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2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid First Impressions; Audience Questions | Talking Cars #206

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid First Impressions; Audience Questions | Talking Cars #206

We share our first impressions
of the all new Subaru Crosstrek plug-in hybrid, and then
we answer your questions, including one about whether
a fully loaded Mazda CX-5 is a better deal than
a stripped down BMW X3. Next on “Talking Cars.” [MUSIC PLAYING] Hey, we’re back. I’m Keith Barry. I’m Jennifer Stockburger. And I’m Mike Monticello. And we’ve got a
great show today, mostly because you’re
helping us with it because you send us questions
to [email protected] But before we get
to your questions, we’re going to talk about
a car we just bought. Well, you just
picked it up, right? Yeah. So, you know, we just
bought this Subaru Crosstrek plug-in hybrid. And for those of you
who are new to the show, we buy all of our
cars anonymously here at Consumer Reports. Easy for me to say. So we buy them all. So I went to a local dealer
and I bought this car. And this is an interesting car
because we like the Crosstrek. We’ve already tested
the regular Crosstrek and we like it quite a bit. You know, it has a
really nice ride, and pretty responsive handling,
and decent fuel economy. It’s really practical, too. It’s a really practical
car, you know? And then now you have this
plug-in hybrid and, of course, you’re thinking efficiency. But there are some
issues with it. I mean, the good thing is that,
because it’s a plug-in hybrid, it has a decent
sized battery pack, so it can run for about 17
miles on electric only range. Now, keep in mind, these
are our first impressions, so we will verify how far
it really goes on average in our real world testing. So you can do this
electric only stuff. But the problem
is once you’re not on the electric only range,
not only does your efficiency– you know, is going to
go down most likely, but the car’s dynamics change. You know, it’s pretty
quiet and pretty nice to drive when it’s
under electric power. Keep in mind, if
you floor it, it’s going to turn into a
hybrid and the gassing is going to come on. But when you’ve used up– when
you’ve depleted that battery, now it’s in this
hybrid mode and it’s using the engine,
obviously, a lot. And the continuously
variable transmission causes a lot of rubber banding– that sensation where the
RPMs are really high, but the acceleration
isn’t really– it’s not really– [MAKES CAR REVVING SOUND] [INTERPOSING VOICES] –correlation. Exactly. Good impersonation. Yeah. And what’s funny about
this is that a lot of CVTs these days– they’re going to
making these artificial shifts. So it feels like an
automatic, so it keeps bringing the revs back down. Subaru even does that
with some of their CVTs. This one doesn’t
seem to do that. And so it becomes– yes, it has the
comfortable ride. And, actually, one of
the other things about it is that if you open
the cargo hatch, it’s pretty small
compared to the regular– It takes away a lot. That’s where the
batteries go, right? That’s where the batteries are. And so there’s a
reason they did that. The reason is they wanted– Subaru wanted a true
all-wheel drive system like their regular gas cars. Now, a lot of competitors like,
say, the Toyota Highlander, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, they use
an electric all-wheel drive system. So basically, they
put an electric motor at the rear axle. So it’s like two motors– an electric motor and
a gasoline engine– and they’re driving
different sets of wheels. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So the problem with that is
that if the battery is depleted on that electric
all-wheel drive system, you might still be just in
only front wheel drive mode. With this Crosstrek
plug-in hybrid, you always have all-wheel
drive all the time. So you have a real
drive shaft going back to the rear of the car. And also, they put the batteries
back there in the cargo– underneath the cargo
area because they didn’t want to do
anything– they didn’t want to compromise
passenger space as well. So you’ve got some
compromises with this car. But, I mean, I hear
hybrid and I assume, oh, it’s going to be 40– Right. –at least 40 miles a gallon. But that’s not the case, right? That’s not what’s promised. Not what we’re seeing. Right. And it’s not even
what’s promised. Yeah. Right. And I would just say, this
car seems like more compromise than benefit to that point. If you were going to get
40, you could say, OK, I can live with the
reduced cargo space. I can live with the
CVT, the noise– the electric noise. All the things that identify it. There’s more
electric noise, I’ve noticed, when you’re driving. Very singsongy. That whine. Yeah. Yeah. That whine is singsongy. Yeah. Yeah. The EPA rates it at 35
miles per gallon combined. You know, we got 29
miles per gallon overall in our testing with
the regular Crosstrek. Right. So it will be
interesting to see when we get our full testing
done what it ends up being. Yeah. Yep. So, yeah, I mean,
I’ve driven it. I totally agree. Jen, you’ve spent a lot
of time in it, right? Right. And I’m all about– I think I’ve said
on other episodes– I’m one of those
people who I love all the advantages of
hybrids or electrics, but I want them to
feel conventional. Right. To your point. I like when they put
the false shifts. I like when they keep
standard gear selectors and things, which, gladly,
they’ve done in this. You know what that’s called? A skeuomorphism. A skeuomorphism. That’s what I was going to say. That’s when they put, like, an
analog face on a digital clock. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Just because we can’t– yeah. I like it traditional. I learn something new
with Keith every show. A skeuomorphism. I don’t know if
it’s correct or not. Someone told me that once. But anyway, this
car doesn’t do that. It feels very hybrid-ish. Right. Be it the whine,
the rubber banding, the lack of cargo space. Probably for me, more
compromise than benefit. And you don’t even get the– I mean, it isn’t the same type
of all-wheel drive system. But if you’re just looking to
get a little extra traction to get out of your
driveway, there’s the Prius all-wheel drive,
and that promise, I mean, only a tiny penalty
over the regular Prius. Right. And it has a ton of
cargo space in the back. It doesn’t look as cool. I’ll go with that. But that’s new. That hasn’t always been an
option until this year– [INTERPOSING VOICES] Exactly. Right. You’re right. A true competitor. Right. The thing with this
car is if you’re going to plug it in,
you know, all the time, then you’re going to get
some benefit from it, right? So since I bought the
car, as I was driving away from the dealership, I get into
the car and the salesman says, just remember, Subaru’s not
really known for their hybrids. [LAUGHTER] Oh, boy. Word of caution. Thank you, Subaru dealer. Oh, great. Oh, my gosh. Yes. I mean, we love the Crosstrek. I personally– I love hybrids. I love cars that plug in. Anything that saves some fuel. Right. But, I mean, as a combination,
you know, this ain’t it, chief, it seems like. Might just do it for
some cafe points. You never know. Geeze. Cynical. So, yeah. Again, these are
initial impressions. Right. Very early. Brand new car. So we’re going to have a
lot more to say about it when we actually test it. But now onto your questions. The first one is a
video question from Pat. Thank you, Pat, for
sending a video question. And you can send your questions
to [email protected] And Pat has a question
