The 2019 Crosstrek is Subaru’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle, and it’s set to go on sale in 2019. Like all PHEVs, it has some all-electric range, and it can even cruise close to highway speeds on electricity alone. And, when its gasoline engine and electrification work in tandem, it can result in excellent fuel economy figures. Unlike many plug-in versions of regular models, the Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t really shout about what it is. There are some details that give it away, though and if one passes by in full EV mode, the lack of engine sound will also give it away. Inside it’s quite simple and minimalist, and far less extravagant to look a than any modern plug-in Toyota and Honda model. But, it does have a decent infotainment screen and the build quality does make up for its lack of design flair to a degree.

Update 12/3/2018: We’ve updated this review with new images taken at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Check them out in the gallery below!

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Exterior

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Exterior
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Upon initial inspection, the Crosstrek Hybrid looks pretty much the same as any other Crosstrek, but there are certain giveaways you can look out for to spot one.

There’s a badge on the front fenders and on the rear hatch that says “Plug-In Hybrid,” and close to the rear on the left side of the car, there’s a body-colored lid that hides the charging port - it has the words “Plug-In” embossed on it.

The design of the 18-inch wheels is also unique to it, as are the distinctive blue rings around the main beam projectors in the headlights. Then there are the silver-finished accents on the bumper and body cladding, as well as the black roof rails and rear spoiler. The last thing to set it apart is its special paint color that Subaru calls Lagoon Blue Pearl.

The current second-gen Crosstrek is a much more pleasant shape to look at than its predecessor - it no longer looks like it’s sitting a bit too tall on its suspension and there is a restrained elegance to the whole design. It also blurs the lines between hatchbacks and crossovers, as it doesn’t really look like your typical high-rider with a look that is closer to that of a conventional hatchback.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Exterior
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Its front fascia bares the trademarks of the current Subaru family face, with wide headlights and a distinctive daytime running light signature complimented by a simple grille.

From the side it definitely looks like a jacked up hatch, but it still sits well on the road, while the rear has quite a bit going on - it looks as if Subaru designers also wanted the shape of the front lights to be somehow mirrored in the shape of the rears, although, in this case, it’s not as obvious as with some other cars.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
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2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 104.9 in.
Length 175.8 in.
Width 71.0 in. (79.6 in. including mirrors)
Height 62.8 in. with roof rails
Min. road clearance 8.7 in.
Angle of approach 17.1 deg.
Angle of departure 28.6 deg.
Ramp breakover angle 19.3 deg.
Track (front/rear) 61.0/61.2 in.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Interior

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
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The design of the Crosstrek Hybrid’s interior is nothing to write home about in terms of design - it’s about as old-fashioned looking as modern automotive interiors get. It seems devoid of almost any real styling effort and is clearly designed to be functional above all.

It’s marginally better than older Subarus, but it seems to continue the tradition of being slightly behind when it comes to the latest automotive interior design trends.

To travel in, though, the Crosstrek’s interior is really good, from either the driver’s perspective or as a passenger. Space is plentiful for both rows of occupants and visibility is for the most part good, although the C-pillar does create a bit of a blind spot in some situations.

There is also nothing to complain about in terms of how the Crosstrek’s cabin is screwed together. Material quality is about average by current standards, which is about what you expect from a Subaru, as the manufacturer is not renowned for its high levels of perceived quality.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
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The Hybrid will get the 8-inch infotainment touchscreen as standard, as well as the additional display above it (which in this case won’t just show information used for off-roading, but also show hybrid powertrain details), as well as different gauges that do away with the conventional rev counter. The latter has been replaced by a power gauge that also shows when electricity is going back into the battery. The infotainment comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.

It also looks like Subaru is trying to differentiate the plug-in from other models through the use of blue elements inside, like blue bits of plastic trim on the dashboard and doors, as well as in the contrasting stitching on the seats.

The Crosstrek Hybrid has up to 43.1 cubic feet / 1,220 liters of cargo volume when the 60/40 split-folding rear seats are down.

The hybrid does lose some capacity to its non-hybrid counterparts, whose quoted cargo capacity number is 55.3 cubic feet / 1,565 liters.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
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2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Interior Dimensions

Headroom (f/r) 39.8/37.6 in. with moonroof: 37.6/37.4 in.
Legroom (f/r) 43.1/36.7 in.
Hip room (f/r) 55.1/54.0 in.
Shoulder room (f/r) 56.7/55.6 in.
EPA passenger volume 100.7 cu. ft. with moonroof: 97.4 cu. ft.
Cargo liftover height 30.7 in.
Cargo volume Rear seatbacks up/down: 15.9 cu. ft./ 43.1 cu. ft.
Max. load floor length Rear seatbacks up/down: 28.9/ 63.1 in.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Drivetrain

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
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The Crosstrek plug-in is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine which, as the official blurb points out, “uniquely integrates electric motors” (it uses two of them) for a total of 148 horsepower. Its battery pack can store 8.8 kWh of electricity, and like all Subarus, it comes with symmetrical all-wheel drive; the Hybrid is only available with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

It can also travel for up to 17 miles / 27 km on solely on electricity and up to a speed of 65 mph / 103 km/h, although if you drive it as fast as it can go on battery alone, you won’t get anywhere near what Subaru claims.

The manufacturer says that with a full tank of gasoline and a fully topped up battery, the Crosstrek can achieve a claimed range of 480 miles/ 772 km.

Towing capacity is quoted at a meager 1,000 pounds / 453 kg.

