CVT Loud, Quirky
While the five-speed manual transmission is the ideal choice for the XV Crosstrek the CVT does have its charms. For starters, the CVT is far more fuel-friendly. Even in snowy conditions with grippy winter tires, the XV averaged about 24 mpg in both city and highway driving. That’s not far off the EPA’s ideal rating of 28 mpg for the CVT, while the manual gets just 25 mpg. There’s also a pretty effective manual mode, which allows for the driver to select a fixed ratio gear, just like a conventional automatic.
The fuel numbers may not sound like a lot compared to other crossovers, but remember, the XV is always driving all four wheels, while other crossovers only have FWD, or a part-time AWD systems.
Unfortunately, the XV Crosstrek’s CVT transmission is typically noisy, making a whiney sound as the car gets up to speed. Also, the transmission takes its time getting into drive, needing about a second or two after selecting the gear before it gets going.