about recalls. Hi, “Talking Cars.” Thanks for everything
you do for people. I’m in the process of buying a
used car through Dealers Only. I have found some cars I want
that are on the recall list. Thanks for showing
me how to check. As these are only
safety recalls, I will require the dealer to
resolve these before I buy it. Can the dealer
tell me that these are too old to resolve
now or that they have been resolved when the
website says they are not? Thanks, and god bless
you for all you do. So Pat, to answer
your question, it depends upon whether you’re
buying a new car or a used car. New cars can’t be sold
with open recalls. They have to fix them. There’s no way around it. A used car– that’s
a little different. They have to
disclose the recall, but they can sell a car with
an open, unrepaired recall. Right. And I think that has to do
with the new cars coming through the dealership
that has the parts, that has the repair, where
a used car may not be. It could be coming
through a CarMax. It could be coming through
a dealer that’s not the brand that you’re selling. Yeah. And some dealers– I think
CarMax is actually one of them– won’t sell a car unless
it has a recall fixed. Right. But some local car
dealers might– you know, buyer beware. You do have to check to see
if there’s an open recall. If it isn’t fixed, you
can use that as a– you know, first of all, I’d be
a little nervous about buying from that dealer if they
didn’t– because all you have to do is bring it to– It’s the right thing to do. All you have to do– if you’re buying a Ford
at Joe’s Car Sales, you just have to bring
it to the Ford dealership and they’ll fix it for free. Right. Anyone can bring it. It’s not like it’s any
skin off their nose. So I’d be a little
wary with that. But you can use it as
a negotiation tactic. Now, as far as recalls
expiring, they never do, right? They don’t expire. Yeah. But the longer you wait,
the more inconvenience it may be for you in that the
parts aren’t readily available. You know, they
have to order them. So the sooner you
can get in there when they’re in the midst of
doing it for many, many cars, the better. But they don’t expire. And, you know, you just did a
great story about buying used and making sure your
name’s on your registration is up to date, your
correct mailing, so that people do get
information, particularly with a used car. Yeah. When you buy a car, the way
that manufacturers find out that you have purchased
a car from their brand is they look at
registration data. Right. So if you move, you
need to make sure that you update that that
address so they can send you any recall notices. And even then, I would
check periodically at NHTSA’s website. And I think we can put
that on the screen there– Yep. –, and look to see
if there are any recalls. Carfax also has a service where
you can put in your license plate and it will alert you if
any recalls pop up on your car. So recalls– they’re important. Get them fixed. Yeah. And there’s a lot
of them lately. Yeah. I mean, we cover them if
you– Keith right here
writes a lot of them. It seems like almost daily. Every day. It’s like 50,000,
100,000 cars every day. Yeah. Right. And it’s for some– you know, a lot
of the same parts are being shared from the
same suppliers across cars. But it’s good they’re
catching them. It’s good they’re catching them. Recalls are not about thing. For sure. Right. So we have a
question from William from Vancouver, who said,
I recently visited Japan and saw a category of
vehicle pretty much exclusive to the Japanese
domestic market called Kei cars. I think they’re extremely
practical, affordable, and reliable. Some of the newer ones are
even full of safety tech. It seems to me that these are
the perfect vehicles for people who are just looking
for a versatile point A to point B type of car. The engines in these
things are small– no more than 64 horsepower. What’s your opinion on
Kei cars, and do you see these things coming to
North America anytime soon? No. [INTERPOSING VOICES] The answer is no. No. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it depends on where
is your point A to point B? If your point A to point
B is within a major city– Two city blocks, right? –then it could totally work. For sure. But, I mean– Yeah. So the cars themselves,
for those who don’t know, who haven’t traveled to
Japan or seen them, Kei– it’s short for keijidosha,
which means light automobile. And there’s this tax
code, basically, in Japan that taxes you less
and charges you less if you drive a smaller car. So they’re 11 feet
long, about 5 feet wide, about 6 and 1/2 feet tall,
the engine has to be tiny, and you save some money in your
sales tax and your insurance. But, I mean, these are small. Also, in Japan,
parking is different. If you own a car, you have to
prove that you have a place to park it. Some of these are
exempt from that. So it gives more
people access to the– [INTERPOSING VOICES] Again, urban,
probably, environment. In Japan. Right. And this is a classic
car that has been around for a long time in Japan. It’s not like this
is a new thing. Yeah. Since the end of World War II. Yeah. Right. So they’ve been
around a long time. But, I mean, Americans– we’ve kind of shown for years
that we don’t like small cars. Take that as a good
or a bad thing. But these wouldn’t be
good cars in a major city. But once you get
outside of the city– and even then, a lot of our
cities are pretty spread out. If it’s a very congested
city, it makes sense. But if it’s a city like,
say, LA, which is extremely spread out, and once you
get up on the highway with so little power– That’s what I was going to say. Yeah. — I think you’re not
going to be enjoying that. Yeah. What do you think about– I mean, anyone I
know who’s driven one has said they’re
great in Tokyo or Kyoto, but as soon as you
get onto the highway– When you say to
me 64 horsepower, I think back of the Smart
Fortwo with its 89 horsepower– I looked up. Just so disconcerting to
enter a moving highway surrounded by SUVs. You know, I don’t think it’s
the right car for this market. Probably the great car for
Tokyo, like you say, but I don’t think it would sell. They would sell some. Yeah. I mean, so Suzuki
actually did bring one called the Alto
to the UK and it didn’t do that great
in safety tests either. I mean, there’s only
so much you can do. I mean, you can put all these
active safety features in, but when you’ve got that
short little wheelbase and it only weighs
a certain amount– Mass is mass. They’re neat little cars. They’re neat to look at. Yes. And they’re all
different types of cars. Oh, yeah. You know what I mean? It’s not like a specific–
it’s not like it’s just a car. They have little vans as well. Oh, and there was some
really cool ones in the ’90s. The Honda Beat, the Autozam. Some of those are really cool. Yeah. Look them up. But, you know, go– it’s a good reason to travel. That’s right. Ravi from Dallas has a question. I have a 2007 Camry XLE V6
with 130,000 miles on it. I absolutely love this car,
but it started having issues after 110,000 miles. I had the dealer change brake
lines, alternator, engine, a fuel issue, engine mounts,
front struts, timing belt– geeze– and now they say the water
pump needs to be replaced. I feel like I have to keep
changing all the parts one by one as the car gets
older, and these repairs are very expensive. At what point should
I give up on repairs and just sell or
trade the car in? Ravi’s got a sunk cost fallacy
and a ship of Theseus problem here. Oh, my gosh. Where’s my dictionary? He’s got his– yeah. What do you think? Should he keep this car? Well, I mean, at this point,
