Subaru XV 2.0i-S combines all-road versatility with excellent value, technology and drivability
But what happens if you want to get off the beaten track for say, a weekend getaway but you don’t want the bulk of a full-sized SUV or even a Subaru Outback? The answer, according to Subaru, is the Subaru XV.
The Subaru XV range starts with the base XV 2.0i which is priced from $32,488 and prices kick off at $39,917 for the flagship XV 2.0i-S.
Basic drivetrains are shared with the Impreza – a 2.0 litre naturally aspirated Subaru Boxer engine that develops 115kW @ 6000rpm and 196Nm @ 4000rpm that is mated to a constantly variable transmission (CVT) with seven “steps” that drives all four wheels.
The key differences between the Impreza and the XV are that the XV adopts a more rugged and pragmatic persona. There’s Subaru’s X-Mode system, which coordinates the engine’s power and torque outputs, the AWD system and brakes to ensure that the car has maximum grip on slippery surfaces, such as muddy bush tracks.
There’s also a raised ride height – the Impreza rides 130mm from there ground, whereas the XV has 220mm of ground clearance and then there’s the chunkier 17 inch alloys and body cladding, just in case you get too close to some fauna during your adventures – it’ll probably protect against shopping centre car park dings, too.
Specification wise, the XV 2.0i-S is more or less identical to the Impreza 2.0i-S, and that’s not a bad thing, because you get a stack of gear as standard. Standard equipment includes Subaru’s EyeSight system with adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, a reversing camera, a host of airbags, leather trim with heated front seats, satellite navigation, touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and a sunroof.
Whilst the basic interior is pretty much the same as Impreza, which means ample room for passengers front and back, excellent use of high quality materials and good build quality, Subaru has injected the XV’s cabin with its own distinct personality courtesy of multiple colours throughout the cabin. There’s orange and copper highlights, that contrast the light coloured leather and dark grey materials. It mightn’t be to everyone’s taste, but the colour scheme certainly gives XV 2.0i-S its own refined but rugged feel.
People often buy SUVs for their commanding driving position, which allows them to tower over drivers in conventional cars. The downside is that SUVs usually have tall, boxy bodies with a high centre of gravity, which generally means that road manners and dynamics can often leave a little to be desired. Not in the Subaru XV. No.
Subaru has taken a conventional hatchback body, given it an SUV-style ride height – you can still see over the top of mere mortals – without compromising driver satisfaction and handling. The XV is genuinely pleasant to drive, the steering is well weighted, the ride is supple without being fidgety or uncomfortable. A rewarding to drive SUV.
The 2.0 litre Boxer engine develops 115kW @ 6000rpm and 196Nm @ 4000rpm and it’s always smooth and generally pretty quiet. It doesn’t quiet seem powerful enough, however, and at times, the CVT slurred and whirred to keep the engine performing at its peak. This means the engine can make itself heard, especially when it has to heave the XV up steep hills with four adults on board, or you need to overtake briskly.
There are steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, should you wish to change through those seven artificial gears yourself.
Subaru cites a combined fuel consumption figure of 7 litres per 100 kilometres, but we found 9 litres to be more realistic, even with the start/stop system activated. The start/stop system isn’t have bad either – as far as fuel saving measures go – as it quickly fires up the Boxer four as soon as you lift your foot off the brake, and there’s a handy display that tells you how much fuel you’ve saved whilst the car has sat stationary in traffic.
Sale or no sale?
Sale. The Subaru XV 2.0i-S is a bit like a Swiss Army Knife. Capable, great to drive, feature packed and well made. And if you’re in the market for a small SUV, definitely worthy of a place on your shopping list.