The all-new Subaru XV crossover has hit the ground running with a sharp increase in sales over its predecessor. Based on the new Impreza sedan and hatch, the XV comes in four main variants, starting with the 2.0i, which shares many features with upper-spec models but lacks the excellent Eyesight driver assist package which includes automatic emergency braking.
Priced at $27,990, it’s a little more expensive than other entry-level small SUVs, but it does come with a permanent all-wheel-drive system that allows it to go where many of its competitors won’t.
- The Subaru XV is essentially a high-riding Impreza, so you get the same, attractive looking dashboard and features as that found in its sedan and hatchback relatives, such as the 6.5-inch touchscreen, a second multi-function vehicle information screen, and a multi-function trip computer display in the gauge cluster.
- Other standard features include cruise control, climate control, reversing camera, keyless entry/start, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, roof rails, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
- The interior looks good and is well put together using soft-touch materials on top of the dashboard and door trims.
- Handling is better than the previous model. Sharing the Impreza’s new underpinnings, the XV’s higher ride height does nothing to diminish drivability thanks to its active torque vectoring. It’s fun to drive and feels well planted, even on loose gravel surfaces.
- It’s one of the more capable small SUVs as far as rough surfaces go with permanent all-wheel-drive, 220mm ground clearance, hill descent control, and traction from its X-Mode drive mode to help it negotiate steep gravel inclines.
- It’s powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder Boxer engine, which now includes direct fuel injection that helps save fuel and slightly improves performance.
- The cloth seats, with contrasting stitching, look great and are more comfortable than the leather seats in the upper-spec models.
- The rear is roomier than the previous model, with plenty of leg and head room and good vision out the side and front.
- While the looks aren’t a big departure from the previous model, its bigger size suits its proportions that, combined with some aesthetic tweaks, make for a more handsome car.
- While it’s reflected in the price, the lack of Eyesight active safety does make this a lesser offering compared to the other models. The extra $2500 for the next-up 2.0i-L variant is worth the investment if you mostly drive around town. As well as automatic braking, active cruise control, and lane keeping assist, you get a bigger 8.0-inch touchscreen, dual-zone climate control, and electric folding door mirrors.
- It’s not cheap. Thanks to the extra running gear, its $27,990 price tag is $1250 more than the previous model.
- It’s heavier too, meaning the performance and efficiency gains made by adding direct injection are limited.
- While it has reasonable off-road capacity, you wouldn’t want to get a flat tyre in the bush as there’s only a space saver tyre under the boot floor to get you out.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER
Similarly priced competitors include the Toyota C-HR and Mazda CX-3 sTouring, which come with active safety and excellent road manners. The Suzuki Vitara S-Turbo will match the XVs off-the-beaten-track credentials but lacks the XVs all-round polish.