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miércoles, septiembre 27, 2023
HomeSports-Cars2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid S video review

2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid S video review

Subaru’s small SUV – now known as the Crosstrek – is as solid-feeling as ever. However, it’s let down by recent price rises and an unimpressive hybrid powertrain.


What we love
  • Well packaged and quality-feeling interior
  • Permanent all-wheel drive is beneficial on-road and off-road
  • Off-road bent helps in urban ride quality

What we don’t
  • It’s not a very good hybrid
  • Space-saver spare and smaller fuel tank on hybrid models
  • Not as good value as it used to be

2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid S

SUV? Tick. Hybrid? Tick. All-wheel drive with off-road ability? Look at all of that cladding!

In terms of popularity and demand, the Subaru Crosstrek ticks a lot of boxes that seem to stand tall in the zeitgeist of Australian buyers. And commensurably, there’s currently a waiting list for a hybrid Subaru Crosstrek.

However, there is a problem with this car that needs to be interrogated. Although there are good levels of safety, comfort and convenience wrapped up in a well made and nicely presented small SUV, the hybrid powertrain isn’t so good. It’s smooth and nice enough to drive, but it lacks two important elements: oomph and economy.

How much does the Subaru Crosstrek cost in Australia?

This less glowing assessment probably isn’t helped by the fact that we’ve got the most expensive Crosstrek variant here, with a before on-roads asking price of $45,090. According to Subaru’s online pricing calculator, you’re looking at around $50,000 in the traffic for a hybrid Crosstrek S like we have here.

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The cheapest variant in the range costs $34,990 plus on-road costs, doesn’t get the hybrid powertrain, and still gets some decent equipment like a big infotainment display, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a proximity key with push-button start.

The Crosstrek in S specification picks up leather-accented interior trim, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, sunroof and native navigation, and costs $6500 more than the R spec (when comparing petrol models). The two specs share things like heated front seats with 10-way electric adjustment, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a 360-degree camera system, 18-inch alloy wheels, self-levelling LED headlights and automatic high beams.

Hybrid models are available in base L or top-spec S trim only, and the premium for moving from petrol to hybrid represents a $3600 step up.

Key details 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid S
Price $45,090 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Oasis Blue
Price as tested $45,090 plus on-road costs
Drive-away price $50,120 (Sydney)
Rivals Kia Niro | Honda HR-V | Toyota Corolla Cross

How much space does the Subaru Crosstrek have inside?

There is a good sense of quality in this Crosstrek in terms of materials and build sturdiness. This is an important thing to get right for a small SUV asking for $45,000 in this spec level, but I think it delivers pretty well. The layout is mostly regular, with twin cupholders, a good-sized glovebox and door cards doing storage duties.

Power outlets include a USB-A and USB-C power outlet, the latter of which can provide three amps of power. I used this to charge up a MacBook laptop on the move, which is something most other USB power outlets couldn’t handle. There’s also an auxiliary headphone jack, if you’re stilling rocking your old Discman or iPod.

The leather seats of this S model are comfortable with good levels of adjustment on offer. We took the Crosstrek on a couple of three-hour jaunts on interstate highways during our time with the car, and found it to be plenty comfortable enough over the long haul. They’re heated as well, with two different modes to choose from. Lukewarm and scalding.

The second row of the Crosstrek is good for space, and continues Subaru’s trend of offering a vehicle that sits at the higher end of the segment in terms of overall size. There is enough space in the boot for adults, and even rearward-facing child seats can be accommodated for growing families.

The middle pew, which does sit higher than the more cosseted outboard seats, is reasonably wide and was big enough for a Sam Purcell-shaped blob to squeeze into between two ISOFIX-fitted child seats. And I can say from personal experience, this isn’t always the case.

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However, not having any air vents for second-row occupants feels like a miss for a new model. The power set-up here mimics up front with a USB-A and USB-C point offered.

