Subaru XV Review & Ratings
- 15 February 2018
- Author: Nikolas Perseputto
On a Subaru grille badge you’ll see six stars representing the Pleiades formation, the brightest star cluster in the night sky.
For those in the know, those six stars also rather neatly describe the Subaru ownership experience.
Over the last sixty years, forty of them honing all-wheel drive systems, Subaru has built a global reputation for a level of hard-edged engineering quality, robustness and performance that’s brought six World Rally Championship trophies to the company’s Tokyo headquarters.
Trickling Subaru rally car strength and reliability down to roadgoing Subarus has kept whole-life costs low for owners, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the yen-pound exchange rate has recently made the brand rather more aspirational than many British people would like.
But here’s some good news. Big price drops pushed through by the company’s UK operation have brought these excellent products right back within the reach of British fans.
One such product is the XV, a spirited and sharply-styled crossover that needs to be on the wish-list of anyone looking for a top-quaiity Japanese-built SUV at a sensible price.
How sensible? How does £18,995* sound?
“Can I look at the Fifteen please?”
Subaru dealers are patient types. They will always smile when they’re asked this amusing question.
Then they’ll tell potential customers that the XV is the lightest car in its class, with class-leading ground clearance, petrol fuel economy and petrol emissions.
They’ll also mention the equipment levels, which are remarkably high. Check the comparator on this spread to see what you get for your money – or what you don’t get for it, if you choose something else.
Ask a Subaru dealer’what’s the XV like to drive?’ and they’ll most likely stop talking and simply hand over the key. After a weekend trip to Wales in the 2.0 SE diesel you see here, the answer we came up with for this question was’brilliant’.The’boxer’diesel engine has real character and genuinely meaty thrust in the 1500-2500rpm range that, if we’re honest, most of us drive in most of the time. Having six speeds in the gearbox means you’re barely ticking over at a 70mph cruise.
One of the unexpected beauties of the XV is that it’s not too big. If that sounds weird, maybe you need to ask yourself just how big you need your SUV to be.The XV’s door openings are pleasingly wide.
We shoved an unwanted office chair in through the nearside rear door without touching the sides.
The XV has the highest Euro NCAP safety score for child occupant protection in the class. We had
no children on our Welsh trip, but the XV did have to move five ladies from their remote seaside idyll to a town offering more shopping opportunities, along some pretty rural single-track Pembrokeshire roads.
The three in the back made a point of complimenting the space and comfort of the nicely textured cabin, while the two up front positively purred once the heated seats began to work their back-easing magic.
The driver loved the rear-view camera.”I didn’t know what the lines on the display actually meant,” she confessed. “It just seemed to work without me thinking about it.”The abundance of stowage spaces was universally praised too, as was the fit and quality of the materials inside and out. “I think even my brood would have their work cut out trashing this car,” said another.
At the end of our trip the central readout informed us that we’d averaged 45mpg, which was really very impressive considering the mix of load lugging and fast motorway work we’d asked it to do.
We even took it off road. With full-time four-wheel drive, big ground clearance, bounce-off bumpers and sill protectors and chunky wheels, it was hard to ignore the feeling that the XV’s idea of’off-road’was a bit more challenging than the slightly sloping field we drove it on.
In our defence though, it was quite wet.