Subaru XV 2.0i SE Premium Lineartronic.
If there is was a car brand that motoring journalists have a soft spot for, that brand would be Subaru. From the bonkers Impreza to the AWD Legacy, Subaru has built some pretty damn good cars, but in recent years UK sales have waned, with less than 2700 sold in the UK in 2017. Subaru retains it’s customers like no other brand, but what it really need are some new ones, so step forward the updated XV, which arrived at CC&V Towers & is targeted at the still-growing Qashqai sector.
This second-generation XV sits on a new platform which offers customers a little bit more space than previously. Exterior looks are more chiseled than some of it’s competitors, with a typically Japanese look; slanting front bonnet, small front grille, wrap around front lights, large rear hatch flanked by rectangle light clusters & lot’s of black plastic around the wheel arches.
The interior is also familiarly Nippon. The steering wheel is trimmed in leather & there’s lot’s of good quality black & dark grey plastic on offer, but it’s fairly unremarkable. The steering wheel controls feel a little flimsy, but in our test worked absolutely fine.
In the centre of the dash is an 8″ touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, DAB, no Sat Nav on our test model, but Apple CarPlay & Android Auto smartphone mirroring. The system works well. Select Apps from the centrally located button or tracker pad located behind the gear lever & everything you need springs to life. Touch the screen & the large icons respond promptly on the easy to use touchscreen.
Our test car was the XV 2.0i SE Premium Lineartronic, which like all Subaru’s comes very well equipped. Power Windows, Remote Control Central Locking, Keyless Entry & Push Button Start System, Electric parking brake, Two 12 Volt Power Outlets, Two USB connections, Dual-Zone Climate Control, Automatic LED Headlights, Steering Responsive Headlights, Automatic Rain Sensing Windscreen Wipers, Pop-Up Type Headlight Washers, Power-Folding Door Mirrors with Built-In LED Indicators UV Protection Glass: Windscreen, Heated Front Seats, Leather Seats, Front & Rear Side Windows, Privacy Glass for Rear Doors, Rear Quarters & Rear Window, 18″ Alloy Wheels, Sunroof – Power Sliding & Tilt-Adjustable, Roof Rails & a Roof Spoiler.
Safety plays an important role in Subaru’s as well, so the XV sports Subaru’s Eyesight, which includes, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, Pre-collision Throttle Management, Lane Sway & Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection (SRVD) – includes: – Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Change Assist & Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
What the XV does best of all though is to offer buyers proper off-road capability, with X-MODE, full time 4WD & Hill Descent Control, Vehicle Dynamics Control & System Hill Assist. This is where the XV stands above it’s competitors. If you want or need a crossover that can actually drive off-road, then the XV IS the car for you. Think vet’s, rural GP’s, business users who live in hilly or inaccessible regions of the UK & you won’t go far wrong.
Climb aboard & front seat passengers get plenty of head & leg room, but in the rear, anyone over six foot will struggle, especially for head room although there is surprisingly good leg room. The boot offers up 385 litres of storage, less than many competitors, but this increases to 1,270 litres with the rear seats folded flat, to create a useful payload area.
Our test car was powered by a 2.0 litre petrol engine which offers a maximum of 196Nm @ 4000 revs. Although the unit happily pulls the XV along, performance is at best, average, with a 0-62mph time of 10.4 seconds. The XV handles well, coping with a myriad of pot-holes as well as sticking nicely to the tightest bends I encountered on a trip through North Wales Snowdonia National Park. What really lets it down though, is the CVT automatic gear box, which like all other CVT’s, has a tendency to make the drive feel like a saggy elastic band, sending the revs through the roof when you put your foot down over hilly roads & also when accelerating from 50-70 mph on the motorway. The CVT box also means that the XV comes with below average combined fuel economy of 40.9 mpg. Indeed, with a lot of undulating Welsh roads travelled, we averaged a disappointing 30.2 mpg, so don’t expect much more than mid-thirties on your daily commute. CO2 emissions of 155g/km won’t appeal to the tax man either.
So, what do we actually have with the XV ? For those of you who like me drive almost only on urban or motorway roads, then it’s poor fuel economy, high emissions & average passenger space may not be for you. However, if on the other hand, you need to regularly get to work or to the shops via muddy unmade roads or over hills in the Winter, the XV would be fantastic, offering as much off-road capability as far more expensive cars, all within a user-friendly, well equipped, extremely safe package. And at a reasonably priced £28,495.
A Siberian Winter 3/5