the loss of the model’s deadweight brother.

A redesigned Crosstrek should arrive for the 2018 model year.

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26 Comments on “Crosstrek Hybrid DOA: Subaru Cuts an Underperformer from Its Lineup...”


  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Good to see that some companies still can react quickly and eliminate a bad idea before it becomes an embarrassment, this thing never made any sense.

  • avatar
    pdl2dmtl

    The hybrid was a classic case of “me too”. I hope next time they’ll take their time and do a better hybrid.

  • avatar
    B_C_R

    What was the endgame with this vehicle anyway? Reduced emissions? They already have a PZEV Impreza, so that’s probably not it. Was it just so they could have a hybrid badge on the liftgate?

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Five grand for a 13hp electric motor, and a 2 mpg overall fuel economy bump? Uh, no.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This was an underengineered and mostly pointless hybrid system on an otherwise decent car.

    If Subaru and Toyota could come to terms on a license of Toyota’s hybrid system componentry for use with an Atkinson-cycle boxer, both companies would make out like bandits. Much of Subaru’s core audience would pay extra for the environmental benefit of a really good hybrid. Not to mention, for the real outdoorsy types that drive a lot, the fuel savings. I know a lot of Seattleites who would love to see a 40 mpg Outback or Forester.

    • 0 avatar
      rev0lver

      Yeah. But Toyota wouldn’t want to risk it’s own hybrid sales.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I don’t think there’s a huge amount of overlap, particularly if they only licensed an Outback hybrid. The Outback is between the RAV4 and the Highlander in market positioning.

        A Forester hybrid would compete more squarely with the RAV4, but the audience for the two products is still a bit different.

  • avatar
    jimble

    The biggest advantage of the hybrid is that you get 163 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm instead of 145 at 4,200 rpm in the regular Crosstrek. That makes the car feel more responsive, especially around town (even though it’s actually slower 0-60 because of the extra weight). The gas mileage is far from spectacular but in city traffic (where I spend too much time) the hybrid does help a lot. On the down side the stop/start system judders enough to make people think your car is on its last legs. To each his own, but I like mine.

  • avatar
    DearS

    I like this wagon, just wish it had a 2.5 liter engine.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      +1

      As a long time Subaru owner, I really liked the Impreza wagon when I looked at it a while back, but the weak sauce 2.0 engine was a deal breaker for me. If they offered a hatch with the 2.5 / 6MT from the Outback, it would be a nice step between the base car and the WRX. The WRX is nice, but a bit boy racer and the sedan bodystyle makes it much less practical – for example, it is harder to throw a bike in the back of a sedan without removing the front wheel. Also, looks are subjective but to my eye the proportions on small sedans don’t look right so I find the wagon more attractive. I doubt the real world difference in fuel consumption between a 2.0 and 2.5 is material to the total ownership cost of the car.

      It probably doesn’t matter to Subaru, as I stayed in the family and got a Forester. At least here in Canada you can still get a mid level nicely equipped Outback or Forester with heated seats, sunroof, and a manual transmission. Hopefully Subaru doesn’t go to an all CVT line up by the time I’m done with the Forester…

  • avatar
    whitworth

    A lot of these “stupid” decisions from automakers are because of CAFE regulations. I can point to a whole lot of other bad decisions with respect to designing cars all for menial fuel economy gains.

    How is Subaru going to get to 54.5mpg for their average fleet without a whole lot of hybrids?

  • avatar
    wristtwist

    Can anyone tell me what happened to Alex? I liked his reviews, and I see he is still doing them on the YouTubes, but no longer here?

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    Subaru needs to do four things to improve hybrid sales:

    Increase the HP of the all-electric mode
    Lower the price differential of the hybrids (bump up the non-hybrids just a few dollars to compensate)
    Make the system run seamlessly, and put in a no-emissions feedback icon on the dash to “reward” the driver for using the most economical mode
    Promote the performance aspect as well as the fuel economy improvement.

  • avatar
    theonlydt

    Every single review of this car found fuel economy worse than the non-hybrid. So you paid a massive premium for something that cost you more money in fuel. The bhp advantage was outweighed (get it?!) by the increase in kerbweight. The extra insulation they provided it with was rolled out anyway on all CVTs.

    Subaru – what an utter piece of crap. D- . Must try harder.

    • 0 avatar
      jimble

      I’ve never seen a review that said the hybrid got worse mileage than the non-hybrid. Can you give me a citation? Admittedly all the press I’ve seen on the hybrid says there’s a modest improvement at best, but I’ve never seen anyone say it was worse. Consumer Reports saw 2 mpg better overall in the hybrid, which seems about right for real-world conditions with a mix of city and highway miles.

      • 0 avatar
        theonlydt

        Green car reviews

        autos.ca

        cars.com

        subaru and subaruxv forums

        • 0 avatar
          jimble

          Yeah, I found the Green Car and Autos.ca reviews. Both of them tested the hybrid in harsh winter weather, and it’s true, the Subie hybrid system doesn’t do well in the cold. You’ll find a lot of variance in mileage between different car reviews and factors like weather are largely responsible. I couldn’t find a cars.com review that quoted anything but EPA mileage but I’ll take your word for it. Car and Driver got 18 mpg in a press event but they were trashing the thing around the Icelandic wastelands so I’m not sure that’s very applicable to real world experience either. I’m more inclined to trust CR, which isn’t perfect but probably tests cars a bit closer to the way most people drive them.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I wonder why they don’t do a hybrid Outback. People would pay through the nose…

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Couldn’t agree with you more Kyree. I’ve wondered myself why there is no hybrid Outback or Forrester, although the heat may be on the Forrester during it’s next redesign due in 2 years since there is a hybrid RAV-4 and Rogue.

      I’d pay a $3000 premium for a hybrid Outback. Yes I know perhaps I wouldn’t save enough in gas to pay the premium, but for me the quest is to use as little gas as possible. I don’t need big badges announcing it either.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        This is what happens when a company is headquartered in one market, but makes it money in another. In Japan, C-class vehicles like the Impreza are the focus, whereas Americans like larger vehicles. A well engineered Outback hybrid could be a real hit for Subaru. But first they’d have to find production capacity.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Subaru has been pretty good of late in dropping its models that don’t sell. Sometimes a specific model’s customer base howls, as one has done ever since 2008 when Subaru dropped the manual transmission option from the Forester XT, because it_did_not_sell.

    Given the Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4 now offer hybrids, and Subaru is supposedly working on new, better hybrid systems, perhaps we’ll see a much better Subaru Hybrid before too long.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Even Subie green fans don’t want to ante up the hybrid price premium when gas is 2 bucks a gallon. They’re mostly smart folks who can do the math.

    I noticed my oft visiting UPS truck is now gasoline powered (was diesels for many years). Wonder if the over the top emission regs have made gasoline power a net cost winner for mid size delivery trucks?

  • avatar
    ldl20

    “Crosstrek sales remain healthy, so no one’s hurting in Tokyo over the loss of the model’s deadweight brother.”

    I must admit, when I read this, I thought to myself: “TTAC remains healthy, so no one’s hurting over the loss of Deadweight.”

  • avatar

    Call me jaded over the humpy mom bumpers and dismal CVT feel in eco mode (despite what others claim)… I would be a much happier man if the Hybrid and non-hybrid versions were canceled… resulting in individuals buying a stock impreza hatch.

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