Ground clearance of 8.7 inches renders it surprisingly useful on surfaces other than tarmac - its all-wheel-drive system has standard active torque vectoring (a feature borrowed from the performance WRX model) which essentially brakes each wheel individually in order to enhance control and handling.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Drivetrain
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The driver can choose between different driving modes such as “Intelligent” and “Sport,” as well as a mode for full electric driving, although with its limited range you won’t really get any use out of that unless your drive is a very short one.

Since the Hybrid is only available with the continuously variable transmission, it features X-Mode and hill descent control.

The former is essentially Subaru’s off-road mode with special tuning for the engine, the all-wheel drive and brakes that the manufacturer says allows for the safest possible progress over rough surfaces.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Specifications

Powertrain Series-parallel plug-in hybrid system combining gasoline engine and two electric motor generators
Internal Combustion Engine 4-cyl. horizontally opposed BOXER engine with aluminum cylinder block and heads
Displacement 1,995 cc / 122 cu. in.
Bore x Stroke 3.31 in. x 3.54 in.
Compression ratio 13.5:1
Horsepower 137 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 134 lb.ft. @ 4,400 rpm
Hybrid battery Lithium-ion: 8.8 kWh, 25.0 Ah; 351.5V
Charge time @ 120V 5 hours
@ 240V 2 hours
Drive motor inverter 650V output
AC charge port Type 1 (SAE J1772)
Transmission Lineartronic® CVT
Total system output 148 HP
Final drive ratio 3.700:1
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive Active All-Wheel Drive using an electronic coupling multi-plate transfer clutch
EV range 17
EPA-estimated combined MPG; MPGe 35/90
Total Range 480
Fuel tank capacity 13.2 gal.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Prices

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Exterior
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Subaru is asking from $34,995 plus destination and delivery for the Crosstrek Hybrid - for comparison; the Crosstrek range kicks off at just $21,895. But you can bump the Hybrid’s price up even further by specifying a $2,500 options package that adds a power sunroof, heated steering wheel, as well as an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Competition

Hyundai Kona Electric

The Hyundai Kona EV Offers Almost as Much Torque as a 997-Gen Porsche 911 GT3! Exterior
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The Hyundai Kona isn’t available as a plug-in hybrid, but you can get one as a fully electric vehicle that actually has a decent range and good performance. It can be had with two battery packs, the larger of which can store a 64 kWh of electricity which grants it a one charge range of 299 miles or 480 km (according to tot he European testing cycle) - the EPA rates it a 258 miles or 415 km.

It’s also quicker to sprint compared to the Subaru, with a claimed zero to sixty time of 7.6 seconds. But since it is fully electric, it’s naturally not going to be the cheapest car to go for, and in the US it will retail for probably just over $30,000 for smaller battery pack; the one with the 64 kWh pack will probably cost closer to (if not over) $40,000, but it will qualify for the federal tax credit of up to $7,500.

Driving the Kona Electric, in its more powerful and longer range guise, is better than you think, according to reviewers. No, it’s not as fun as a Tesla Model 3, but it’s still nippy and agile enough for a vehicle in its class.

Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

Nissan Rogue Hybrid

2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
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If you want to look at an actual hybrid rival to the Crosstrek plug-in, then the Nissan Rogue Hybrid could be an alternative. It’s a conventional hybrid, without the plug-in part, and it is for the most part a recommendable buy.

First off it majors on efficiency, managing a claimed 35 mpg on the highway, as well as on comfort offering one of the smoothest rides in the segment. Its interior is also worth mentioning for its excellent fit and finish quality, as well as a pleasant design.

What’s not so great inside the Rogue Hybrid is the annoying infotainment system, and from behind the wheel, it doesn’t feel like the peppiest car or the most eager to accelerate. It is priced from $27,020 plus destination charges, although a high spec SL Hybrid model will set you back at least $32,380.

Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Rogue Hybrid

MINI Countryman PHEV

2017 Mini Countryman High Resolution Exterior
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One of the few vehicles that looks like a good match for the Crosstrek Hybrid on paper is the similar MINI Countryman PHEV. The MINI has a much nicer interior, it’s faster, fancier and it has a more desirable premium badge.

Like the Subaru, it comes with all-wheel drive, but it has more power (221 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque) which enables it to sprint to sixty in just 6.7 seconds. It’s also better around corners than pretty much any rival, thanks to sharp steering, a sorted chassis, and good body control (although the heavy Countryman PHEV is the least agile MINI you can buy right now).

Pricing starts from $36,900 but being a BMW group product; you can expect it to quickly climb when you start adding on the options.

Read our full review on the 2018 MINI Countryman PHEV

Conclusion

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Exterior
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Subaru’s Crosstrek has come a long way from one generation to the next, and this new plug-in hybrid version is proof that Subaru really is trying to provide a product that is relevant to the current market context. It’s a solid entrant in the segment that has nice styling, a well-built interior, frugal powertrain and surprising off-road capability for a vehicle in its class.

It’s a good enough vehicle to challenge more established names in the segment, but it is a bit too early to tell whether or not it will prove popular. But it’s certainly much more desirable than the old Crosstrek which it surpasses in every single conceivable way.

Now Subaru has to get the marketing right for it, to target it at the actual people that might consider buying it, and it should have no problem flying out of showrooms - the fact that it is also offered as a plug-in hybrid will certainly help its cause, and it may also attract those who want a PHEV but don’t want it to be a very obvious one.

Its only problem may be its price which at $34,995 is very close to that of the more desirable MINI Countryman PHEV which does pretty much everything but off-roading better than the Subaru and is generally a nicer car to spend time in (mainly thanks to the better interior ambiance). But with tax credits and state rebates, its price should reach more palatable levels.

  • Leave it
    • Acceleration below rivals’
    • Interior looks dated

Further reading

2018 Subaru XV Crosstrek
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Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek - Driven
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Read our full driven review on the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek.

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