Review: Subaru XV

Review: Subaru XV
Review: Subaru XV

It’s not the sprightliest kid on the block, but the new XV adds a newly inviting cabin to its practicality and space

Subaru says it has spent a billion dollars developing this car. What they mean is that the latest XV is the first to be built on the company’s new Subaru Global Platform (SGP).

All Subarus in the immediate future will be based on this new platform, which according to the newly-stiffened-up Japanese version of the European NCAP tests is very strong indeed, recording 199.7 points out of 208 – the highest-ever score in Japanese NCAP history.

Helping it to achieve that result is a crash structure that can absorb 40 per cent more energy than before, 70-100 per cent more anti-twisting stiffness, plus the most cutting-edge development of Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance suite, including pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist.

Subaru XV 2.0i Lineartronic

Price: £25,000 (est)
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol
Power: 154bhp
Torque: 145lb ft
Gearbox: 7-spd CVT
Kerbweight: 1920kg
Top speed: 116mph (est)
0-62mph: 10.2sec (est)
Fuel economy: 44.4mpg (est)
CO2 rating/BIK: 140g/km, 27% (est)

The new platform also drops the car’s centre of gravity by 5mm and gives it more rigid suspension mountings, reducing body roll by 50 per cent and boosting off-road ability.

This is all good stuff from this appealingly different manufacturer, even if it’s all going on under the skin. More evident to the naked eye is the big leap in interior materials quality and assembly, and in the cabin environment. This was never a strong Subaru suit, so things could only really go one way, but the improvements are as pleasingly obvious as they are welcome. XV passenger can now enjoy the ambience on its own merits rather than on the basis of it being a workmanlike rather than an overtly luxurious car interior.

Even so, the XV’s crossover status means it has to deliver on the everyday needs of a family and it does well in the important areas of space, which is exceptional for both passengers and cargo; refinement, which is almost too good if you’re a fan of the flat-four engine’s offbeat thrum, as it’s now considerably subdued; and safety, courtesy of the aforementioned EyeSight safety array.

In addition to that you get standard four-wheel drive with torque vectoring and a benign chassis offering plenty of safe, predictable understeer and steady stability, if not much in the way of throttle adjustability. Ultimately, there’s not really enough zizz in the engine for that. You do benefit from the same lofty 8.7-inch ground clearance that the old XV had, and an eight-inch infotainment screen.

So, not the most dynamic crossover on the block, but nevertheless the SV remains a refreshingly compact, useable and individual machine.

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