Its 315L of boot space is decent for the segment, and this hybrid gets a slightly larger boot in comparison to the non-hybrid model. However, herein lies the rub: there’s no spare wheel at all here. In comparison to the space-saving spare wheel in the non-hybrid, we are left with a goo kit because of the space taken up by the battery.

So if you’re planning on going off-road, this hybrid model presents as being less suitable.

2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid S
Seats Five
Boot volume 315L seats up
922L seats folded
Length 4495mm
Width 1800mm
Height 1600mm
Wheelbase 2670mm
Ground clearance 220mm

Does the Subaru Crosstrek have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

Subaru has an 11.4-inch infotainment display across the entire 2023 Crosstrek range, which is a good improvement over the previous generation. While growing in size, this infotainment system also takes on the portrait-style orientation that other Subarus have.

The upright layout is good for overall screen size and navigation in particular, but the space it occupies means physical air-conditioning controls have been muscled out.

Instead, part of the big display is used for air-conditioning controls, with some physical outboard buttons there for easy temperature controls. There are also two big twisting dials – one for volume – for easy operation on the move.

The system is good as well. It’s easy to use for the most part, and strikes a good balance of having some interesting features but also not feeling too complex.

There’s wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on offer, or the option for a wired Android connection. Apple CarPlay is wireless only. And from my experience (on the Android side at least), a wired connection is better and more reliable. There’s also AM, FM and digital radio, and S specification is the only model to get navigation and an upgraded 10-speaker sound system with a Harman Kardon amplifier.

Is the Subaru Crosstrek a safe car?

The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek, which is a new-generation model (that uses the previous-generation XV as a starting point), is yet to be crash-tested by ANCAP or its European equivalent Euro NCAP. As a result, there’s no applicable crash-test data for the new Crosstrek yet.

2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid S
ANCAP rating Untested

What safety technology does the Subaru Crosstrek have?

While the Crosstrek is yet to get an ANCAP safety rating, the level of included safety equipment is a strong point. There is autonomous emergency braking, low-speed reverse autonomous braking, lane-keep assistance and lane centering, smart adaptive cruise control with speed sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a driver monitoring system with facial recognition. 

How much does the Subaru Crosstrek cost to maintain?

Service costs for the Crosstrek are relatively high in comparison to others in the segment. Three years of servicing costs $1240, while five years crank up to a significant $2373. That works out to be $474.60 per year, which is spendier than the best in the segment.

Insuring a hybrid Subaru Crosstrek in this top S specification costs $1586.21 based on a comparative quote for a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.

At a glance 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid S
Warranty Five years, unlimited km
Eight years, 160,000km (hybrid battery warranty)
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km (whichever comes first)
Servicing costs $1240 (3 years)
$2373 (5 years)

Is the Subaru Crosstrek fuel-efficient?

It’s not terribly cheap to service, and unfortunately there isn’t much scope to reduce running costs at the bowser. This is a weak spot for the Subaru Crosstrek, especially when it espouses a hybrid electric powertrain. And it boils down to how ineffective this hybrid system is at capturing energy and saving fuel.

For example, the Toyota Corolla Cross small SUV with a hybrid powertrain has a 40 per cent larger battery (at nearly 1kWh) and runs at a higher voltage level. There’s significantly more electric power on offer as well in a hybrid Corolla Cross, with 83kW (front) and 30kW (rear) of electric power. This Crosstrek only has 12.3kW to share between front and rear wheels.

While the all-wheel-drive Corolla Cross can’t match the permanent all-wheel-drive system of this Crosstrek, it absolutely stitches up the fuel economy game. Compared to the 8.1 litres per 100 kilometres we got out of this Crosstrek (which included some big stints of highway driving), the Corolla Cross is capable of fuel consumption in the low-to-mid 5L/100km range.

And we know from testing the previous Subaru XV, which used the same powertrain, the hybrid system adds little to no efficiency benefit over straight petrol power. Clearly, the amount of hybrid power on offer (including regeneration) isn’t enough to offset the 80-odd kilogram increase in weight.

Fuel Useage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) 6.5L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 8.1L/100km
Fuel type 91-octane unleaded
Fuel tank size 48L

What is the Subaru Crosstrek like to drive?

