SUV has Subaru rac­ing into the lead

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - MOTOR GUIDE - By DEREK OG­DEN

IT ap­pears Subaru has backed a win­ner with the new XV, with sales of the small sports util­ity ve­hi­cle up 139.0 per cent for Au­gust, push­ing the maker to be­com­ing the fastest grow­ing top 10 brand in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial VFACTS fig­ures.

Subaru took a gam­ble with the XV, step­ping out of the square with its sharper looks over the soft-skinned ma­jor­ity of the seg­ment and aug­ment­ing this with tech­nol­ogy de­signed to take on con­di­tions other soft-road­ers could only dream about tack­ling.

The sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion XV comes in four vari­ants – 2.0i, 2.0i-L, 2.0i-Pre­mium and 2.0i-S – with a re­duced en­try-level price of $27,990, plus on-road costs, and is the sec­ond Subaru after the new Im­preza to make use of the com­pany’s ac­claimed Global Plat­form, de­signed to pro­vide high rigid­ity, and strength, to­gether with less weight. Rolling re­sis­tance is re­duced with the help of spe­cially de­vel­oped tyres.

On the out­side the XV uses a de­sign theme based on sharp edges and bold curves pro­duc­ing a solid pro­file and no soft styling.

A strong hor­i­zon­tal bar across the ra­di­a­tor grille is a re­minder of a hor­i­zon­tally op­posed en­gine con­rod and Subaru’s Boxer her­itage, while a sharp wind­screen an­gle, to­gether with a large rear spoiler and bumper, aids aero­dy­nam­ics.

The 2.0i-Pre­mium and lower grades run on 17-inch al­loy wheels.

The new Subaru Global Plat­form has given more in­te­rior width and height to the XV, with added at­ten­tion to de­tail from switches and in­ter­ac­tive dis­plays, and use of qual­ity ma­te­ri­als and su­pe­rior fin­ish.

Dis­plays vary from model to model, with a 6.3-inch colour multi-func­tion dis­play across the range at the top of the cen­tral dash­board pre­sent­ing use­ful and en­ter­tain­ment in­for­ma­tion such as au­dio, air-con, fuel ef­fi­ciency, favourites and set­tings.

The lower part of the screen pro­vides vi­su­als of Subaru’s ad­vanced safety func­tions, in­clud­ing Eye Sight on 2.0i-Pre­mium, auto lights and vi­sion as­sist.

An au­dio screen shows the au­dio se­lec­tion play­ing, with the wide screen en­abling a large amount of text to be dis­played, while tracks or ra­dio chan­nels can be cho­sen by us­ing the steer­ing wheel switch, at the same time view­ing the multi-func­tion dis­play screen di­rectly in front of the driver.

Smart­phones with Ap­ple CarPlay or An­droid Auto, can be con­nected via an 8-inch screen po­si­tioned high on the dash to min­imise shift­ing of the driver’s eyes from the road. Just by speak­ing com­mands to Siri or Google Now, users can text also without tak­ing their eyes off the road.

Mu­sic apps such as Spo­tify, iHeartRa­dio and Tuneln can be en­joyed through a sound sys­tem in­cor­po­rat­ing speak­ers in the rear doors, woofers in the front doors and tweet­ers in the in­stru­ment panel.

Power comes from a new 2-litre four-cylin­der di­rect in­jec­tion nat­u­rally as­pi­rated Boxer en­gine pro­duc­ing 115 kW of power at 6000 rpm and 196 Nm of torque at 4000 revs and is mated with a new light­weight Lin­eartronic con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion with a wider gear range than pre­vi­ously.

EyeSight, in con­junc­tion with adap­tive cruise con­trol acts as a sec­ond pair of eyes for the driver, keep­ing a look-out for any ve­hi­cle ahead and adapt­ing the speed to match the dis­tance.

As with all Subarus, the XV has earned the top five-star safety rat­ing from the Aus­tralasian New Car As­sess­ment Pro­gram, while top-strength struc­tural de­sign will en­sure the car is ca­pa­ble of the high­est rat­ings un­til at least 2025.

The new XV was in­tro­duced to the me­dia ear­lier this year in the Snowy Moun­tains and on a drive to the NSW Coast. Out­side it was brass mon­key weather with tem­per­a­tures in mi­nus sin­gle-fig­ures Cel­sius. In­side, thanks to highly ef­fi­cient cli­mate con­trol, the cabin was cosy without be­ing claus­tro­pho­bic.

Out on the bi­tu­men, ac­tive torque vec­tor­ing had the XV turn­ing bet­ter than be­fore with im­proved response and con­trol, while the all-new lane keep­ing as­sist and re­verse au­to­matic brak­ing when park­ing un­der­lined the car's fives­tar safety rat­ing.

Noise and vi­bra­tion were kept to a min­i­mum, while the four-cylin­der en­gine was re­fined in its power de­liv­ery, roar­ing only when pressed hard. The CVT, lighter than pre­vi­ously, again worked smoothly and without fuss across a wider range of ra­tios, of­fer­ing the chance for the driver

to be­come more in­volved with a sev­en­speed man­ual mode.

On route there was a stop-off in a quarry where X-Mode and hill des­cent con­trol were given an ex­ten­sive work­out on treach­er­ous in­clines without the ve­hi­cle flinch­ing.

Un­der nor­mal driv­ing con­di­tions Subaru con­stant all-wheel drive makes sure power is di­rected to the wheels with most grip, while ground clear­ance of 220 mm and X-Mode makes it eas­ier for driv­ers to safely nav­i­gate bad roads, slip­pery sur­faces and steep in­clines at the sin­gle press of a but­ton.

This co-or­di­nates the en­gine con­trol unit, trac­tion con­trol and ve­hi­cle dy­nam­ics con­trol to im­prove driv­abil­ity and wheel grip. VDC also uses hill des­cent con­trol to slow the ve­hi­cle on steep in­clines and leave the driver to con­cen­trate solely on steer­ing.

Fuel con­sump­tion is claimed by the maker to be 7 litres per 100 kilo­me­tres on the com­bined ur­ban / high­way cy­cle with car­bon diox­ide emis­sions put at 159 g per kilo­me­tre for a Euro 6 rat­ing. Min­i­mum fuel re­quire­ment is 90 RON. The test ve­hi­cle topped 12 litres per 100 kilo­me­tres in town and half that in mo­tor­way cruis­ing Sales fig­ures tell the story, with more and more buy­ers tak­ing ad­van­tage of the XV’s unique styling and high level of stan­dard equip­ment, es­pe­cially in the Pre­mium model, which is sur­pris­ingly well priced.

SELLING FAST: Sharp looks set the Subaru XV apart from ri­vals in the small SUV seg­ment.

FIVE STAR CRUIS­ING:Subaru re­mains the bench­mark in AWD.

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