XV hits the spot
Soob’s subcompact SUV is complimented by sub-par performance
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.