The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek is an affordable compact SUV, to hear most of the automotive press tell it. That’s how we rank the Crosstrek ourselves. And yet, it has some of the virtues of a wagon, is available with a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain that is finding its moment in 2023, and has that unique Subaru charm that makes it delightfully quirky. It makes a great alternative to compact SUVs, but we think it might be a little limiting to call it one.
In its top-of-the-line Hybrid form, it also brings some features more common to the luxury classes. It starts at $36,845 (plus a $1,225 destination charge), then climbs over $40,000 when fully equipped. But its unique set of virtues makes that price worthwhile for some buyers.
Let’s examine what you get on a top-of-the-line Subaru Crosstrek in Hybrid form.
Plug-in Hybrid Drivetrain
If you’re car shopping in 2023, you’re probably debating whether the time is right to go electric or whether it’s better to stick with gasoline power. The Crosstrek lets us ask the meme question — why not both?
Subaru calls the top-of-the-line model the Crosstrek Hybrid, but it’s not a conventional hybrid; it’s a PHEV. That is, it can travel up to 17 miles on electric power alone, up to highway speeds and beyond. Its 2.0-liter flat 4-cylinder engine turns on when the battery is depleted.
If, like many of us, you drive less than 17 miles on average daily, then the Crosstrek Hybrid can function as an electric car in day-to-day driving. You can plug it in to recharge at home every night, and get to work, school, and your daily errands on electricity.
But people who buy an all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicle with some off-road chops usually have a plan to get far from home. The Crosstrek’s PHEV system means you can use gasoline to travel as far as you need to, provided you have access to gasoline.
It’s like owning two cars — an electric one for daily use and a gasoline-powered one for road trips.
Standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive With X-Mode
The Crosstrek Hybrid is a Subaru. That means it’s built for foul-weather roads and muddy trails. Reviewers love Subaru’s AWD system, which is well-known for its balance. But the Crosstrek Hybrid adds X-Mode, a setting that primes the engine and transmission to deliver more torque at lower speeds, and brakes wheels that start slipping — all adjustments that help the car move on slippery surfaces.
Hill descent control — another useful tool on the trail — is also standard.
Leather-Trimmed Upholstery With Blue Contrast Stitching
Luxury cars often have leather seats. Sporty cars often have funky contrast-color stitching to lend their cabins a contemporary feel. The Crosstrek Hybrid has both — navy blue leather seating surfaces with electric blue contrast-color stitching. It feels soft and looks cool.
The steering wheel and shift handle are also wrapped in leather, making all the surfaces you touch feel plush and look upscale. The blue stitching matches the lighting scheme and blue metal interior trim for a sporty look. They’re small aesthetic pleasures, but they’re the kind of thing that makes you fall in love with your car.
Advanced Tech Features
Most Crosstrek trim levels get a 6.5-inch multimedia screen, but the Crosstrek Hybrid gets a larger 8-inch screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard. A voice control feature lets you adjust temperature controls and entertainment settings without taking your hands off the wheel.
There’s just one option package available. It adds cloud-linked apps like Yelp and iHeart Radio to the screen, as well as voice-activated navigation with traffic updates. The package includes a Harmon Kardon premium audio system with a 432-watt amplifier, a power tilt/sliding moonroof, and a heated steering wheel.
With the optional package, Subaru can update the entertainment system over the air. So further upgrades could appear in the future without so much as a trip to the dealership.
STARLINK Connected Services
The Crosstrek Hybrid includes a 10-year subscription to Subaru’s STARLINK Connected Services bundle.
It lets you link the car to your smartphone. You can lock and unlock the vehicle remotely, start it, set the climate control so it’s warm when you get in the car, and track its location on a map, all from your phone.
Parents can use the app to set boundaries so the car won’t leave when a teen is driving, place curfews on when it can start, or alert them if it exceeds a certain speed.
The Crosstrek Hybrid has a full suite of high-tech driver aids like adaptive cruise control with lane centering, blind-spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert. A reverse automatic braking system, not available on lower trims, is standard. High-beam assist automatically dims high-beam headlights to avoid blinding oncoming cars.
More Subaru Crosstrek
Read our full review or build and price your own Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid. If you’re ready to take some action, check out the Subaru Crosstrek models for sale near you.