While many deride the off-road ability of smaller crossover SUVs like this Crosstrek, with its heavy usage of black plastic cladding and increased ride height, there is a helpful benefit to driving this car around the ‘burbs on a daily basis. Ground clearance is good, and the increased ride height allows for an impressive ride quality.

It’s well balanced and in keeping with the car’s end usage: mostly town driving, but with regular jaunts onto less-maintained country roads and fire trails.

Its steering feels direct, and is weighted towards the lighter end of the spectrum. But importantly it responds nicely to inputs. In fact, the Crosstrek is a fun little car to throw around, and one’s mind quickly starts wondering how compelling this car would be with a few more herbs under the bonnet.

There is a 2.5-litre petrol engine available in the same car in the United States, for example, while Subaru Japan has a 1.8-litre turbo engine in domestic products, although not the Crosstrek yet. Food for thought…

The lack of urge isn’t helped by the hybridisation of this car. Whereas 115kW of petrol-burning power is available in the cheaper non-hybrid model, that figure has been trimmed back slightly to 110kW for the hybrid model. There is 12.3kW of electric assistance, though, and 66 additional newton-metres (helping move off the line) tops off the 196Nm available from the 2.0-litre boxer four-cylinder engine. However, there are 93 blunting kilograms to contend with.

In a nutshell, the Crosstrek feels underpowered when you get beyond the suburban streets and start plugging into the hills and onto the highways. Load up with humans and gear, and the problem starts feeling worse. The CVT automatic gearbox, which has a less droning stepped nature for less demanding driving, can yield to a shrill redlining when working hard. You do eventually get moving with some decent pace, but you’ll need a modicum of patience to get there.

The constant all-wheel-drive system – which is intrinsically different to the more commonly found on-demand system seen on other all-wheel-drive SUVs – yields benefits. While the four driven wheels don’t exactly have an oversupply of power to contend with, there’s a good feeling of sure-footedness available in the Crosstrek.

And with some good clearance (Subaru claims 220mm), the Crosstrek is a decently capable off-roader. The all-wheel-drive system gives an active split between front and rear, and can apportion torque to where it sees fit. It cannot lock in any meaningful way like a proper four-wheel drive, but the traction-control system (with some modes to choose from) does help to brake the right wheels and push torque to where it is needed.

Key details 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid S
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power 110kW @ 5800–6000rpm petrol
12.3kW electric
Torque 196Nm @ 4000rpm
66Nm electric
Drive type Permanent all-wheel drive
Transmission CVT automatic
Power-to-weight ratio 69.4kW/t
Weight (tare) 1586kg
Spare tyre type Tyre repair kit
Tow rating 1270kg braked
650kg unbraked
Turning circle 10.8m

Should I buy a Subaru Crosstrek?

The Subaru Crosstrek is an impressive vehicle, but it gets packaged up with an unimpressive hybrid powertrain. For those looking, they are best off saving $3600 and opting for the non-hybrid model. And for their trouble, they will pick up a space-saving spare wheel and larger fuel tank.

Which is a shame, because Subaru’s Crosstrek is otherwise a well-sorted small SUV. It rides well, offers good off-road ability and clearance, and has well-balanced packaging from front to rear.

The engine does feel underpowered, however, which is something electrification doesn’t fix.

Price rises that came through when this new Crosstrek replaced the XV do blunt the value appeal of Subaru’s small SUV. That means the base offering L specification, without the unnecessary expense of hybrid power, is likely to be the pick of the range.

Ratings Breakdown

2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid S Wagon

7.2/ 10

Infotainment & Connectivity

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Budget Direct

Insurance from


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Sam Purcell has been writing about cars, four-wheel driving and camping since 2013, and obsessed with anything that goes brum-brum longer than he can remember. Sam joined the team at CarAdvice/Drive as the off-road Editor in 2018, after cutting his teeth at Unsealed 4X4 and Pat Callinan’s 4X4 Adventures.

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