almost has a new car, right? Yeah. Right. But, no. Well, unfortunately,
probably should have dumped it a while ago once– you know, after the first
major expense or two. It’s kind of a bummer
because, usually– it started having
problems at 110,000 miles. Usually a Toyota, and
especially a Camry, is going to– if
you take care of it, could go to 200,000 miles. So this could be just
a weird occurrence. Yeah. But also know that
the 2007 was actually not one of its best years. Usually, if you look at our
used car predicted reliability across the range, you know,
its Camrys top scores, fives. That year was not. This was actually a four. Yeah. So, you know, it had
engine major, engine minor, and engine cooling issues. So there were some
issues with that car, which is just a little bit of
bad luck that that happens. It seems like this
isn’t just one problem. Well, that’s what struck me. Sometimes, you know, you have
a clunk or a certain noise that you’re chasing,
but it’s in the same– in your power
train or something. These are so disparate. There’s, like, timing belt,
suspension, engine mounts, charging system. It’s not one problem
he’s chasing. These are all different. It’s like the car
is falling apart underneath him, literally. I had a car like this
once, and it was– and it’s not just
about the finances. Yeah. When you have all these
little problems come up– I had a ’99 Volvo V70
that, actually, we said was a good car. It’s one of the
reasons I bought it. Right. And just all these little things
started going wrong with it and it just kept adding up. And at some point,
my anxiety level went down when I got
rid of the thing. Am I going to get
where I’m going? Exactly. Yeah. And it’s to your point. You know, even Toyotas
can’t have a bad year. They’re mechanical objects. Or a bad car. Yeah. They’re mechanical objects,
and we don’t know– Yeah. Just a bad run. Right. And we don’t know how the car
was taken care of and all that. I mean, maybe it
was driven hard. But sometimes these
things just happen. Yeah. My nephew is driving
a 4Runner now that just turned 300,000 miles. Wow. Yep. And he hasn’t done hardly
nearly as much as Ravi has. Yeah. My brother has a Honda Accord
with almost 300,000 miles. Sorry. Bad luck. Yeah. Sorry. Sometimes you make
the best choice and think you make the best
choice, and it goes wrong. And you can’t win. Yeah. Oh, well. So a question from Mike. Many sedans, CUVs, and SUVs
have folding second row seats. My Audi A6, which is
a sedan, has these. The back seats of my Audi have
very solid, strong steel backs and they lock firmly
in place, but when I fold them down to expand
luggage or storage space, how safe are the
front seat passengers from stuff in the trunk
in a frontal accident? Are the front
seats strong enough to withstand the force of
the stuff we put in the trunk when it crashes forward into
the back of the front seats? Jen. Yeah. So this difference
in front seat backs is something we
actually encountered when we were developing
our child seat tests. Because if you have particularly
a rear facing child seat, it’s going to contact that front
seat back in a frontal crash. So the range of what those
front seats are– you know, they can be very
solid, as in Mike’s case. They can be plastic. Right. They can be just
fabric over a frame. There is no requirement for
what that structure has to be. So we have talked a
lot about loading. If you are loading
heavy items, even in a sedan with those second row
seats, that push pass through, make sure you’re securing
them in another way. Put a rope back to
something that keeps them from sliding forward. Think about the force. If you have to do
a full ABS stop, or if you hit someone
or someone hits you, the force of anything that’s
loose in the car that’s going to come flying forward– It’s coming forward. Right. And even if your head’s
above the headrest, then that’s not going
to stop it, anyway. Something could still hit
you in the head regardless. Right. So that’s why it’s so important. Whether the seat back will
save the rest of you or not, if you’ve got your head
above the head rest and some object hits you,
it’s going to be a problem. So you really have
to make sure– Chances are those seat backs are
strong enough for most things, but heavy low and soft high
is what we typically say, and tie down if you can. Yeah. Yep. Another question
about seats from DK. Says, thanks so
much for your show. How do anti-whiplash front seats
affect rear seat occupants, infants in child seats, or
children in booster seats, especially in compact
sedans or SUVs where there’s maybe 30
inches between the front and rear headrests? I’m pretty tall, so
my seat is always set to its rearmost position. So those anti-whiplash seats. Right. So there’s two– Explain what those are. Yeah. So there’s really two
kind of technologies that are anti-whiplash. The first is called
active head restraints. Most of them are
mechanical in that when your lumbar area
goes backward in a crash, it pushes the rear head
restraint, actually, forward. So it lowers what they
call the back set. Your neck doesn’t snap back
quite as far because your head restraints come forward. So that’s the first. So, obviously, that’s not
affecting anybody in the rear. The others are anti-whiplash
technology kind of like Volvo’s WHIPS system– their whiplash
protection system. In that case, not only is that
front head restraint and front seat back coming up and
forward a little bit, but then it goes back a
bit to kind of cradle you and let some of that energy
absorb before you snap yourself back forward, which is
where the whiplash comes. But those distances,
to answer the question, aren’t really intruding
into the rear passenger area sufficiently that there’s
cause for concern. So moving– [INTERPOSING VOICES] Right. So it’s not going to hit– Right. It’s not going to hit the person
behind, or the child behind. Correct. And keep in mind, they’re
moving backwards, too. Everything’s going to
move towards the impact. So in a rear crash, everybody’s
moving backwards at pretty much the same rate. There have been stories of
seat backs failing, however, which is maybe where
this question comes from, and, literally, the front
occupant folding into the child and actually hitting their head. So there’s been those
stories out there. That’s not from the
whiplash protection system. It’s kind of interesting. Maybe there should start to
be some requirements on seat backs. Correct. Whether they should all be
hard plastic backs or something like that. Particularly because they
are an impact point for kids. Yeah. Absolutely. So we’ve advocated
for all of this. And, you know, there’s this
whole push in industry, in policy areas,
legislature, that we need to start looking
at that rear seat. We’ve done so much to
protect front seat occupants. We need to bring it
to the back end then. Put some of those advances. Yeah, especially– Pre-tensioners, load
limiters, some sort of airbag. Yeah. It’s not even required to have a
seat belt tensioner back there. No. No. So we’ve talked about that. I think I’m in the back of a
Lyft or an Uber or something, you put kids back there– the back seat is important. It’s furthest from
the impact, but it’s time to move back there and
put some technology back there. For sure. Next question is from Spiro, who
says, if you were buying a car, would you prefer a
fully loaded Mazda CX-5, around $37,000, or not
so loaded but new BMW X3, around $42,000, $44,000? Is a fully loaded Mazda CX-5
at least equal to a lower end BMW X3, or is the luxury
class in a different league? This is a nice philosophical– This is a good one. It’s a really
interesting question. I like it. I have a great story. Really interesting–
