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2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid is a plug-in with real compromises

Subaru's handy compact crossover SUV gets electrified, but not necessarily for the better.

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Chris Paukert
2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
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The 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid is Subaru's first plug-in model.

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The standard Crosstrek's friendly proportions are left intact. 

This model comes with special Hybrid-only blue paint and unique wheels.

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It feels odd that Subaru just calls this model the Crosstrek hybrid, when in fact it's a more sophisticated plug-in hybrid, but it's probably for ease of marketing.

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Open the cargo hatch for the Crosstrek Hybrid's biggest compromise.

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The Crosstrek Hybrid builds on the standard gas car's top Limited spec, which brings with it dynamic LED headlamps, standard Eyesight advanced driver assist tech and other amenities.

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The Crosstrek's ergonomically friendly interior feels like a fair shake until you start getting into the model's costlier trims, when it can start to feel underwhelming.

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Two-tone leather seats are all-day comfy.

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Note how the battery pack raises the cargo floor greatly, creating an awkwardly lumpy floor when the rear seats are folded. 

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Gas Crosstrek cargo areas drop down below the lip height. The Hybrid's battery actually raises the floor awkwardly, creating a shallow cargo hold.

Plus, there's no place for the included charge cable bag.

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This is where you feed the 8.8-KwH battery electrons. 

It only takes about two hours to charge the modestly sized battery, but you only get around 17 miles of electric-only range in optimal conditions.

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Subaru's well-regarded 2.0-liter flat-four returns, paired here to a two-motor plug-in hybrid architecture sourced from partner Toyota.

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Combined system output is listed at 148 horsepower, slightly less than the gas-only model.

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500 pounds of capacity gets sliced off the Hybrid's tow rating, but it was only 1,500 pounds to begin with, so not many people will tow with any Crosstrek anyhow.

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Note the PHEV-specific gauge cluster.

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Subaru's Starlink infotainment has vastly improved over the years, and is now quite simple and friendly to use.

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I only achieved 29.4 miles per gallon in mostly highway driving, but that was with a long list of caveats, including cold weather, a heavy right foot and the inability to charge every day.

In other words, your mileage may vary -- likely upwards.

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Keep clicking or scrolling for more images of the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid.

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