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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review

2014-09-10 13:25:01 191056  DennisCTB | 29 Pix
I just bought the Crosstrek and so far I like it alot. I have a CRV and a RAV4 to compare it to. Each of them have their pluses and minuses. I have to say that the AWD feels very grippy even in the only summer driving I have done so far.

It rides smoother than the RAV4 close to the ride in the CRV.

The CVT trans is a little loud when you push it towards 4000 RPM. I do not mind that though. Many say it is underpowered, but it is fine for my needs.

So far I am getting over 30.5 MPG for a mix of local driving. For the same type of trips the CRV and Rav4 get 26 MPG. The Crosstrek got 39 MPG on a all highway trip.

Trunk space is alot smaller on the Crosstrek but once again more than adequate for my needs.

Subaru is one of the few cars that still recommends a rather long breakin period of 1000 miles for a mix of driving avoiding constant speeds and keeping max RPMs under 4000.

My Crosstrek came with paddle shifters. I have found them most useful for deceleration. However I have found using the paddle shifters consumes much more fuel as the intelligence of the CVT is superior to manual operation.
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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review
2014-09-12 00:00:00 191065  kwschumm | 24 Pix
Dennis, please keep us posted on your Crosstrek.

I have a Baja and an Impreza but have been thinking about the Crosstrek. I guess it isn't available with a stick, that would be my preference.

Subaru sure did a number on their color selections for the Crosstrek though, there are some zooty colors available, most of which I wouldn't want so... what color is yours?
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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review
2014-09-12 00:00:00 191071  DennisCTB | 29 Pix
Yeah some of the colors are wild. I guess just marketing to differentiate the Crosstrek form the Impreza. I went with silver, does not show the dirt :-) ....
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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review
2014-09-12 00:00:00 191072  DennisCTB | 29 Pix
Another great feature of the Subaru is the Top mount oil filter, for those of us who do their own oil chnages. ....
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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review
2014-09-17 00:00:00 191081  kwschumm | 24 Pix
The oil filter on top is great. Hopefully they did better than Toyota and any oil that leaks out when the filter is removed doesn't just pour all over the front of the engine. With that one I took a piece of fuel hose and routed the drain so one catch pan could catch drippage from both the pan and filter drains.

Every Crosstrek seems to have those same wheels, are those the only OEM wheels available for it? They are OK but I sort of like spoke wheels (YMMV) ....
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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review
2014-09-18 00:00:00 191087  DennisCTB | 29 Pix
I saw a video on the Subaru XV Crosstrek oil change and the excess oil that comes out is easily dealt with a paper towel, or so it seemed will let you know how it goes at the recommended 3000 mile oil change.

On the wheels it seems that all of the supposedly sportier cars are going with the black accents on the alloy wheels. Teenagers are even spray painting the original alloy wheels black with mixed degrees of expertise. Some even stealth the whole car in flat black on older used vehicles :-(

You might want to consider the Forester as it is built on the Impreza base. I just liked the rake of the windshield and sportier feel of the XV Crosstrek vs the Forester along with the better MPG. The Forester has alot more zoom though than the XV, but I just do not need the zoom.

Now on to the quirkiness of the Subaru vs CRV and RAV4:

1)Power door locks on the Subaru do not have lock and unlock programmable feature. Since the RAV4 and CRV have this I almost never remember to lock the Crosstrek doors which locking I understand is the best thing to do for crash safety.

2)Chime alerts. The CRV and RAV4 have wonderful chime tones that are not offensive, and include features like a single chime when you do not put your seat belt on, then a pause of say 10 seconds when you get a couple of gentle reminders, then a long pause and reminders. The Crosstrek has no documented programming, instead seat belt chimes are loud and begin instantly and do not stop. You will never drive a Crosstrek without your seat belt. The work around to mitigate this on the Crosstrek is to turn the ignition switch to On and connect and disconnect the drivers seat belt 20 times within 30 seconds. The result is that you still have the loud alarm but it chimes every second for six chimes then goes off forever.

3)Auto Climate control. Both the RAV4 and CRV have right and left temperature controls and have a digital LCD display of interior cabin temperature. The Crosstrek has a single temperature dial control, no LCD cabin temperature and no separate left and right controls for temperature. I was surprised that the Limited trim level was a little behind on this, but I have always thought that left and right temp settings was silly, but an LCD display of the inside temp would be nice.

