Subaru’s trail­blazer XV ups ante

Southern Telegraph - - Wheels - Mark Hig­gins

Things change quickly in the car game.

In 2012, when Subaru in­tro­duced its orig­i­nal XV, pas­sen­ger cars out­sold SUVs. To­day, the op­po­site is true. A new ver­sion of the XV will soon ar­rive on our shores.

The longer, wider, se­cond-gen­er­a­tion XV sits on an all-new global plat­form that will un­der­pin all Subarus in the com­ing years and made its de­but on the Im­preza in 2016.

One en­gine and gear­box combo, a longer wheel­base, more power, a new sus­pen­sion lay­out, to­gether with new lev­els of safety, tech­nol­ogy, re­fine­ment and im­proved of­froad abil­ity will fea­ture across four model grades; the en­try-level 2.0i, and 2.0i-L, mid-spec 2.0i-Pre­mium and top dog, 2.0i-S.

New from the ground up, the Subaru XV wears a fresh ren­der and though it re­tains the slop­ing roof of its pre­de­ces­sor, its new de­sign is edgier, with more prom­i­nent style lines along its flanks.

The lower body is clad with a tex­tured plas­tic fin­ish ex­tend­ing over the wheel arches which, in Aus­tralia, will have 18-inch al­loys un­der them.

Buy­ers will have a choice of eight colours and cloth or leather trim depend­ing on the grade.

There’s one en­gine choice in the new Subaru XV, a newly de­vel­oped, 2.0-litre di­rect-in­jec­tion, nat­u­rally as­pi­rated Boxer en­gine pro­duc­ing 115kW at 6000rpm while torque re­mains the same, 196Nm at 4000rpm.

Although of­fi­cial Aus­tralian fuel fig­ures haven’t been an­nounced, Subaru has raised the com­pres­sion ra­tio, im­proved gas flow and added a stop/start func­tion for greater ef­fi­ciency.

Miss­ing on the se­cond-gen­era- tion Subaru XV is a man­ual trans­mis­sion, which over the past year ac­counted for just 12 per cent of sales.

In its place is a new de­sign Lin­eartronic Con­tin­u­ously Vari­able Trans­mis­sion with a seven-speed man­ual mode, auto stepped speed con­trol and shift pad­dles on the steer­ing wheel.

It is one of the smoothest and smartest CVTs go­ing and feels like a con­ven­tional auto. A 6.5-inch (2.0i) or 8.0-inch (2.0i-L, 2.0i P, and 2.0i S) graph­i­cal user in­ter­face screen houses the easy-to-use, third-gen­er­a­tion in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem that fea­tures Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid Auto along with im­proved voice recog­ni­tion.

Fea­tured in the XV 2.0i-P and top-spec S model is a Tom Tom­pow­ered sat nav.

All mod­els come with a sixs­peaker au­dio sys­tem.

The XV is yet to be tested in Aus- tralia but Subaru is con­fi­dent it will score a five-star ANCAP safety rat­ing.

All mod­els will get an elec­tronic park brake as stan­dard.

Other safety kit in­cludes trac­tion and sta­bil­ity con­trol, airbags and anti-lock brakes.

Mak­ing its first ap­pear­ance on the Subaru XV is the X-Mode driver as­sis­tance sys­tem, which, when en­gaged, makes driv­ing on slip­pery sur­faces much eas­ier.

Hill de­scent con­trol au­to­mat­i­cally kicks in when X-Mode is turned on and once you have set the speed (up to 40km/h up­hill, / 20km/h down­hill) as part of the cruise con­trol, the elec­tron­ics op­er­ate the power and brak­ing, leav­ing just the steer­ing for the driver to do.

The black cloth front seats are com­fort­able and of­fer good up­per body and thigh sup­port.

The rear seat is equally com­fort­able and an ad­di­tional 26mm of rear leg room has been added.

Head­room in both rows is very good.

Aus­tralian XVs will get a space­saver spare tyre. The elec­tric power steer­ing is well weighted and pro­vides plenty of feel on the black top and loose sur­faces.

Subaru has given the new XV a much-ap­pre­ci­ated boost in power and while torque re­mains un­changed from its pre­de­ces­sor, the XV scoots along with ac­cept­able ac­cel­er­a­tion.

Pic­ture: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

The new Subaru XV steps up in style, safety and re­fine­ment.

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