Just in time for the bad weather Hannah Gordon test drives Subaru’s XV 1.6 Lineartronic
What is it? The XV has the same proportions as a hatchback but with the added benefit of more ground clearance, coupled with a superb All-wheel drive system it makes the XV a great off-roader.
Who is it aimed at? Subaru has an extremely loyal following, the XV isn’t as large as an SUV but is arguably more capable. Small families and anyone who lives off the beaten track will find the XV very useful.
Styling? The XV has some nice design touches with sleek headlights and a sloping roofline taking it back to its hatchback type styling, there are also plenty of black plastic adornments which make the XV look bulkier than a normal car. The Subaru XV certainly won’t turn heads with its design but its more of a useable vehicle than a fashion statement.
Under the bonnet? More and more manufacturers are turning their backs on diesel-powered cars and Subaru are one of them, only a 1.6 litre and 2.0-litre petrol engine are available. The naturally aspirated engines are paired with a CVT automatic gearbox, no manual gearbox is available. The 1.6-litre petrol that was on test managed a pretty sedately 0-62mph time of 13.9 seconds and a top speed of 109mph.
What about inside? The interior is well designed, it is created with usability in mind which means the switchgear is chunky instead of fashionable. The inside feels like it would withstand the same rough treatment as the exterior and a suitable seating position is easily found. The XV benefits from an 8.0 inch touch screen infotainment system, DAB, Apple Car Play and Android Auto all come as standard across the range. Satellite Navigation isn’t available in the base spec vehicles, but through smartphone connectivity, you may not need it.
Although space is ok within the cabin the boot space area isn’t the largest in its class, 385 litres with the seats up keeps it a long way behind its rivals.
On the road? With the XV being permanent all-wheel drive it holds the road very well, its an extremely capable off-road vehicle helped by the addition of an X-mode and its 220mm ride height. Unfortunately on the road the XV’s engine and gearbox let it down, the CVT gearbox doesn’t change up quickly enough and you find acceleration turns into a war of revs as the gearbox just doesn’t respond. The 1.6-litre engine is also very sluggish, this means the everyday driving is hampered by the lack of acceleration. The XV could do with a turbocharged unit that allows more torque, the XV also wouldn’t make a practical choice as a towing vehicle.
How safe is it? A top score of five stars in the Euro NCAP test makes the XV an appealing family vehicle. As standard, the XV also has a long list of safety features including hill descent control with X-Mode, rear vehicle detection, blind-spot monitoring, lane change assist, high beam assist and rear cross-traffic alert. The Subaru EyeSight driver assist technology claims to be a significant factor in reducing accidents and comes as standard across the range.
What are my options? With the XV you can either spec to an SE or SE Premium, these are available for both engine choices too, the Premium benefits from Satellite Navigation, leather 8-way adjustable seats and a power sliding/tilt adjustable sunroof. The 2.0-litre petrol vehicles get 18” alloys as standard over the 17”.
Will it break the bank? In a world where economy is king the XV with its non-turbo engines is always going to struggle against the competition, the 1.6-litre engine has emissions of 157 g/km of CO2 and a combined mpg of around 38. The 2.0-litre engine manages slightly better with emissions of 155 g/km and 40 mpg. Subaru resale values as also slightly worrying with large depreciation costs.
So the verdict? The XV is a good looking car that excels in an off-road environment, Subaru fans will love it’s smaller than SUV dimensions and all-wheel-drive system which ensures sure-footed handling. The interior is well designed and features plenty of safety equipment as standard. The problem arises when you get behind the wheel and need to accelerate, the engine paired with a slow-reacting gearbox makes for a noisy journey, the engine revs too high before a gear is selected and it just becomes annoying. The small boot also doesn’t help the appeal of the XV.
Why you’ll buy one? All wheel drive, safety features, good size
Why you won’t? Lack of a diesel option won’t suit everyone, small boot, noisy
Max speed: 109 mph
0-62 mph: 13.9 seconds
Emissions: 157 g/km
Model price range: from £25,325
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP: 5
Fuel type: Petrol
Fuel Economy (combined cycle):35.3 mpg
Length: 4465 mm
Width: 1800 mm
Height: 1615 mm
1st October 2019