you’ve got a great story? Let’s go with it. No, no. I absolutely just got this
question, but it was Q5. So I have a friend who
literally texted me– Audi Q5. She’s driving a Q5. I love it, but I’m looking
for something less expensive. So I’m interested
in what you have to say because I’ll tell you
what my advice to her was. Well, what’s
interesting about that is that Mazda is kind of
like this less expensive BMW. You know, that’s kind
of what Mazda is. We’ve made that comparison. Yeah. And so it’s interesting that
this person is thinking, well, what if I got the full
blown version, [INAUDIBLE] version of the CX-5. How does that compare to the X3? And, you know, I’m torn myself. I would– if you get
the higher level CX-5s, then you get the
2.5 liter turbo four cylinder, which has 227
horsepower, which is still a little less than the X3s 248
horsepower turbo four cylinder. But we’ve driven it, and we
haven’t tested that that CX-5 with that engine, but– We got some time with it. We got some time with it. And, you know, the Mazda’s
interior– the CX-5’s interior is so nice these days and
you get so many things. You know, of course you get
AEB with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear
cross traffic warning, adaptive cruise control. Then things like Apple
CarPlay and Android Auto come standard on
the top version. And BMW actually charges you a
subscription for Apple CarPlay and doesn’t even
offer Android Auto. Right. Ventilated front seats,
heated rear seats, heated steering wheel. And if you look at the X3
with all-wheel drive, then now you’re looking at about
a $6,000 difference just to start. And BMW’s kind of
known for making you pay extra for things. Yeah. So here’s what I would say. The BMW is going to be
probably a better driving machine, in terms
of just the handling and stuff like that and the
way the drive train works. But I’d save the money
and have a version– because the X3’s going to
feel a little like you’ve missed some features, right? You’re missing some features
with that when you start just with the base version,
whereas the CX-5’s is going to feel completely
luxurious and loaded, and you’re saving
money doing it, and it still is a
great driving vehicle. So personally, I’d
go with the CX-5. Which was exactly
what I told her. And she didn’t throw– she had thrown out,
you know, Lexus NX, and should I look
at some others? I said, why don’t you look at
a loaded Mazda CX-5 instead of Audi or anything like that? And CX-5– excellent
reliability. Yes, that’s true. Super reliable. BMW– average. Average. So you’re going to probably
have less problems with it, be super happy. I would totally go for the CX-5. Yeah. I actually did the same thing. A buddy of mine from
college, he asked me– his wife was looking
for a new vehicle. And he said, you know,
what about this one, this one, this one? And I said, well,
also definitely go try the Mazda CX-5. They went and drove it that
day, they bought it that day. Yes. Nice. Because it has sporty
character of those mainstream– I’ll say mainstream SUVs. You’ve got to drive it. Yeah. And as far as the
philosophy is concerned, this one’s a little tough
because it’s putting two really great cars against– [INTERPOSING VOICES] Right. And then the Mazda CX-5 really
kind of out outclasses– I mean, it would be
a different story if we were talking about
another loaded, non-luxury car. Right. I think there’s another
option, and that is looking at sort of
a certified pre-owned or a used car with some warranty
because those luxury cars tend to depreciate faster and more. Right. Yup. So if you were to look
at maybe an off lease X3, you just got to make sure
that you have all those safety features because they
might not be there. Well, they weren’t standard– They weren’t standard. –up until this
coming model year. Exactly. And some of the same
infotainment system features, especially with
something like the Q5– the last gen Q5’s infotainment
was like out of the Stone Age. But if you go back
two years, you might be able to take– someone
else took a depreciation hit, and then you can get kind
of the little intangibles of the luxury. Yup. But don’t buy based on the
badge, buy based on the car. That’s great advice. Yeah. So we have one last
question, and it’s from Arif from Florida who says, I have
a five-year-old daughter. According to state law, children
need to be in the back seat until a certain age. I was wondering if there were
any exceptions for two seat cars. I’m assuming that Arif’s
car is a two seater and that’s why
there’s this question. That’s why he’s asking. Yeah. So my investigation
was, in Florida, very much like the
state of Connecticut and many other states,
the law doesn’t actually state that kids have
to be in the back seat. It says they have to be in the
appropriate child restraint, but it doesn’t
necessarily say they have to be in the back seat. Now, I will say that is the
recommended spot for safety. If you have a backseat,
put them back there. But even when states
have rear seat laws, they often say “if available.” So to answer Arif’s
question specifically, if you only have two
seats, they are very much allowed to be in the front seat. If it’s a rear facing, which
a five-year-old would not, you want to make sure the
airbag is off that front airbag in that passenger seat. For a forward
facing child, which his five-year-old probably is,
either harness or in a booster seat, push that front seat back
all the way back, give them the most seat room
to that airbag, but leave the airbag on. They’re showing that booster
age kids are actually getting some advantage– some
research– from the airbags. And, obviously,
makes sure they’re belted if they’re in
a booster, and make sure the child seat’s secure if
they’re still in a child seat. How Awesome is it having a
child seat expert on our show? Seriously. We just had a co-worker
just had a kid, and we had experts go and
install that child seat for the first time. Right. Which is pretty cool. Yeah. Is there a difference
between the age of the car? Let’s say this is, like, an
older vehicle with airbags– [INTERPOSING VOICES] So what you’ll see
is a difference in how you shut off the airbags. So early roadsters would have–
literally, you would put a key and it’s a manual shut
off to say airbag off. I remember that. And that may be
in the glove box. More current model
vehicles are actually measuring that
there’s a child there. They will shut off that
front passenger airbag, even for petite
adults sometimes, because their
weight’s not enough. Yeah. It’s measuring
the weight, right? It measures the weight and the
distribution of the weight. Oh, OK. So it knows a person,
a child seat Is there, and will automatically say
“passenger air bag off.” I will sometimes get it if I
put a briefcase or something– Yeah. –or a bag on that
passenger seat. I’ve never seen you
carry a briefcase. I do have a briefcase. It’s just a fashionable one. Oh, excuse me. You wouldn’t even notice it. I’m thinking the old school. Yeah. The old school. ’60s. Halliburton with
dollar bills inside. With my horn rim
glasses and my tie. Yeah. All right. That’s enough. [LAUGHTER] If you have any questions
for us, we’ll answer them. Send them to
[email protected] If there’s a question
you have asked us, we’re going to get to
it as soon as possible. Thanks so much. Check out
for the show notes, and we’ll talk to you soon. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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99 thoughts on “2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid First Impressions; Audience Questions | Talking Cars #206

