6. Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid: Tread Environmentally
Base-price range: $27,245-$30,845
EPA fuel-economy rating: 30/34/31 mpg city/highway/combined
Want to commune with nature without consuming more than your fair share of it? Check out the hybrid version of Subaru’s subcompact crossover. It’s got 8.7 inches of ground clearance, dent-resistant plastic wheel-arch and rocker-panel cladding, and comes standard with all-wheel drive. True, it’s essentially an Impreza hatchback with a jacked-up suspension and a jazzed-up body. But it’s got an attitude missing in the automaker’s similarly sized but tamer-looking (and less-expensive) Forester compact crossover. And it’s the only Subaru — and the only vehicle in its competitive set — to offer a gas-electric powertrain.
Like other Crosstreks, the Hybrid has a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine of Subaru
’s horizontally opposed piston design. It’s boosted by an electric motor for a net 160 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. That’s more than the gas-only models’ 148 horses and 145 pound-feet, but performance gains are offset by the Hybrid’s additional 240 pounds of curb weight. The nickel-metal hydride battery pack is beneath the rear floor so nearly all the standard version’s cargo volume is retained, making this one of the most versatile crossovers its size. It’s also the least expensive awd crossover to rate more than 30 mpg city-highway combined. Offered in base and top-line Touring trim, the Hybrid shares cosmetic updates bestowed on all 2016 Crosstreks and is distinguished by an exclusive gloss-black grille. Demerits shared with other Crosstreks include cheap-feeling cabin materials. And we wish Subaru
made its excellent X-Mode off-road performance feature available; you can get it on the Forester.