Last year, at a Subaru UK off-road driving event, we got to experience the Subaru XV and I will attest it surpassed all that was expected of it – in just a few weeks however, an all-new XV will be launched, offering a much more capable vehicle.
Before we head to the press launch of the new XV in a few weeks time though, we managed to get our hands on the first car to arrive in Northern Ireland, a week before Christmas, for a first-drive on local roads and maybe even the first UK drive.
Being the second car from the Subaru stable to utilise the Japanese manufacturer’s ‘Global Platform’ – this latest XV model really is an all-new car, sharing the cutting edge re-design of the body and chassis alongside the all-new Impreza which we also got a pre-launch drive in recently [read Impreza review here].
This chassis, advances performance and delivers superior driving capability, while furthering Subaru’s commitment to building the safest cars on the road. It works in tandem with Subaru’s low slung ‘boxer’ engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive to create a more enjoyable, safer vehicle.
The Subaru Global Platform gives confidence in every aspect of driving and has been engineered with two main objectives: Safety Performance and Dynamic Quality.
Body strength has been increased by 40% compared to the outgoing model allowing the frame structure to absorb more energy in the event of a collision making the XV safer whilst dynamic quality encompasses improvements that create increased straight line stability, reduced noise and vibration and improved handling and ride quality.
At a glance, the XV hasn’t changed much, but has clearly received a face-lift giving it a more purposeful, rugged appeal to those who enjoy the active outdoors. Front, rear and the roof-line have all been under the knife making the XV much more SUV looking than ever before.
Depending on engine, the XV either receives 17” or 18” alloy wheels as well as retaining the 220mm ground clearance from the model of old, which allows the XV to actually be very useful off the beaten track thanks to the addition of X-Drive and Hill Decent Control.
The boot of the new XV is also a little larger; especially with the rear seats folded flat and inside the XV has been given a more refined, dynamic look with richer feeling materials than before whilst heated seating comes as standard with orange stitching featureing heavily around the cabin.
On top of the dash is a 4.3” multi-information display that always looked very gimmicky in the Subaru range, but this too has underwent an update, refreshing it with better graphics and making it worth looking at now.
Two engines, two trim levels and just one gearbox is on offer with the all-new XV starting from £24,995 for the entry level 1.6L SE, rising to £28,495 for the top of the range 2.0L SE Premium model, before options.
The Subaru XV is heavily equipped from standard including EyeSight technology (as can be seen in the below image) which we have experienced many times in the past at various test events and it is arguably the best system of its kind in the world consisting of six elements.
These elements include – adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, lane sway and departure warning, lane keep assist and lead vehicle start alert. Subaru rear vehicle detection features alongside X-Mode & hill descent control for your safety on-road and ability off-road.
Keyless entry & push button start system adds convenience with an 8” touch-screen incorporating Apple Carplay & Android Auto along with LED steering responsive headlights which include high beam assist.
An SE Premium, costing £2,000 more than the SE model, receives in addition – satellite navigation, leather seats, an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat and sunroof – I feel the SE Premium model is the one I would be opting for personally.
Using only Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT gearbox, the XV is a comfy cruiser as much as it is at home in the mountains or indeed four-up on the school run around town.
The 1.6L model tested would benefit from the turbocharger as fitted to the Levorg – I found it a little lacking personally. That said though, I have never been a fan of normally aspirated transport and I guess as a mode of family transport, it will suit many buyers’ needs.
I can see the 2.0L engine being a little more popular due to increased power and torque, whilst the CVT transmission won’t be to everyone’s taste, it gets the job done and I think it is a great ‘box for those who don’t think they are the next Colin Mcrae.
Based on a similar short road-test in the new Impreza, I much prefer the XV, and I can’t pinpoint exactly why – perhaps the higher road stance gives the notion of an ever safer, more commanding drive – anyway, keep an eye on my fuller review after the press launch.
Words and Photos: Graham Curry
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