  1. Better than the previous XV Hybrid, but not by much. Subaru needs to step up their game! #SubaruAmbassador

  2. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be much of a benefit choosing the Crosstrek hybrid. They are using the Toyota Prius electric battery which is a proven excellent hybrid system. You get less space, drone sound and rubber band effect in this Hybrid. Whereas Subaru's regular Crosstrek has more space, no drone or rubber band effect and really mimics the gear ratios really well. Plus the gas mileage is still excellent in the regular Crosstrek at 29 mpg combined 33 highway. It looks like this newer version of the Crosstrek is better than the previous attempt they had. Although they have a way to go before making this a viable option as there are too many compromises on this newer Hybrid. Good but not good enough. Even though your still getting the same AWD system benefits.

  3. "Just remember, Subaru's not really known for their hybrids." Buy a RAV4 LE Hybrid and save yourself the sluggish Subaru compromises.

  4. you seriously think its time to buy a new car every time your car calls for scheduled maintenance .
    not one of you guys said fix it all cars need maintained…….

  5. Ravi from Dallas, The 2007 Camry V6 does NOT have a timing belt, something suspicious is going on here.

  6. Big thumbs up! Love the safety talk. Briefcase banter makes me smile. Love seeing and hearing the personality shine through.

  7. Love talking cars, why wouldn't we want electric cars to take advantage of areas where they maybe superior to ICE cars. Different packaging, lower cowl height, reduced frontal area, lower drag. Also, many people actually prefer one pedal driving (brake regen on lifting accelerator) as opposed to having to go back and forth from accelerator to brake pedal.

