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A Cool Little Tough Rookie

When you are the new kid in town, it's a good thing to have good friends. And if your good friend is Toyota, and you've had a successful experience creating the BRZ sports car, logic would dictate that it would be a very good idea to combine their hybrid tech with your legendary all-wheel drive system for your first hybrid. It did, and it does.

The look. Leave it to Subaru to come up with a feel-good look. The Lagoon Blue Pearl paint just melted in the eyes and the ladies in my house. The interior is a bit non-standard, but then again there is nothing wrong and a good bit that's right, with being different.

The fuel. As a plug-in hybride you are going to get the best miles per gallon by religously plugging in. But never fear if you are forgetful, the 2.0-liter, flat-four engine will recharge for you. In the EV mode, the Crosstrek is so quiet they had to add sound when you use reverse so other life forms can hear you coming.

The ride. You will smile the first time you throttle from a traffic light. The Crosstrek leaps from its starting blocks like a track athlete thanks to its instantly accelerating electric motor. And like all Subaru AWD cars it is just downright terrific in wet, snowy, and icey conditions. The melding of the two engines is smooth and bespeaks the overall effortless feel behind the wheel.

The tech. The 8 inch infotainment screen is easily read and used by the proper use of manual knobs, mixed with voice command interface. My favorite is the adaptive cruise control which when once set at the preferred speed keeps track of the vehicle in front of you and adjusts your distance - quite a relief for the right leg on thos long trips.

All in all, the Crosstrek is a very good start for Subaru as this car maker and its loyal fans enter into the hybrid universe.