Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Crosstrek Hybrid Mileage - Part 2

Mileage - Part Deux

In our last post, we looked at what is mostly highway mileage for the Crosstrek Hybrid. On a trip from the Buffalo, NY area to the Detroit, MI area, the highway mileage was 37.4 mpg. That's pretty good considering the regular Crosstrek is rated at 33mpg highway, and the hybrid weighs about 500 pounds more.

What about the mileage after a couple weeks of use?


Around Town Mileage

Mileage just around town will really depend on how far your trips are, and how complete your battery is charged. For me, my office is 15 miles from home, part of that is freeway, and part is surface streets.

For the week of June 2-8, I did normal driving. To the office, to activities around home. For the week of June 9-15 I had to go to a conference in downtown Detroit. This location is about 38 miles from home. 

All told, for the two week period, I put on more miles than I would normally drive, 
562 miles. During that time I used 7.89 gallons of gasoline. Which works out to an average MPG of 71.23, which is pretty damn good. 

At the price I paid for gas, I saved $35.36 in gas compared to an average of similar sized AWD crossovers. I'd like to figure out how much the electricity to charge cost, to get a more realistic value of the savings.


Charging in the City

However, much of my charging was free. Where I was going, I would have to pay for parking. I did find a parking garage across the street from Cobo Hall which had free charging stations in it. Best part is that parking at Cobo was $15 a day and the garage was $10 a day, and I got to charge my Crosstrek.

The GM World Headquarters, otherwise known as the Detroit Rennaissance Center, has four free charging stations out front, if you get there early enough to plug in before the Chevrolet Volts start showing up.


Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Charging at GM World Headquarters
Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Charging at GM World Headquarters

GM World Headquarters / Rennaissance Center
GM World Headquarters / Rennaissance Center
A Subaru at the GM headquarters is not as weird as it may seem. GM once invested about $1 billion dollars into Subaru's parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, taking approximately a 20% share. This was around 1999.

Remember GM once wholly owned Saab as well. They bought about 50% in 1989, and bought the rest in 2000. Their investment in the two companies is how the Saab 9-2x came about. This car was basically a Subaru WRX in some Saab clothing.


Saab 9-2X
Saab 9-2X
Of course, GM sold their stake in Fuji Heavy Industries in 2005. They really missed the boat on what more collaboration with Subaru could have done for them. GM's bankruptcy pretty much forced them to offload Saab too. 

So seeing a Subaru charging at GM is not completely weird, they were once friends.


Want to track the mileage over time?

On the right-hand column, there is a link to a Google Sheets page that I'm using to track the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid's mileage over time. Feel free to check it out from time to time.  Here's the link too. Google Sheets for tracking Mileage


Sunday, June 9, 2019

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Highway Mileage

Crosstrek Hybrid Highway Mileage

Mileage:

The Crosstrek Hybrid has an electric range of around 17 miles, according to Subaru. Once the battery is mostly used up, or when traveling at speeds over 65mph, the gas engine is used. 

The question was asked how is the highway mileage, especially since it's running on the internal combustion engine, ICE, mostly on the highway. Subaru claims highway MPG is around 35mpg for the Crosstrek Hybrid. They rate the regular Crosstrek equipped with the CVT as 33mpg. 

Charging 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
Charging for free at a nearby BMW dealership

When looking at highway mileage, a few factors come into play. Air drag is big, the force on the vehicle because of aerodynamics is a function of the square of the velocity. That is if you double the speed, the air drag goes up by four times. Friction and drivetrain losses also must be factored in. A regular CVT Crosstrek, and the Hybrid will have similar aerodynamics. They will also have similar losses through the drivetrain (the transmission and AWD system). The hybrid tires are "Low rolling resistance" meaning they have a little less friction to overcome than standard tires. 

The hybrid uses an Atkinson cycle engine, versus the Otto cycle. Click the link on the left for a video explaining the difference. Basically, the compression stroke is shorter (or rather, the intake valve stays open longer), allowing for less counter (or negative) forces on the engine due to the compression cycle. These engines produce less horsepower (as Subaru rates the HP of the 2.0L boxer at 137 for the hybrid and 152 for the regular Crosstrek) but typically provide better mileage.

