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Originally published March 28, 2013 at 6:05 PM | Page modified March 29, 2013 at 12:56 PM

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Subaru unveils its first hybrid

The company’s first gas-electric hybrid gets somewhat better gas mileage than the conventional Crosstrek and has stop-start technology that shuts down the engine at red lights to save fuel. It has all-wheel-drive capability and the same 8.7-inch ground clearance so it can go on trails.

The Associated Press

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NEW YORK — Subaru is coming out with a gas-electric hybrid crossover SUV for the crunchy-granola crowd that wants to save fuel but still haul kayaks to the river.

The Japanese brand, which specializes in all-wheel-drive vehicles, unveiled the 2014 XV Crosstrek Hybrid on Thursday at the New York International Auto Show.

The company’s first gas-electric hybrid gets somewhat better gas mileage than the conventional Crosstrek and has stop-start technology that shuts down the engine at red lights to save fuel. It has all wheel drive and the same 8.7-inch ground clearance so it can go on trails.

The model sports a 2-liter Boxer engine with 148 horsepower, plus a 13.4 horsepower electric motor and a continuously variable transmission that keeps the engine revving in an optimal range for gas mileage and power.

The 13.5 kilowatt nickel-metal-hydride battery is under the rear floor, while the electric motor is under the hood just behind the transmission.

The hybrid version weighs about 300 pounds more than the gas version. The electric motor starts the car under light acceleration and starts the gas engine once the car is moving. The car can run on electricity alone in low-speed situations.

The model has hybrid badges on the front edges of the front doors and tailgate, and different wheels and taillamps. Also new is a green-pearl exterior color exclusive to the hybrid. The front grille shutter system cuts wind drag at highway speeds.

The passenger cabin is slightly smaller, as is the cargo space of the hatchback.

Subaru expects 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. That’s 3 mpg better in the city than the gas version with an automatic transmission, but only 1 mpg better on the highway.

Prices will be announced closer to the car’s arrival at dealerships this fall.

Market data from Scarborough Research show that 7 percent of adults in the Seattle/Tacoma area currently drive a Subaru, ranking fourth out of 77 market areas.

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