XV hits the spot

Soob’s sub­com­pact SUV is com­pli­mented by sub-par per­for­mance

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH grah.smith@big­pond.com


The XV was new to the range when Subaru launched the all‒new Im­preza in 2011/12, but you won’t find an Im­preza badge on it.

Yes, it was based on the Im­preza, but the XV was so dif­fer­ent to the small Suby that the com­pany wanted to move it away into its own mar­ket space. Con­ceived as a sub-com­pact SUV the XV slot­ted in be­tween the Im­preza hatch and the com­pact Forester SUV.

It was a sporty look­ing wagon, rid­ing high in the style of an SUV, and came in a choice of three mod­els. The range kicked off with the 2.0i, and climbed through the mid-range L to the burger-with-the-lot S at the peak.

All were well equipped, with the 2.0i even hav­ing Blue­tooth, rear-view cam­era and a sun­roof. Take the step up to the L and you got sat-nav, while those who went all the way to the top got leather trim and heated rear seats.

The safety story was also im­pres­sive, with all mod­els in the range qual­i­fy­ing for a five‒star tick from ANCAP thanks to seven airbags, in­clud­ing full-length cur­tain airbags and a driv­ers knee­bag.

Power came from a new long stroke ver­sion of the Subaru boxer four, this one of 2.0‒litre ca­pac­ity punch­ing out 110kW and 196Nm. Bolted to the back of the new en­gine was ei­ther a six-speed man­ual gear­box, boast­ing a taller top gear for bet­ter econ­omy, or a CVT type auto with six pre­sets and pad­dle shifters.

As with all Subarus the fi­nal drive is through all four wheels. In­side, the cabin is light and airy with good vi­sion out thanks to a higher seat­ing po­si­tion and thin­ner pil­lars. The cargo space is a lit­tle cramped, and the spare is a space-saver mounted un­der­neath the cargo floor in the rear.


The XV is still quite new to the mar­ket, so there is lit­tle to re­port in terms of prob­lems and is­sues, and given Subaru’s over­all rep­u­ta­tion sound­ness of de­sign there is good rea­son to think it will per­form ad­mirably over the longer time.

Subaru’s boxer four can use oil, so it's a good idea to keep a watch­ful eye on the oil level in the en­gine. Owner crit­i­cisms fo­cus on the small boot space, and some knock its lack of mid‒range over­tak­ing per­for­mance.

Some of those who have owned the pre­vi­ous 2.5‒litre en­gine in the Im­preza say the new, smaller en­gine lacks grunt.

To date there has been one re­call of the XV. It re­lated to the rout­ing of the en­gine wiring har­ness on the MY12 mod­els, which could in­ter­fere with other en­gine com­po­nents. At best it could cause the en­gine to idle roughly, at worst it could cause the en­gine to stall and not restart. Check that the re­call has been car­ried out.

Be sure to thor­oughly test the CVT trans­mis­sion dur­ing your test-drive. Take par­tic­u­lar note of any shud­der­ing at low speed or on take­off from a stand­still. Also note any hes­i­ta­tions, surg­ing or other driv­ing is­sues.


At­trac­tive lit­tle Suby is safe, eco­nom­i­cal and drives nicely.

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