One other factor to consider is weight. Every time you go slightly uphill, or have to accelerate, the heavier the vehicle, the more force that is required. This is physics and nothing can change that. The Crosstrek hybrid weighs about 500 pounds more than a regular Crosstrek. That extra weight can be a problem for mileage. 

This is where regenerative braking and battery charging from the engine help out, even when the battery is mostly empty. If the electric motor can assist the gas engine those times it needs a little push, say accelerating, or doing a slight incline, it will. This will keep from using the gas engine to provide the additional force, saving gas. This is of course, one way many non-plugin hybrids work.

Get to it, what was the mileage?

We will have future blog entries of the mileage from daily driving. However, for the trip home from the dealer in Amherst, New York to Michigan - the mileage was pretty good.

The trip home was 259 miles, and the mileage was 37.43MPG from using 6.92 gallons of gas. This is actually calculated by filling the tank before and after, not by using the mileage readout on the dash. Considering the standard Crosstrek has a highway rating of 33mpg, this is pretty good.

Crostrek Hybrid 6.92 gallons, 259 miles = 37.43mpg
Crostrek Hybrid 6.92 gallons, 259 miles = 37.43mpg

2017 Forester mileage

However, my wife was with me on the trip. We drove back together, driving at the same times, on the same roads, going the same speed. She has a 2017 Forester. Her car, managed, in real life calculation, 35.84mpg for the exact same trip home. 

I maintain the Forester is probably the best deal in that size of crossover. Certainly, there are few vehicles that can match the size, full-time AWD, with anything close to the same mileage.  Plus, all new Foresters come standard with eye-sight. You will be hard pressed to find any other crossover, with collision avoidance, emergency rear braking, adaptive cruise control, at the price of the Forester. Plus you get a good AWD system and the best in class mileage.

2017 Forester 7.226 gallons, 259 miles = 35.84 mpg
2017 Forester 7.226 gallons, 259 miles = 35.84mpg
As time goes by, there will be updates on the mileage, based on how I drive the vehicle. Additionally, I will try and get a feel for how much it actually costs to charge, for comparison's sake.





Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Crosstrek Hybrid Internet Buying Experience

Crosstrek Buying Experience



Purchased from

If you read my other posts, you'll remember that I live in Michigan and bought the Crosstrek Hybrid in New York because there aren't any in Michigan yet, and I could not wait.

I actually purchased it from Northtown Subaru in Amherst, NY. They are located pretty close to the bridge to the USA from the Ontario 405. Jack Cohen was the actual salesperson, and I can recommend him if you are looking in the area. He was friendly, not pushy, and made our time in the dealership pleasurable. My experience with him was better than my experience when shopping for vehicles from other brands in the past. He made our time in the dealership waiting on some paperwork as fun as paperwork can be, almost like a casual conversation instead of a sales conversation.



However, special thanks also go out to Karen, who follows up on internet requests, then passes the leads on to a salesperson, I believe. The car I inquired about had actually just been sold, but she located another for me, and explained how things would work and what to expect. Not only was she a fantastic resource, but I believe she understood and respected how some people (at least me) prefer to use the internet when car shopping.


Five new cars since 2012

I've actually had the pleasure, or felt the pain, of purchasing five new vehicles since 2012. There was:
  • 2012 Grand Caravan we purchased when we gave the 2002 Caravan to our teenage son (yes he was thrilled to have a minivan, I say sarcastically). That 2002 had almost 240K miles when he got rid of it.
  • 2013 Dodge Dart I purchased to replace my Saturn Ion Redline, which was a real gem, 195,000 miles, running great, and it gets totaled from a rear-end collision on the expressway. This would be my last Dodge (even though I got the employee discount at the time) because it had more problems in 40K miles than all of my other six new cars did in about 800K miles.
  • 2015 Subaru Impreza which replaced the Dart that was rear-ended by a Kenworth. I was glad to see the Dart get totaled, even if it did sacrifice itself for my safety. This would be my first Subaru. 
  • 2017 Subaru Forester which replaced the 2012 Caravan when it was hit, in my wife's work parking lot, by a Grand Cherokee. The driver claimed sudden acceleration. It did $14,000 of damage. We decided the kids are older and we really didn't need another minivan, plus the Forester does get about 33% better mileage.
  • 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, because I was in need of a new car when I gave my 2015 Impreza to my daughter when she graduated from college.

