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First drive: Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.

First drive: Subaru XV
Subaru pretty much created the idea of crossovers, which leaves us wondering why it has been so long producing the XV.

 



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| First Drive | Warwickshire, England | Subaru XV |

Overall rating: 3 3 3 3 3

A raised driving position, four-wheel drive and good on-road manners define the crossover segment, all things Subaru has been long good at. It's collected that ability in the new XV, a crossover that's sure to appeal to more than its traditional customer base.

Key Facts

Model tested: Subaru XV 2.0D SE
Pricing: 26,295
Engine: 2.0-litre boxer turbodiesel
Transmission: six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Body style: five-door crossover
Rivals: Audi Q3, Ford Kuga, Honda CR-V
CO2 emissions: 146g/km
Combined economy: 50.4mpg
Top speed: 120mph
0-62mph: 9.3 seconds
Power: 147hp at 3,600rpm
Torque: 350Nm at 1,600- to 2,400rpm

In the Metal: 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Chunky, like a crossover should be the Subaru XV is unashamedly rugged in its styling. Think outdoors enabled Subaru Impreza hatchback riding on high suspension and that pretty much sums up the XV, and it looks good. Contrasting black wheelarch extensions and under-bumper trim all add to the off-road looks, while suspension that's got masses of clearance also helps.

That rugged exterior isn't quite so evident inside, though in typical Subaru manner the plastics are on the more workmanlike than soft-touch end of the spectrum. Even so, the materials are a bit better than Subaru's norm, though you'd have to be a fan of black plastics to really love it. Everything works well though, and the driving position and space front and rear are all good.

Driving it: 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Subaru's boxer turbodiesel engine does makes for an unusual diesel driving experience, not least as it's very refined without the traditional low-rev diesel clatter. It's eager too, with strong mid-range pull and reward at the top end for revving it - most unlike other diesels. Add a nicely mechanical feeling six-speed manual gearbox and there's fun to be had driving the XV. The steering is relatively sharp too, particularly given its lofty stance; while it's relatively roll free in the bends. The trade off for this can be a busy low-speed ride, but at the speeds it so easily maintains it's pretty competent.

Only some wind and tyre noise let it down a bit on the road, though even hurried the trip computer showed a middling 40mpg average. Not exceptional, but pretty credible. It's certainly more fun to drive than a Honda CR-V, and while it's not got the polish its Audi Q3 and BMW X1 rivalling price pitches it against it's more entertaining than both to drive.

What you get for your Money: 3 3 3 3 3

You get a decent amount of space for a start, the XV feeling more spacious than similarly priced rivals. Subaru has sweetened the deal with lots of standard kit, this SE version coming with dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera, Bluetooth telephone connection and cruise control. You pay with an interior that lacks the lustre of premium badged rivals, but it does feel tightly built even if it's not that easy on the eye.

Worth Noting

A five-star Euro NCAP score is a must for family cars today, but the XV performed particularly well across the board. Notably so in the child occupant category with a 90% score - the highest of any car on sale in the UK. If you're carrying kids in the back and want a safe vehicle, this is it. Subaru's ETC aftercare is worth having as it covers everything from parking dings, scratches and alloy wheel scrapes to the cost of the first MOT.

Summary

Rugged good looks, plentiful equipment and an entertaining driving experience appeal in the new Subaru XV, as does that family friendly NCAP rating. The sometimes unsettled ride and uninspiring, if robust feeling, interior do let it down slightly, as does its pricing. Although the promise of hassle-free ownership and attraction of something different do count in its favour, the XV is a Subaru with more mainstream appeal than anything it has built in a long time.


Kyle Fortune - 21 Feb 2012









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2012 Subaru XV. Image by Newspress.2012 Subaru XV. Image by Newspress.2012 Subaru XV. Image by Newspress.2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.

2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.



2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.
 

2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.
 

2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.
 

2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.
 

2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.
 

2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.
 

2012 Subaru XV. Image by Subaru.
 






 

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