XV leaves you with no re­grets the day af­ter

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - NEWS - Mark Hinch­liffe

THE day af­ter a solid work­out or a very phys­i­cal mas­sage is usu­ally painful.

Ev­ery mus­cle seems to hurt more than be­fore you had the mas­sage.

It’s the same af­ter driv­ing a WRX STI. They ride so stiffly they pun­ish kid­neys and spleens a day or two later.

Not so the stan­dard gar­den­va­ri­ety Im­preza.

Now Subaru has launched an XV model vari­ant that seems just right for rough roads, with­out be­ing a pain in the neck the fol­low­ing day.

The XV fea­tures plas­tic flared mud­guards that give it a cer­tain rally-ready look.

To go with that rally in­spi­ra­tion is a 30mm in­creased ride height, re­quir­ing Subaru to tweak the sta­bilis­ers, spring rates, damp­ing force and rear sub­frame bushes to cope with the higher ground clear­ance.

The re­sult is a smooth ride on most sub­ur­ban sur­faces and the abil­ity to soak up big­ger-thannor­mal bumps out in the bush.

The XV also gets a bit of cos­metic surgery with a new grille, bumpers, roof rails, fog lamps, 16-inch al­loy wheels, an ex­haust pipe cover as well as a rear spoiler.

But don’t let those al­loys and spoiler fool you. This is a very tame hatch.

It is pow­ered by the same two-litre four-cylin­der boxer en­gine as the R, RX and RS, not the 2.5-litre turbo boxer from the WRX, let alone the steroid­charged STI.

It has fig­ures of 110kW and 196Nm, which feel as fee­ble as they sound com­pared with the WRX’s 195kW/343Nm and the STI’s 221kW/407Nm.

We drove the five-speed man­ual, which is listed from $27,490, while the four-speed auto is an ex­tra $2000. Pric­ing places it right be­tween the RX and RS.

The man­ual trans­mis­sion worked well, but leaves you won­der­ing how soppy the auto must feel with this en­gine. The XV is value packed with fea­tures such as USB au­dio con­nec­tion, cli­mate air­con­di­tion­ing and is Blue­tooth ready. A fac­tory sun­roof is avail­able for $1500.

As ex­pected from Subaru – whose en­tire fleet can boast a five-star crash rat­ing – safety and se­cu­rity are para­mount. Fea­tures in­clude elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, anti-lock brakes, elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion, brake as­sist, six airbags as well as DataDot se­cu­rity paint.

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