Subaru are renowned for four wheel drive vehicles that range from turbo charged petrol rally inspired saloon cars right up to the country gentleman’s diesel favourites that will accommodate a few buckets of meal for the herd or a shotgun and a couple of Spaniels.
When getting a call to test this Subaru XV I was somewhat out of touch with the brand however as I hadn’t picked up that they were now in the crossover market since 2012 when the XV was first launched and this was exciting for me as I have driven a plethora of Subaru models over the years with all of them very pleasing in their own ways.
This five seater hatchback was introduced to fill a gap in the Subaru range that has never been filled and indeed will go up against stiff competition such as the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, Hyundai ix35, Audi Q3 and BMW X1 but with a permanent four wheel drive system as standard on all models this give the XV an edge against the rest when it comes to motoring in Ireland.
There are also limited choices when it comes to the mechanicals however this is with good reason as Subaru have a proven track record, so why change a good thing? There is one petrol and one diesel engine available, both two litre and both producing just shy of 150bhp with the petrol engine having an optional CVT automatic gearbox whilst the diesel is only available in six speed manual.
The diesel engine with manual gearbox seems to be the best all round choice against the petrol model with slightly better drivability and usable power however the boxer diesel engine can get a little noisy at high revs, this isn’t a complaint though more so an observation as in reality it isn’t that loud.
Chassis wise the driving experience was enjoyable for a “go anywhere” car as Subaru claim, it’s not a hot hatch when taking a spirited B road jaunt, however within the crossover category the XV is about right for a “lifted up” car and compared to other in its category it really is a go anywhere car that can easily absorb muddy lanes, fields, ruts and bumps with ease.
Coming inside the main bonus was one of the most comfortable leather heated seats I have ever had the pleasure of sitting on whilst driving, so comfortable and soft with just enough support. Standard equipment is adequate with the base level S coming with heated seats, auto air conditioning, front fogs, 17in alloy wheels and DRL’s. The SE gets cruise control, dual climate control, privacy glass and rear view camera as well as Bluetooth and iPod connections. The top model is an SE Premium which further adds leather, sunroof, keyless entry, sat nav and engine start button.
There is plenty of room for a family of five inside the XV and the boot although not huge for its class is more than adequate and will take a set of golf clubs, a buggy or three holiday suit cases with ease. With the rear seats down there is a pretty heft load capacity that isn’t completely flat but highly usable none the less.
Words and Photos: Graham Curry