SUBARU HAS THE X-FACTOR
NEW XV SUV CROSSES THE LINE INTO EXCELLENCE
THE XV in Subaru's little SUV is not the Roman numeral for 15.
Rather it's supposed to suggest a crossover vehicle but it really should be Xcellent Vehicle, because it's got so much going for it.
There are four in the XV stable, with not much between the $28,000 base and $35,000 flagship, which is a refreshing change from some brands where a price leap resembling a mobile phone number often applies for the bottom to top of the range.
The XV still looks a lot like the original of a few years ago, and it's probably the biggest in the 'small' market segment and methinks it has the tallest ground clearance.
We had a spell in the base model and second from top Premium, and with not much of a price gap between them, it's largely a case of the buyer's personality.
If you like driving and being in control, the base is probably best. But the Premium – and the other two above the base – come with varying degrees of electronica that do much of the driving, warning and evasive action for the notso-committed motorist of today.
All have the same 115kW/ 196Nm 2.0litre boxer engine and 7-step CVT all-wheel drive, and they're built on Subaru’s all-new global platform, which is more rigid, less prone to vibration and minimises body roll.
There's no diesel or manual shift available.
As for equipment, the 2.0i comes with keyless entry, a 6.5inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 6.3inch multi-function display, Bluetooth connectivity, a six-speaker sound system with AM/FM radio, CD player, cruise and climate control, engine stop-start system, 'XMode' traction, reversing camera, electric parking brake, tinted rear glass, rear spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheels, two 12-volt power jacks, hill start assist, two USB ports, push-button ignition, cloth seats and halogen headlights. Not bad for a 'base' model. The others all have the impressive 'EyeSight' safety system, which includes autonomous emergency braking preceded by warning shrieks if it spots anything too close in front or approaching from the side, a bigger touchscreen, leather seats, alloy pedals, LED headlights and daytime running lights, power driver's seat, 18-inch alloy wheels, and more leather and shiny bits.
The XV now has a longer wheelbase and it's a tad wider, and clever packaging has given it more passenger and cargo room.
The engine is 5kW up in power and runs along easily and with commendable fuel economy. We ended up with 7.6litres/100km after a mix of city, suburban and country driving.
The car has good road manners, improved sound isolation, good comfort and visibility levels and we liked the colours.
All XVs are well finished and now come with extended service intervals that almost halve service costs, and they've actually come down a bit in price.
Impressive. We'd go for the 2.0i, but Subaru expects about 70 per cent of buyers to plump for the higher spec models. Great choice, either way.
Verdict: The XV comes in various colours, including Dutch Racing Orange.