For ages, women have been gen­er­ally averse to this car brand. it’s time to make a stand

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Top Read - WORdS by Dinzo Tabamo PHOTOGRAPHy by PaUL DEL RoSaRio SHOT AT PRaDERa VERDE, LUbao Pam­PanGa

‘The all-new Subaru XV is stiffer, roomier, and filled with new tech­nol­ogy’

On the sur­face, my of­fice­mate Maria is the ideal wo­man. Smart, at­trac­tive, re­spon­si­ble, and well-raised, she’s more Maria Clara than Ozawa—way, way more. She’s the type of girl you can bring home to meet your par­ents, and your mom will hap­pily be­gin imag­in­ing beau­ti­ful grand­chil­dren, and your dad will praise you for in­her­it­ing his taste in women.

But her flaw was re­vealed to me when she re­counted how her brother had asked for car ad­vice. Kuya was up for a car plan, and he wanted to know more about the Subaru XV. It was in that tone that in­di­cated he had al­ready made up his mind—he just wanted val­i­da­tion. Maria said the XV is an okay ve­hi­cle, but her next line de­fined her per­son­al­ity: “What do you need all­wheel drive for?”

I re­al­ized then that she was too good to be true: She was a typ­i­cal girl, wary of car brands that are not ‘safe’ choices—that is, not Toy­ota, Honda, Ford, and so on. To her, Subarus are widow-mak­ers, full of un­nec­es­sary fea­tures that will brain­wash nor­mal men into think­ing they are Tommi Maki­nen and thus make or­phans of their kids.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard of fe­male re­sis­tance to this Ja­panese brand. A for­mer Subaru mar­ket­ing man­ager told me about a cou­ple who walked into his deal­er­ship one day, want­ing to buy a tur­bocharged Forester. The mis­sus took one glance at the hood scoop in­take, and de­clared it un­safe be­cause it had a turbo. With­out miss­ing a beat, the man pointed with prac­ticed ac­qui­es­cence at the non-turbo Forester. Happy wife, sad life.

I will never pre­tend to un­der­stand the fe­male mind, but what is it about

Subaru that seems so threat­en­ing? Es­pe­cially with the XV, this harm­less cross­over that is one of the few nat­u­rally as­pi­rated mod­els in the car­maker’s lineup? To gear­heads, it’s prac­ti­cally a mom-mo­bile.

Since the first XV en­tered our mar­ket in 2012, it has be­come one of lo­cal Subaru dis­trib­u­tor Mo­tor Im­age Pilip­inas’s best­sellers. The rea­son for its suc­cess serves as an ex­am­ple of what makes crossovers so ap­peal­ing: It han­dles mostly like a car, but the owner en­joys the prac­ti­cal ben­e­fit of hav­ing a raised ride height. It has a non-turbo boxer en­gine that can haul pas­sen­gers and cargo around town eas­ily, but—like all Subarus save for the BRZ—it has sym­met­ri­cal all-wheel drive that gives it grip and sta­bil­ity.

As this first gen­er­a­tion bows out of the show­room, it leaves be­hind a rep­u­ta­tion as a great day-to-day ve­hi­cle. I’d be on the look­out for a well­p­re­served pre-owned unit if I wanted to buy a sec­ond­hand cross­over.

Then again, the all-new XV does makes a com­pelling case for an up­grade if you plan to pur­chase brand-new be­fore the loom­ing 2018 ex­cise tax in­creases. Subaru’s new cross­over is stiffer, roomier, and filled with new tech. When we drove it at a me­dia event in Tai­wan back in June, what we ex­pe­ri­enced was a good fol­low-up to a model with few flaws. And now, we get to have solo time with it the cross­over at the Pradera Verde de­vel­op­ment in Pam­panga.

Look­ing at this XV for the first time, you might think it’s just a facelift

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