At one time, Subaru applied the Outback name to everything from its original Legacy wagon variant to sedans and the Impreza-based Outback Sport. Moving forward, it appears the moniker will be applied exclusively to one model, with other Subarus receiving unique branding.

Such is the case with the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek, which is essentially the next-generation Outback Sport. Like its predecessor, it's Impreza-based, which also means the car is powered by the new Impreza's downsized, more economical 2.0-liter 148-hp boxer four-cylinder, mated to a five-speed manual, or Subaru's Lineartronic CVT automatic. But probably the biggest news is on the fuel economy front, where figures improve by a significant margin, from 20 to 25 mpg in the city, and from 26 to 27 mpg (depending on transmission) to 33 mpg highway, representing a nearly 20-percent overall improvement in economy.

The XV Crosstrek is distinguished from its street-going siblings with increased ground clearance, black side and wheel-arch cladding, rocker spoiler, roof rails, and unique 17-inch alloy wheels. A variety of dealer-installed accessories for the roof rack are available for carrying outdoor gear.

Although the wheelbase is only marginally longer than its predecessor, at 103.7 inches versus 103.1 inches, cargo capacity with the rear seats folded increases from 44.4 cubic feet to 52.4 cubic feet. In addition to the increased capacity, the XV Crosstrek also features a removable waterproof tray, tie-down hooks, and grocery bag hooks. Bluetooth hands-free calling and streaming audio capability, USB and 3.5mm iPod integration, are standard on both the Premium and Limited trim levels, as are power windows, locks, side mirrors, security system with immobilizer.

The available All-Weather Package (included on the Limited) adds heated front seats, exterior mirrors, windshield wiper de-icers. A power moonroof and navigation are available as standalone options on both trim levels. The navigation system also includes satellite radio, NavTraffic, SMS text message capability, rear-vision camera and iTunes tagging.

Further details on the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek are expected to be revealed at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

Source: Subaru