2018 Subaru Crosstrek

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid will look a lot like the 2018 conventional Crosstrek shown here.

Subaru officially announced in early May that it will produce its first plug-in hybrid vehicle, the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid. As a so-called compact SUV, the Crosstrek Hybrid is similar in size to the Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid and MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4. Those plug-in hybrids respectively provide 26 and 12 miles of all-electric driving, after which they operate like a conventional hybrid.

(The photos in our gallery show the 2018 conventional Crosstrek. Subaru has not yet released images or detailed specs of the Crosstrek Hybrid.)

The gas-powered version of the Crosstrek is Subaru’s third best-selling model in America. The current Crosstrek, according to reviewers, is a capable, well-appointed, all-wheel-drive wagon-like vehicle. They praise the Crosstrek for having a roomier back seat than most of the competition. Subaru’s plug-in, which will be powered by a four-cylinder direct-injection Boxer engine, will be similar in appearance to the conventional Crosstrek, except for a few unique styling features to call out its plug-in capabilities.

The 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid will utilize Toyota’s plug-in hybrid system found in the Prius Prime. That suggests the plug-in Crosstrek will add an 8.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack to provide about 20 to 25 miles of all-electric range. However, the Crosstrek will be taller, heavier, and less aerodynamic than the Prius—so perhaps its all-electric range will be in the high teens.

In late 2017, Subaru joined a new EV venture formed by Toyota, Mazda, Suzuki, and other affiliated manufacturers. “For our plug-in hybrid to be introduced this year, we have used Toyota's technologies as much as possible,” said Takeshi Tachimori, Subaru’s chief technology officer. Toyota owns 17 percent of Subaru.

The launch of the Crosstrek plug-in hybrid will make up for Subaru’s current lack of any hybrids or electric vehicles—despite the brand’s outdoorsy, eco-friendly persona. Subaru said it will follow the introduction of a plug-in hybrid this year with a pure electric car in about 2021. The company’s new underlying global platform, which will be used for the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid, was designed to accommodate hybrid or all-electric powertrains.

Waiting for Key Details

The Crosstrek Hybrid—there’s no mention of a plug in the name—will be introduced first in California and other states that adhere to California's emissions standards. The vehicle’s limited distribution suggests that Subaru is primarily motived by the company’s need to comply with California’s mandate that automakers produce zero-emission plug-in electric vehicles. Subaru recently filed the electric-oriented trademark name “Evoltis” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Subaru first promised a plug-in hybrid in 2013. At that time, Automotive News reported that Subaru would soon launch the Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid. The company debuted a conventional hybrid (no-plug) version of the Subaru Crosstrek in 2013—but discontinued the model in 2017 due to low sales.

Subaru has not yet announced pricing for the 2019 Crosstrek plug-in hybrid. The top-of-the-line conventional 2018 Crosstrek sells for about $26,000—providing a rough (yet likely low) guideline for the plug-in hybrid version’s price, which should be below $30,000. That estimate also aligns with pricing for the discontinued no-plug Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, which sold for about $5,000 more than the conventional model.

Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid specifications

Availability: 2018
Est. tax credit: Not available
Technology: Plug-in Hybrid
Body type: SUV
Seats: 5
EPA Range: 20 miles electric + gasoline
Battery size: 9 kWh
Charging rate: 3.3 kW

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