Subaru’s trailblazer XV ups ante
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.
The new Subaru XV steps up in style, safety and refinement.