In the picture below, you can see the Dart being towed away, again, as the clutch stopped working. The minivan was hit so hard it pushed it almost into the diagonal parking spot. 
Then the Red Impreza, Blue Forester, and Lagoon Blue Crosstrek.


2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid






I Understand Math


I'm a mechanical engineer, with all the stereotypes that go along with it. I am frugal, research major purchases to the nth degree, and I understand math. I have never once in my life made a major purchase just because a salesman asked me if I could, "handle the monthly payment."  It's never worked on me, and probably never will. 

Also, having worked in and with product marketing, inbound marketing campaigns, digital, social and persona-based marketing, I understand a fair amount of how it works. One pet peeve of mine is that when I see a button on a web page that says, "Get a Quote" then when I press it, I expect to get a QUOTE. Maybe they need the answers to some questions, which I normally already know:

  • Buying not Leasing
  • Not trading in a car
  • Not turning in a lease
  • No veterans discount
  • Often qualify for Suppliers Discount (depending on the company)

However, at some point, after the questions are answered, I expect to get a quote. Vehicle price, any discount, dealership fees, etc.  I'm good at math; I can figure out the payment, or use literally one of dozens of websites, programs or calculators to calculate the monthly payment. 

Also, If I fill out the form on their website, and select the box that says my preferred method of contact is email, I really don't want to get a call, while I'm in the middle of a meeting, from a salesperson wondering when I can come in for a test drive. 

This is usually the point in my long opining session when someone will say, "dealers get a ton of requests in for a quote, lots of tire kickers, how do we know you are serious?" - However, in my request, I usually will mention my time frame and seriousness. For example, "My car was just totaled, and I need to replace it in about a week or so." - To me, that shows one is serious and has limited time.

Since I have a short time window, I get the quotes, weigh pros and cons, and only visit and test drive those top few that are the most interesting. These are dealers of different brands, not the same brand, as I try and be openminded to all brands when shopping.

From there I make a decision and go forward. I try not to waste a salesperson's time, and appreciate the same courtesy in return.

In this case, I bought the Crosstrek without test driving it first because I was already familiar with the brand. My Impreza gave me an idea of the interior size, and the Forester gives a good idea of how the extra ground clearance feels. I did investigate some other brands (Buick Regal TourX, VW Alltrack, Jeep Renegade and Compass)

However, I have to say that Karen at Northtown understood my needs. She did not waste my time, and I hope I was not a burden on hers. She contacted me by my preferred method, which was email. She was prompt in replying to emails, she understood exactly what I was looking for, and went out of her way to find it for me. 

Bravo to doing internet sales the right way, or at least doing it the way this customer preferred.


If in Michigan

I also recommend Sellers Subaru in Michigan. I have had a good experiences with purchases and routine maintenance with them. The only reason I did not buy the Crosstrek from them is that they are not authorized to sell it yet.







Monday, June 3, 2019

Why and how the Crosstrek Hybrid

How did I end up here?



Introduction

Hello, my name is Jeff, and I own a Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid. In fact, I'm quite possibly the first person in Michigan to own one, since as of May 31, 2019 when I bought it, they were not available for sale in Michigan. 

This is our family's third Subaru. We also have a 2015 Impreza and 2017 Forester, and here is my long tale...

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Finish college, need Car

Basically, I had been driving the red 2015 Impreza since I got it in 2015. This Impreza was replacing a 2013 Dodge Dart which was totaled when it was hit by a Kenworth. (true story, for another blog entry). I liked the Impreza because it was AWD, reliable, efficient, and I could get the Kayak on it without needing a step ladder.