  8. Seems to be this fixation on destroying the advantage of a CVT (always having the engine at the perfect RPM for economy or acceleration) by having the CVT fake gears.

  9. I have a Camry with 416 K miles on it. I think the problem is that the guy is taking the car into the dealership. The timing belt and water pump should come together as a kid and be changed at the same time but the dealership is ripping him off by charging him all a cart. That car will outlive him if he finds a better mechanic

  10. My gen 2 Audi Q5 had an optional cargo divider that could hook to the cargo floor or the front of the second row seat as it was folded. It was very strong (and very expensive) but having it was great peace of mind. Mostly used it to keep the dogs where they belong but it got me thinking about the safety issue of cargo in SUVs. I haven't really seen anything similar in any other vehicle nor does Audi even still make it.

  11. I'm either just noticing it or it's a new phenomenon but I keep seeing kids not belted in, either standing between the front seats, or once recently, head out the window like a dog. I'm wondering if we've gone full circle and people are starting to think that in their new safe car belts have somehow become redundant. I'm on the road around the time of school pick-ups so I'm seeing this a lot only in the last six months or so. Are people really this dim?

  12. How do I take-serious someone’s opinion, who wants a car that mimics “operational signs” of a car that is antiquated? Ie a nice silent electric car that makes gas engine noises thru its speakers, Ie a vehicle that has a smooth transmission, but is altered to “have a slight hiccup” to mimic the gear shifting in a conventional transmission…
    I want to listen to a progressive thinker, not a person with a mind stuck on “old ways”

  13. I can't help noticing that when you talk about Mazdas you always hit on the same notes. The fact that they're fun to drive, they look good and they have lots of neat creature comforts. You never talk about their reliability though. Our family has owned two Mazda's over the last few decades: An 80-something MX6 and a 2007 CX-7. Neither one held up long term. The CX-7 required an engine replacement. A rebuilt V6 engine for a CX-7 cost well over 3 grand which exceeds the blue book value of the vehicle. Not to mention the peeling paint and leaky headlights. I tend to judge car companies on how many of their 10 to 20-year-old vehicles I see on the road. I see plenty of old Honda's and Toyotas. Not so many Mazdas. Why do you think that is?

  14. I would also have added buying a Mazda CX-5 vs BMW X3, CX-5 uses regular vs X3 using premium gas. Saving money there too.

  15. That Subaru hybrid system just like last time is built by Toyota, at least the electric part. Subaru however detuned its 2.0-liter flat-four (its engine) to only 137 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 134 lb ft at 4400 rpm, although combined horsepower is 148, just four shy of the regular model.   As CR correctly reports, it is Subaru's AWD system and not Toyota's so all four wheels are always powered, unlike Toyota's.

  16. Keith, I love your input and the "big words" you use. You're getting flak for it a lot recently, but don't stop!

  17. The product manager of the Crosstrek does not get the point why people are moving to EVs. This is just another compliance vehicle. Especially when they could not learn from the last failed hybrid attempt.
    It's such a unique advantage with the all-time and all-wheel drive system plus the plug-in feature that subaru had to offer. It's stunning the distance they went to screw this up.

  18. I had a 2007 Toyota Camry with 4 cylinders. This car is the lemon of Camry. Starts to have suspension problems soon as it passed the warranty period, then brake problems followed. Then these front end issues repeats within 10,000 miles. I can't stand it and finally trade it it at year 5 with 54,000 miles on it. when the third iterations of problems starts to shown..

  19. wow, cr not totally pining over subaru, well you know what guys there still maybe hope for you yet.


  21. That guy with the camry is getting so ripped off with maintenance, I’d bet the car didn’t need any of that stuff.

  22. Jennifer's advocacy for rear seat protection is spot on. I'd say the 3rd row seating needs to be addressed too, where the only system protecting the 3rd row (small kids) are the side curtain airbags. There's no rear "crumple zone", & there have been news reports here in crowed California where the 3rd row occupants were killed due to rear end collisions.

  23. To the guy in Vancouver who wants a Kei car, there are a number of used ones being imported to Canada through the 15 year rule, if you can handle right hand drive. If you can't find what you're looking for that's already been imported, or you're not sure where to start, there are a number of brokers who can import a car for you. Many Japanese cars have relatively low mileage, so even though they're 15 years old, may only have 60,000 KMs or less, which if they were well taken care of is similar to about a 3 year old used car here.

  24. My guess is the Camry needs to go to a independent honest mechanic. Dealerships are out to extract every dollar out of your pocket on stuff the manufacture doesn't require or they are making up issues. Why they recommend you replace your oil every 3,000 miles or your brake pads at 50% is beyond me. I have a 2000 Camry with none of those issues and its extremely reliable.

  25. Praising “fake shifts”, Really??? Hybrids work differently, hybrids sound different, get over it! Next you’ll praise fake motor sounds coming from the radio! 😂 Consumer reports you’re losing it, wake up before you become irrelevant.

  26. Back in Germany I had a Seat Arosa that had 50 horsepower and I drove 100 miles per hour on the German autobahn without any issues. High horsepower cars is a very American thing.

  27. Call me a crazy audio engineer, but why are your side addressed microphones pointed directly at your chest and the end of the microphone pointing at your mic your mouth? Your video production team thinks those microphones are like Radio broadcast mics that point at your mouth, but they are mistaken.

  28. 2:00 I'm not sure if Subaru took the entire system, but a Prius Prime will not start the engine if you have it in Eco mode.

  29. Crosstrek is dangerously slow in all guises. Merging and oassing cars is nerve wracking at best. Not asking for a speed demon but rather a car that can atleast get out of its own way

    For Question number 6, definetly go CX5 or RDX in my opinion, unless you are leasing. German lease deals cannot be beat

    Finally great childseat info!