4) The Crosstrek has an unusual feature for the gas gauge. If you turn the ignition off like at a fuel stop, if you press the trip odometer button, it will display the fuel level. I thought this was very cool. But when the gas attendant is filling the tank, pressing the trip odometer button does not show the real time fuel level, but shows the level the last time the ignition was turned on. In NJ we cannot fill our own gas so for most of US this is meaningless. I guess when you get Alzheimers this feature helps to remind you of why you stopped for gas LOL.

5)Front Armrest. Both the CRV and Crosstrek have my preferred configuration with NO Clutsy Grip Bar on the front doors. I can rest my arm on the arm rest and operate the door locks window control and side mirrors. The RAV4 has a large grab handle on all doors that obstructs the drivers access to the controls. The RAV4 even puts the mirror controls on the dash board making it very difficult to drive and adjust the mirrors.

6) Bucket seats. The Crosstrek leather bucket seats are very comfortable. In terms of lateral support they are the least confining of the three cars with the RAV4 being the most confining in the love handle area. I find the RAV4 seats to be annoying. I am 5 foot 10 and 175 pounds. The Crosstrek is the easiest of the three cars to enter and exit.

7)Cabin visibility. The Crosstrek is absolutely tops in this category. Driver view ahead and left and right is so good that when test driving different cars the Crosstrek just feels great. The RAV4 is the pits the thick side pillars and awkward mirror positioning creates blind spots when looking to the right. The Rav4 dash is high and awkward and unusual in my view. The Crv dash is much better. But the Crosstrek trumps the others easily with no gimmicks.

8)Rear view camera. The Crosstrek Limited has the HD radio and integrated rear camera in the radio LCD display. The display does not have touch capabilities but the image is decent size and is always usable and bright in both bright daylight and night time use. The CRV has the camera screen in the Midi center dash display and is very good but smaller than the Crosstrek. The RAV4 has the biggest rear camera display with touch screen, but in my opinion is not very useful as the angle of the screen is almost always subject to extreme glare during daytime use and the brightness and contrast can be adjusted but never to where it works anywhere near the Crosstrek or CRV. ....
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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review
2014-09-18 00:00:00 191088  DennisCTB | 29 Pix
Installing 2 inch receiver hitch on the XV Crosstrek vs CRV and Rav4

I added a Curt 2" receiver hitch to the XV Crosstrek, CRV, and Rav4.

Both the CRV and Rav4 have threaded locations on the frame to bolt the hitch. The XV Crosstrek has four holes that require two holes to be grinded larger so that a bolt and plate washer can be threaded through the holes.

The CRV was the most difficult to install as the CRV has a sound proofing plastic panel at the rear of the car that must be removed and and cut so that the hitch can be installed. Lots of plastic pop snaps etc and a gymnast to get your hands to the bolts. Also have to drop the muffler. Because the CRV has the great remote control fold down second row I did not put in the wire harness as it seemed as if too many things to mess with for my limited use.

The Rav 4 does not have the sound deadening panel and was easier than the CRV, but the alignment of the hitch was off and I had to do some grinding of the holes on the Curt hitch, and rethread a cross threaded bolt ugh :(.

The Crosstrek hitch on paper seemed harder because of the unthreaded holes and the bolt wires. But I installed it by myself whereas it was a two man job for the CRV and Rav4. The wiring harness was simple and went in easy as the panels that needed to be removed were not encumbered by the CRV remote releases. No need to drop the muffler on the Crosstrek as is the case for the CRV and Rav4. ....
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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review
2014-10-27 00:00:00 191291  DennisCTB | 29 Pix
8)Power WindowsThe CRV,Rav4 and Crosstrek all have one click up for the driver window. The CRV and Rav4 also have a feature that the Power Windows operate when the ignition key is either on or in the accessory position, and can even be operated for a minute or so after the ignition has been turned to the off position until a door is opened or one minute elapses. The Subaru Crosstrek Power Windows only operate with the ignition switch in the On position. I really miss this feature. ....
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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review
2014-10-29 00:00:00 191307  bosco2
Never owned a Subaru, sounds like a lot of quirkiness from what you describe. I have noticed quite a few of these Crosstreks lately, so despite the quirks I guess people are buying them, which one of these do you like the most? ....
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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review
2014-11-12 00:00:00 191407  DennisCTB | 29 Pix
They are all very good in their own ways.

Of the three right now I would pick up the keys to the XV Crosstrek if given the choice of which to drive.