My wonderful and beautiful daughter (I know I'm biased) graduated college, with "highest distinction" (I'm still biased) from the University of Michigan in 2019, and needed something more reliable than the 2003 Neon that was her high school car, and is falling apart. So I decided to give her my Impreza and get something for myself.

2015 Subaru Impreza Sport and Daggar Kayak


Deciding what to get

The hardest part is deciding what to get, and how much to spend. Since it's only me in it most of the time, smaller is fine. Besides my wife drives the Forester for times when a little more space is required.

My requirements basically were:
  • AWD
  • Over 30mpg Highway
  • Can carry my Kayak
  • Can carry camping gear
  • Can carry bike 
  • Fits in garage
  • Adaptive cruise was a definite want
  • Decent value, decent price for what you get
Some vehicles considered
  • Jeep Renegade, but it's almost too small, and a bit tacky inside.
  • Jeep Compass, not a bad option. Not very unique though. Price really adds up once you get AWD and higher trims.
  • Buick Regal TourX, good horsepower, but expensive to get certain options, and it has less ground clearance with larger overhangs. Meaning it's not very suitable for even minor offroad adventures.
  • VW Alltrack, good all-around design, performance, and size.  I didn't care for the interior and dash. This is a vehicle probably in need of a refresh soon. 

Plus, I believe the Subaru AWD system is superior to the AWD systems of the above vehicles. 

I could get another Impreza but wanted to change things up, and maybe get a little more ground clearance. I didn't want a Forester as our family already has one, though I do like the new Forester Sport. I like the Crosstrek, and was deciding on which trim to go with. 

Other reviews mentioned how the Crosstrek Hybrid has a little more oomph when using the gas and electric engine at the same time than the standard Crosstrek, and since the WRX engine is still not available in the Crosstrek, I figured this would be the next best alternative. It's not fast, but it seems fine for how I drive. It maneuvers around and parks as easy as the Impreza. It has good efficiency. It does lose some cargo space, but I think I'll be fine, and again, I always can swap with the wife's Forester if I need a bigger vehicle for something. 

Theoretically, the heavier weight will make it even better in the snow, and the torque available early from the electric motor will aid with offroad adventures.

But it's pricy

The Crosstrek Hybrid is pricy. However, with the $4,500 tax credit, it is not much more than a fully loaded Crosstrek Limited, which is the trim I would have gotten. (My hybrid does not have the only optional package of sunroof/nav/Harmon Kardon.)

So that's how I decided to get the Crosstrek Hybrid.

Finding One

Making a decision and getting one are two different things. I live in Michigan, when this was written, the Crosstrek Hybrid is not available in Michigan yet. It's available in states which have accepted zero-emission vehicle standards like California, and New York. 

One thing many people don't know unless you are a Michigander, is that if you drive through Canada, you can get to New York quicker than going through Ohio and Pennsylvania, and it dumps you right by Niagara Falls. Thus I was able to find a hybrid in Amherst, New York, which is just outside Buffalo. 

So we made a deposit and eventually picked it up (more details on that in a separate post) on May 31st, 2019. Which is why I believe I'm probably the first Michigander with a new model Crostrek Hybrid (not counting the previous hybrid they made in 2014-2016.)






Sunday, June 2, 2019

Introduction

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid 

Introduction: June 2, 2019


I picked up my Lagoon Blue Crosstrek Hybrid on May 31m 2019. Since they are not yet very common, especially in Michigan (that's a post all on its own) I thought I'd start a blog about my experience. 

I welcome questions and hope the comment spammers take a break and go somewhere else. Telling the spammers now, I delete the spam comments.


2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

This blog will mostly be about my experiences with the Crosstrek Hybrid, however, if someone would like to be a guest blogger about their crossovers (any brand), or about hybrids, or something closely related, let me know. We can see where this thing goes. 

What probably won't be here are a lot of modifications. No lift kits, extreme tires, engine swaps, etc. If that's your thing, that's cool, but I probably will be keeping things stock.

Jeff

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 ...