The XV is a new range for Subaru. It fits between the iconic Impreza and the practical Forrester.
The XV competes with the Audi Q3, Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX5 and VW Tiguan type cars and beats most of them in most categories. It seats 4 adults comfortably. Boot space is OK too.
Fuel consumption is very good for an SUV with all the benefits of a high performance 2.0 litre petrol engine. On a trip from Lambert’s Bay to Somerset West I got 7.6 litres per 100km driving at or around 120km/h where appropriate. On my normal route to and from Cape Town on the N2 and parking on the 8th floor of a parking garage I averaged 8.6 litres/100km, but 7.4 on the N2 leg of the journey. So expect to get well under 9L/100km under most circumstances.
The XV has Xenon headlights, almost turning night into day.
Subaru quote 110kW and 196Nm at 4200rpm from the 2.0 litre boxer engine. At 120km/h you are doing about 2200rpm.
I was a little nervous about the 6 speed CVT system. After a day I forgot about it. It not only works like a dream you only hear it when starting or if you listen very carefully while accelerating hard. You cannot hear it when cruising.
When overtaking in a hurry you just press the left hand (-) paddle and it downshifts immediately. It will return to auto mode after a short while.
This is the best cabin yet by Subaru. It is on a par with all its German and other competition and more practical than most. The seats are very comfortable and adjustable. The driving position is just so. Fit and finish seems impeccable. The instrumentation and controls are as they should be.
Materials and colours have been carefully chosen making for a very harmonious and pleasant interior. Lots of nooks and crannies to hold things. Just behind the gear lever is a slot for change and your cellphone. It’s a brilliant touch.
The VX has all the kit. Cruise control, climate control, sun roof, audio and cruise buttons on the leather clad steering wheel, good audio system and a host of storage holders.
The cargo area at the back is 310 litres, which expands to 771 litres when the rear seat is folded flat.
It is a Subaru. The XV is a driver’s car. Do not expect a WRX though. Expect brilliant handling and excellent road holding, especially on gravel. This car is built for gravel roads. The active All Wheel Drive certainly helps. Skid control can be switched off.
On tar there is very little body roll and handling is car like. Brakes are excellent. It goes where you point it. It also goes. Acceleration is good (10.7 to 100), especially for overtaking and top speed is around 185km/h. The car feels wieldy and agile.
The XV takes jeep tracks in its stride. It just laps up the dirt, possibly because it has a ground clearance of 220mm and a very good suspension setup. So not an all out offroader, but you can go pretty far off the beaten track.
I had to look long and hard to find a few niggles.
The spare wheel is a temporary type emergency wheel slightly smaller than the normal wheels. I no like!
The optional GPS ( using TomTom software) is a little difficult to get to know. The odd town’s spelling is not the normal South African spelling e.g. Veldrif is Velddrift.
I was not able to find the night setting, so it was too bright at night.
The medium wave tuner picks radio stations like 567 up, but poorly, due to only being able to tune to 560 or 570, as result it is always slightly off station.
Boot space is just acceptable. Four people and their weekend luggage will be a tight squeeze.
I loved the car. If you were wondering, it is still a Scooby. Possibly the best all round SUV except for the Freelander, but way more economical. Clearly the best SUV under R350 000. The XV will also be a good family car. Economy is good, handling and road holding is superb and space is not bad.
R329 000 for the manual 6MT and R339 000 for the CVT model, which I would recommend. SatNav and leather seats are optional extras.
The VX comes with a 3 year 100 000km warranty and 3 year/ 75 000 km maintenance plan.