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Test Drive: Subaru XV Crosstrek

Subaru's new off-road SUV is fun to drive on all terrains

Subaru XV Crosstrek Interior

Prices start at $22,790 and climb past $27,000 for the luxurious Limited model with navigation, leather seats, and an automatic transmission. Most competing crossover SUVs are more expensive, but they also cast a larger shadow. But big isn't necessarily better. The XV's smaller size graces it with a nimble feel, a lively character, and small-car fuel economy. It's a hiking shoe with athletic aspirations— just maybe not the 100-meter sprint.

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More About Subaru
● Subaru's flat-four engine is a compact, low-slung design that's inherently balanced.

● In the 1990s, Subaru won the World Rally Manufacturer Championship three times in a row.

● Subaru got its start in the U.S. in 1968 with the diminutive 360, a 25-hp two-cylinder microcar.

● Subaru's logo is a Japanese symbol for the cluster of six stars known in the West as the Pleiades.

● Founded as Nakajima Aircraft Co., Subaru first made aircraft for the Japanese military. Production ceased in 1945, Nakajima was renamed Fuji Heavy Industries, and motor-vehicle production ensued.

● If you drop the dough for the XV Crosstrek Limited package, you'll be rewarded with automatic headlights, climate control, leather upholstery, and a 4.3-inch LCD display for your music.

● The Crosstrek's fuelefficient engine averages 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway (on the automatic version) while packing 145 foot-pounds of torque.

● With 17-inch wheels and 8.7 inches of ground clearance, you'll have no problem keeping your Crosstrek's suspension clear should you encounter a particularly nasty pothole.

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