But that said if I did not have the RAV 4 and the CRV as being available I would not have bought the XV Crosstrek. Why? Well the trunk on the XV is adequate but it pales in comparison to the CRV. I just could not take four people on a trip with luggage in th XV Crosstrek, it would just not be enough space.

Still early though I will post more as I drive it more. ....
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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review
2017-12-28 00:00:00 197353  N3wyork3r
Hello Dennis,
I'm planning to buy the used Subaru Crosstrek 2013-2015 model. I was reading your feedback and comparison b/w rav4, crv and crosstrek.. im also comparing them and want to pick one of them.. just want to see how's ur experience so far with the crosstrek and which one would you recommend between the 3 of them.
Thanks,.. ....
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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review
2017-12-30 00:00:00 197356  DennisCTB | 29 Pix
For the last year my wife has been driving the Crosstrek. I asked her if she has learned to the love the Subaru.

Answer Nope!

She longs for the comfort of the CRV first then the Rav 4 second.

I drove the 2018 Crosstrek and it is alot smoother than the my 2014 Crosstrek.

If you are buying in that year range I would NOT buy the Crosstrek as you will be going without the new car warranty. The 2013 had oil consumption issues and I would not buy used.

I have not had any problems, but I am really low low mileage.

I have owned Hondas for decades and never had any issue at all, same with Toyota, so I would go with either used.

I still like the simplicity of the Subaru though, simple HVAC controls, radial guages, Top mount oil filter, easy trailer hitch install and wiring harness, center mount hand brake.

Good luck with your search!

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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review
2018-01-01 00:00:00 197357  N3wyork3r
Thanks Dennis for your feedback.
I have narrowed down the car search to two vehicles now.
2014 Rav4 LE 42 miles (around $ 15k)
2015 Impreza Premium 45K miles. (around $13.5K)

My heart is on Subaru for the well designed AWD vehicles and better handling. Also Impreza has better fuel economy than Rav4.. but Rav4 is a compact suv and more cargo space plus better resale value in few years. I got two toddlers boys now so dont think will be needing too much space until for couple of more years.

What would you pick ??

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2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek vs CRV and RAV4 Review
2018-01-02 00:00:00 197358  DennisCTB | 29 Pix
1)Handling On Road -- I always drive significantly faster in the RAV 4 than the Crosstrek on the highway and country roads even though I prefer the better visibility in the Crosstrek. And the weird thing is I do not notice I am going 50 where I would only drive 40 in the Crosstrek.

2) Ride Height--The Impreza is low to the ground I still find it an enigma that I hate the look of the Impreza but love exactly the same car that is lifted! Having a little more height is good on a side impact accident :-(

3) Weight -- the added weight in the Hood , Doors and Trunk lid is impressive on The RAV 4. While the Impreza has great crash tests, in an accident between the Impreza and the Rav4 the Rav will be victorious by a wide margin.

4)I would only by the Impreza if I had another car like the CRV or RAV in my car inventory.

5) Transmission -- The Crosstek has a CVT and if the 15 is like the 14 it is a no joy rubber band acceleration on hills. I have paddle shifters which you could use to offset the CVT, but the gearing is so economy mode there is little love in the shifters and I only use for hill descent. The RAV has conventional auto and is awesome by comparison.

6) Engines if you want to pound on the peddle to pass or climb high elevations, the RAV is a Rocket and the Impreza ia a snail. The snail will get the job done nonetheless.


One of my main reasons for buying the Crosstrek was that I have two kids in College and I wanted to buy an AWD SUV with Leather interior for the least amount of dollars, at the time about $5000 less than the CRV EXL. And it was to be rarely used supplement to my RAV and CRV.


The choice is still a headache.


On the Rav you will absolutely hate the choice if you change your own oil, with the god awful EPA oriented reusable cartridge that spills oil all over you from under the car every time regardless how careful you are.


You will also hate the RAV 4 Munchkin size clock on the dash and the stupid small outside temperature display by the odometer. You will long for the High Mount Subaru center dash display, in 2018 most manufacturers other than Subaru have ditched, in 2018 the Crosstrek Center Dash is even better, I like it so much it is one of the reasons I would consider the 2018 Crosstrek.


You will also long for the nicely raked windsheild on the Crosstrek with outstanding visibility to the right and left. The windshield pillars on the RAV have blocked my vision for a couple of close calls....


Not sure I have helped... Good luck



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