Following the success of the Impreza and WRX STi models, the decision to move into the compact SUV sector is an interesting one for Subaru, presenting the XV on a car lease opportunity for all motorists.
Joining what is already a saturated market, the Subaru XV presents stylish, sleek looks, together with brilliant sharp handling, a spacious interior and true rugged design, all to take on the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, BMW X1 and the popular Audi Q3.
The time served permanent AWD ensures that you keep moving in all environments and weather conditions, reflecting Subaru's proud history of maintaining excellent level of grip on all surfaces.
Subaru have a history of placing function before form but in the case of the XV, it seems that the company have rethought to level out the balance, giving it great presence on the road or off it! However, not just looking well, the Subaru XV rides excellently too, offering fun on winding back roads, with the assurance that you can approach any obstacle with no concern or worry.
Offering a choice of diesel and petrol engines, this compact SUV is a reliable choice in any variant, delivering a spacious, comfortable interior that features plenty of practical storage spaces, rugged features and a go anywhere presence that rivals the Skoda Yeti.
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Once on the move, you know you’re in a Subaru thanks to the engine’s characteristic flat, thrumming Boxer engine beat. There’s a single petrol option, a 150PS 2. 0-litre unit available with either a manual gearbox or a 6-speed Lineartronic CVT automatic. Or the 147PS manual-only 2. 0-litre diesel model, the one most XV drivers tend to want. This now manages a slightly more efficient running cost showing than before – 52. 3mpg on the combined cycle and 141g/km of CO2.
There may be more engaging Crossover models but few of them are more reassuring to drive than the XV, thanks to its permanent Symmetric 4WD system that really comes into its own in wet or wintry conditions. This set-up also helps off road too of course, aided by 220mm of ground clearance. That’s not enough to allow you to tackle the Rubicon trail, but it’ll be enough to get most owners pretty much anywhere they need to go.
The XV's basic shape is a fairly faithful representation of the Crossover norm but it's got a purposeful, chunky stance and some very interesting details that have been subtly developed as part of the minor facelift.
More important though, are the changes that Subaru has made inside. The key cabin change is the smart 7. 0-inch colour touchscreen that dominates the centre console and comes complete with Subaru’s latest ‘StarLink’ infotainment technology. As you’d expect, it’s the portal from which you access the six-speaker stereo and the usual ‘phone and informational features, as well as the satellite navigation set-up you’ll find fitted to plusher variants. The screen offers a smartphone-style ‘swipe and pinch’ control function for map displays and houses a standard-fit rear view camera.
Accessibility to the back is helped by doors that open wider than those fitted to many competitor models.
Once inside, Subaru talks of room for three adults, but the high centre transmission tunnel will make that difficult to achieve on all but the shortest journeys. It’ll be fine for three children though.
Out back, there’s a 380-litre boot capacity. If you push forward the 60/40 split-folding seatbacks, the load area revealed isn’t totally flat, but it is as spacious as most owners will need it to be, 1,270-litres in size.
In summary, what we have here is a refreshing change from the whole 'style over substance' approach that seems to characterise so many Crossover models. It’s something Subaru’s never quite understood. And hopefully never will.