VALUE The outgoing XV 2.0i was $29,240 with CVT; the new one undercuts that by $1200. Buyers wanting active driving aids will need at least the 2.0i-L at $30,340 (up $100). The new 2.0i-P variant adds a power sunroof and satnav for $32,140. The range-topping $35,240 2.0i-S ($300 cheaper than outgoing model) has 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, power driver’s seat and leather trim accents. TECHNOLOGY Default gear includes smartphone mirroring, tyre pressure monitor and an off-road mode that, up to 40km/h, softens initial throttle response to avoid wheelspin. All but the base model have autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-departure assist. Top-spec 2.0i-S adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and automated reverse braking if the rear sensors detect an obstruction. PERFORMANCE The direct-injection engine is new; outputs are virtually unchanged at 115kW/196Nm, though peak torque kicks in earlier and then hangs on longer. Weight is up by about 45kg, offsetting any output gains. Subaru has responded to criticisms of the CVT by including a series of steps under moderate acceleration, helping to avoid the dreaded droning. DRIVING There’s a lot of fun to be had in the XV, if not spirited straight-line acceleration. The high ride height isn’t an issue in terms of passenger comfort and the brakes are brilliant. Its ability to hang on in the turns is up there with the class leaders and it changes direction with all the alacrity of a politician reading an opinion poll. DESIGN Subaru has worked to differentiate the XV from the Impreza it is based on. In this generation that includes new front and rear bumpers, wider and longer body, larger opening for the cargo area and 26mm more rear legroom. The extra size expands the turning circle from 10.6m to 10.8m, while boot space grows from 310L to 350L. Inside there are bigger vents to improve airflow and reduce cabin noise. The 2.0i gets a 6.5-inch infotainment screen (up from 6.2), while in other variants the screen grows to eight inches, up from seven inches, and is touch-sensitive.