  30. Love to hear your thoughts on the new 2020 Mercedes Benz GLE. I’m sure you will all have issues with the infotainment system (pretty much a given). Anything more complex than the most basic and idiot proof systems are beyond the comprehension of these editors. More interested in the overall drive, handling, ride, etc. Maybe on next week’s episode?

  31. This was a fun episode. Don't know if I learned anything new, but thoroughly enjoyed the banter and obvious chemistry. Also, that angry kitty-cat CVT impersonation by Keith was priceless. Thank you for that:-).

  32. I would have to agree with the initial impressions that the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid doesn't seem to make a ton of sense. It seems half-baked in that the hybrid features don't seem well integrated. I wonder why Subaru didn't turn to their corporate cousin at Toyota for hybrid technology. If Subaru had came out with a Crosstrek Hybrid that drove smooth and didn't have the space compromises in the cargo area, and was efficient, I think it would do better. Perhaps Subaru should have done a hybrid version of the Forester or the Outback, which has more room for all of the hybrid gear and a higher price point to begin with to absorb the costs?

  33. Ravi should try a different shop for his Camry. Brake lines, engine mounts, struts, etc. at 130k? No. That car has either had a VERY hard life, or he's being sold repairs he doesn't need.

  34. One correction about the CX-5….it was stated it had 227 hp with the turbo 4. That is on regular fuel. It has 250 hp on premium.

  35. The main (but unstated) selling feature of the plug in and all electric vehicles is that they will qualify in many states for a sticker to drive as a solo person in the carpool lane. This can save someone an hour or more in commuting each way.
    In England plug in hybrids qualify to be exempt from congestion charges in big cities. Most drivers of them never even plug them in.

  36. False shifts are ridiculous. The engine should run at its optimal rpm for how the vehicle is being driven.

  37. MSNBC taught us how a 0 diversity isn't the best growth strategy. Will CR ever host any POC (that stand for "People of Color") ?

  38. There's even Kei car campers. Obviously space is limited. But they have features like a pop-up roof and such. And they even have a small area with a sink for "cooking". But I think the only thing you could prepare are instant ramen noodle cups and dried squid. LOL.

  39. Luxury cars nickle and dime you on otherwise standard features. If you cant get the top trip dont even bother.

  40. Your despicable lies and deception about Tesla amazing Autopilot should be illegal. Hope the SEC fines you for stock manipulation. Consumer report has ZERO credibility.

  41. We're getting 41.3 mpg after 1,650 miles in a Crosstrek PHEV we bought about a month ago. The first 1,100 miles we got 36 mpg, without charging the battery, on a road trip across the Cascades and mountains of Eastern Oregon. Now that we've been able to plug it in at home our mileage has increased significantly to the aforementioned 41.3 mpg, and we've gone as far as 21.2 miles of all electric driving on a full charge. Reduced cargo space is definitely a compromise, but with the rear seats folded down it holds all the gear and luggage the two of us take on road trips. Don't have any issues with the CVT, we actually like how smooth it accelerates and rubberbanding seems to be pretty minimal. So far we're really liking everything about this car.

  42. I'll choose the Mazda CX-5 as well. I've driven it and it's a really nice vehicle to drive, even in base form. Don't get me wrong, the BMW X3 is nice too, but maintainence is way more expensive than the Mazda and not as reliable.

  43. Why aren't more extended-range electric vehicles being made like the BMW i3 REv and Chevy Volt? Nissan has Nissan Note e-power but it is only available in Japan. Will the Nissan e-power vehicles be available in USA?

  44. I bought a new CX-5, Signature in December and this pod cast and everything I've seen and my own experience with it reafirms my choice. It cost about $3,000 more than I was hoping for but it is the equal or better of cars costing up to $10,000 more. Mazda deserves higher sales.

  45. Related to the question about restraining loads in a sedan.. the seat belts can be used either in the child seat restrain mode or not.. and if the object is large with rough edges a towel or rag can be put between the belt and item to protect the seat belt from fraying

  46. You guys most not ever look at European cars sold in Europe . A lot of the cars in Europe have 60 PS . The ford fiesta in Europe is mostly sold with 60 PS , Even a VW UP base model has 60 PS . Many cars in Europe have under 100 HP . In Europe a Car with over 130 HP is a Big motor .

  47. While new cars are great, we need a used EV buyers guide too. Lots of great deals to be had, but we need education on which kind of thermal management each has, is there a heat pump, which cars show least battery degradation in real world data, pros & cons, charging speeds efficiency & range ranked, cargo space ranked & which offer the best transferable warranty ranked.

  48. A PHEV with 17 miles EV range is just pathetic. PHEVs should be EVs with a motorgenerator and at least 50-100 miles electric range, not ICE cars with a small battery.

  49. The English in these videos make them unlistenable. It seems as though 25-30% of the talking is meaningless fill words. Um, ya know, I mean, kinda, kinda like. Perhaps they wanted to sound casual and unrehearsed. Instead they sound as if they had given zero thought to what they would say. Instead of unrehearsed, they sound unintelligent, unskilled and incapable.

    Consumer reports, if you are going to make videos, find people who can utter a sentence without multiple stumbles.

  50. Subaru should have used the Chevy Volt concept — electric car with a gas generator.
    But they are partly owned by Toyota, they have to get the parts from the boss.

  51. The raised rear deck on the Subaru Crosstrek plug in hybrid is similar to the discontinued C-Max raised deck to accommodate the battery, although the C-Max didn't have AWD to get in the way.

  52. 17 miles on the battery.?….the Honda Clairty gets 59….and you can charge the battery off the engine when driving. (Yes I own a Clarity).

