But because it is built on a car platform, rather than a pickup truck platform, the new Subaru is a crossover SUV – crossing the barrier between car and truck. Its compact size places it in the popular category of compact crossovers. That’s the class of wagons containing the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, two of best-selling models in America today. (And, yes, the government also classifies those little runners as trucks. Officially.)
The compact crossover status makes a lot of difference, says Singer, because it is bringing new people into the showroom.
Subaru already enjoys strong loyalty from owners who return to its models for their rock-solid durability and dependability and, especially in New England and the Rocky Mountain states, for the sure-footed traction of Subaru’s innovative all-wheel-drive systems. But traditionally those fans have remained concentrated among independent-minded people, who can even border on the quirky. (By the way, my wife Donna owns a Subaru Impreza.) Subaru cars have sterling reputations, but the brand hasn’t yet made deep incursions into the mainstream auto market, where top-tier names like Toyota, Honda and Ford rack up a lot of sales.
Now the Subaru XV Crosstrek is bringing them in, said Singer. The bolder look created by the model’s embellishments grabs car shoppers first, he explained. It alerts them that the model is a crossover alternative worth looking at. Closer examination can convince them it has superior qualities, Singer said.
“This opens up the floodgates to people we’ve been trying to get in the showrooms,” he stated. “The first big attraction is the appearance. Then people take a harder look at it and say, wow, there’s a lot to this car.”
At a starting list price of $22,790, the Crosstrek includes an ample supply of safety features, including sophisticated antilock brakes, dynamic stability control and extra airbags for the driver’s knees and lower bodies. The car’s occupant electronics – a popular feature, said Singer – include steering-wheel controls for the entertainment system and for activating the Bluetooth hands-free phone system that comes built into the vehicle.