Sunday, March 22, 2020

Winter and the Crosstrek Hybrid

It's been a while since we posted, and have a lot of new information.

Highlights - this vehicle is absolutely fantastic in the snow and ice. Battery life decreases in the cold. Mileage suffers with snow tires and a roof rack.

Snow tires:

We added snow tires to the Crosstrek in November (and took them off yesterday, March 21) In my case I got the Nexen WinGuard Winspike. We went with a 225-60 on a 17" wheel instead of the stock 18" wheels. These were put on generic steel wheels, with tire pressure monitoring sensors. You can see what it looks like in the picture.

Crosstrek Hybrid is great in the snow
Out on an icy, snowy, day
The Crosstrek AWD system is really good for snowy conditions. With Traction Control, X-Mode, Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), good ground clearance and highly maneuverable platform, the car is really quite capable in the snow. additionally, the extra weight of the battery did seem to assist initial traction compared to our non-hybrid Subaru's.

Add snow tires, and it's even better. These particular tires are studdable. There are some areas in the Michigan Upper Peninsula I'd like to visit in winter, and some roads require studded tires, or chains. I did not put studs in this winter, as it never got super cold for the places up North I wanted to visit. 

With the snow tires, extra weight, and standard traction control, I had no issues on days where the roads were bad. I was behind a police cruiser on a day of a significant snow fall, and he was sliding all over the road, as were many pickups, Chargers, Mustangs, other SUV's etc, while the Crosstrek maintained composure, tracking, and braking ability.

If you live in an area with a lot of snow or ice, I would totally recommend using winter tires.


Those snow tires come with a disadvantage, and that was weight. While I do not have a scale to weigh them, swapping the stock tires and rims back on I could tell there was a significant difference between the snow tires and stock tires, and the snow tires were heavier.

Plus, they grip the road well, providing more friction. 

Cars generally get worse mileage in the cold, and hybrid batteries lose capacity in the cold. Also, roof racks and roof accessories increase drag. What this means is that on a long trip, all of those factors really killed the mileage.

Last summer, traveling up North to go backpacking, I still maintained over 37 mpg average. This winter, going 250 miles to Boyne Highlands, with a roof rack, ski rack, skis, snow tires, cold temperatures, and a crosswind, the mileage dropped into the mid 20's.

Again you can view the running mileage spreadsheet, but it's not pretty. Look at the dates for 3/5-3/8 2020.

For me, I plan on only using the roof rack only when I have to, but not leaving it on the car all the time. I think the aerodynamic drag, and efficiencies lost, are worth the hassle. 

I'll be curious to see what the Kayak does to the mileage this summer. 

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Ski
With Roof and Ski Rack

Battery Life:

There are plenty of times it does not run in EV mode.
  • When the battery is nearly depleted.
  • When driving 65mph or higher.
  • When it's exceptionally cold.
  • When running the defroster and some other accessories.
However, in EV mode, I found the distance traveled in the cold was reduced. I did not keep a chart, but my anecdotal estimate is that EV range dropped 3-4 miles when below 32 degrees. 

When in Northern Michigan, there are not many EV car chargers. Boyne Highlands actually has a spot with Tesla connectors, and you can plug in your 110V charging cables.

Charging at Boyne Highlands

That's a wrap:

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid is a blast in the snow. You can't get tit to screw up. Mileage and range do suffer, but we expected it. I did not expect such a huge drop when using the snow tires, roof and ski rack, ouch!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Motor City Car Show presented by Sellers Subaru

Motor City Car Show presented by Sellers Subaru

Today was the annual Motor City Car Show presented by Sellers Subaru. This year's show included Rally driver Chris Atkinson. This is my third time to the show, which is heavy on modified WRX's, plus other performance cars, import and domestic. 

Sellers Subaru is the dealership located in Northern Macomb County. They have a really friendly staff, are involved with the leader dogs for the blind, as well as other pet initiatives. Today's car show was with Michigan Medicine's Rogel Cancer Center, where proceeds from t-shirt and water sales wen to the center.   

Although most of the vehicles at the show were of the sporty variety, there was one pretty cool modified Outback for outdoor activities.

 Enjoy the pictures.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Crosstrek Hybrid Crossbars

Crossbars for the Crosstrek Hybrid

Now that I'm getting used to the Crosstrek, and that SUmmer is in full swing, time to put some crossbars on for the Kayak and stuff and head on out for an adventure.

When it comes to crossbars for the roof, you currently only have one choice, the Thule crossbars for the CrosstrekHybrid. I got my set from my local dealer, and you can see them at this link.

The crossbars were delivered to my dealer within 4 days, so availability seems to be pretty good. 

Their quality is the same as any other Thule product, which is to say pretty darn good. They do not add wind noise when driving (unless you don't put the rubber channel filler in the bottom)

Installation was straight forward, less than 30 minutes total, with the most basic of tools. Speaking of tools, the Allen wrench provided is a pretty soft metal, I'd use a regular hardened steel one if you have it.

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Crossbars
Crosstrek Hybrid Crossbars for roof rack

Below is what you will find in the box.

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Crossbars box contents
Box contents

And the clamps assembled.

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Crossbars clamps
Clamps for crossbar set

Front and side views with the Crossbars on.

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Crossbars front viewSubaru Crosstrek Hybrid Crossbars side view


Adding crossbars will reduce mileage, but so far I have no idea by how much.


There are small rubber pieces that plug the channel in the bottom. These need to be cut to size once you have the crossbars on the car. If you do not install these, the crossbars will make a loud whistling noise as you drive.

And how do they work?

The bummer I did not realize is that the Kayak carrier and clamps from my Impreza are Yakima, and those clamps do not fit a Thule bar. I need to get a new kayak carrier to go with the crossbars. So another week to wait, and another thing to spend money on.

I hope this blog helps provide some useful information to you in some way. Comment if you have any questions, or have done the crossbars yourself.

Installation Instructions

Below are the installation instructions, so you can see what you are getting into:

Winter and the Crosstrek Hybrid

It's been a while since we posted, and have a lot of new information. Highlights - this vehicle is absolutely fantastic in the snow ...