  53. Make it a diesel… keep the hp relatively the same, boost the torque and it will increase efficiency. Diesel is only 20% more expensive than regular gasoline and diesels are typically very efficient and relatively long lasting. Subarus in Europe are diesels, so why not the US?

  54. I like the Crosstrek a lot, but that battery installation above an empty spare tire well. They didn't put many engineering hours into the packaging.

  55. Simulated shifts are terrible, although it is a deeply flawed, under-engineered "compliance vehicle" rubber banding is, however a feature, not a bug. If you learn to drive a CVT correctly, you will hate fake shifts. Just learn to accept the correct operation of a CVT so engineers don't have to ruin the ratio map in software to appease dumbass neanderthals.

  56. I have a 5 speed mirage with 74 horsepower and it weighs a lot more than any kei car at 1950lb and a trunk full of 300lbs of tools. Americans are sissies if they are afaid to drive an underpowered car.

  57. Looks like the Crosstrek Hybrid is a somewhat better effort than the previous iteration – but that really isn't saying much (dealer's commentary was hilarious). And I sure hope it can do better than 35 mpg in real-world driving, since with a light foot a bare-bones Impreza can do the same.

    Oh, and Keith's vocabulary is brilliant!

  58. Near the middle of the video I felt like I was at a Stapp Car Crash conference or similar SAE event, and was pleasantly surprised. I am frequently impressed by the breadth of knowledge the hosts display. Looking forward to next week where Jake & Jen show how to integrate Madymo with ANSYS.

  59. CR has lost its soul. They used to be a group of engineers focused on testing and producing objective reports. Their leadership now appears focused on cheesy vignettes, reviews that sound like they were written by the manufacture, opinion filled round table chats, and recommendations of vehicles any sound mechanic would advise you not to purchase. They now resemble shows for degenerates and mental midgets, The View and the Today Show. They are marketing and hipster focused and have locked the true scientists away replacing them with infantile talking heads. Their leadership used to resemble Einstein but now Bill Nye the “science” guy is their cultural icon.

  60. You guys have clip on mics on these people, so you should ditch the distracting desk mics. Showing elaborate mics like this for podcasts is a silly cliche — the clip-on mics (which all three have in this video) give sound that's 99.5-percent as good and they are far less distracting.

    FWIW, I'm both a video guy and a car guy.

  61. that Camry could have had an undisclosed issue like an accident. don't know enough about that cars history to say anything definite. although struts and mounts and alternator and timing belts and water pumps are all maintenance items

  62. I drove a PHEV Mitsubishi Outlander over a year ago, but waited patiently for this Crosstrek. I'm somewhat disappointed. You get a lot more value from the Outlander (and a better warranty). And the non-flat floor with rear seat down makes car-camping a problem (one of the main reasons I want an AWD PHEV with good ground clearance is the opportunity to car-camp with the potential for air conditioning without the engine running on hot summer nights). I'd still prefer a Subaru to a Mitsubishi in general, but it's hard to pony up the cash for this when I know base but still nicely-equipped PHEV SEL Outlanders will be available ~23k after incentives and fed rebate (with a 10yr warranty) at Mitsubishi's hugely-discounted end-of-year sales. So with this slightly disappointing value, I'm now thinking I'll either get the Outlander then, or hold out a bit longer to see the PHEV Wrangler. No doubt that will also be a terrible value, but it also probably has me most excited. If I do end up going with this Crosstrek, Subaru will be in year 2 and hopefully have a flat floor and incentives available that make it a better value.

  63. In the Toyota Lexus electric all-wheel drive system, when the batteries are depleted the
    gasoline engine acts as a generator to provide electricity to the rear electric motor. So the AWD still works even when the batteries are depleted .

  64. CR has become such a disappointment in stark contrast to its objective and scientific focus of the 80’s and before…. far too many cheesy vignettes, most appear to be targeting kindergarteners with their focus on common sense items. If I was on the board, I’d look to fire all of the leadership who lacked an engineering degree from an ABET accredited school and start over rebuilding the culture and focus of the company. Fact based analysis not opinion ladened round table chats. Commentaries on vehicles that didn’t sound like they were reading a car and driver article or a script from the manufacturer, and more time reviewing what actual objective data tells about the vehicle would be a huge step in the right direction. Let the data do the talking and leave the “I think” and “I feel” for shows like the view, Oprah, or the today show. I’d expand the vehicle survey to include those with digital subscriptions as well as hard copy (I’m a digital subscriber but no longer hard copy), and I’d take the salaries of folks like Jack and Jen and invest that into data mining of every single TSA, tech bulletin, and recall, incorporating that in an objective way with appropriate weighting factors to all products, especially vehicles. I’d set a goal of getting anonymous and objective feedback from those who work on cars, and if credible large sample size data could be found, incorporate that into a mathematical rating system CR subscribers could trust. Lastly, a vehicle’s ability to stay out of the junkyard and deliver safe driving to 200k miles and beyond would be weighted most highly in any vehicle rating. The current trend of CR is to comment on subjective opinions of staffers which is of little value to science. Time for CR to get back to its roots or lose credibility forever. That takes change across the board at the leadership level.

  65. 2010 Forester owner I am astounded NOT ONE engineer designing this gen of Crosstrek (on the new global platform) said "The battery impeding the cargo area in the plug-in Ford C-Max was a pain in the ass. Let's NOT do that!" (Better to have had a conventional hybrid option with battery under rear seats)

  66. If you have a short commute in snow county the Crosstrek Plugin starts to make sense. I liked my test drive and with a 5 mile commute each way with AWD for ski trips and camping and $4500 tax credit plus $1500 for my state, it starts to be an interesting value proposition.

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