Subaru is resting quite a few bets on the new XV being a success alongside the new BRZ coupe, the firm hopes that the pair will almost double current sales in the UK. Being such an important car for the firm, its fitting that we should have a look at this new crossover in a bit more detail.
However, this is a test with a difference I wasnt able to drive the car, but my links with the Proven Subaru dealership in the town of Haslemere in Surrey meant I was allowed to inspect their showroom model in finer detail.
So, without further ado, here are my findings on the new XV.
Following the new design language that debuted on the latest Legacy, the XVs design is both flowing and aggressive at the same time, with a large chrome surround on the grill, wraparound front headlights and a chunky rear view. Its not the most stylish or visually striking car in its class, but its still a good design nonetheless. We especially like the 17 inch wheels, which are diamond cut and look really nice.
Like cars such as the Audi A6 Allroad, its possible to distinguish its off-road pretentions from the lofty ride height and the chunky black trim making up the wheel arch extensions and the rear bumper. Even in the dark blue thats showcased in the pictures, we reckon it works fairly well in giving the XV a tougher look to it.
The XV is also, whisper this, a preview of what the next Impreza will look like. Lower the ride height a bit and remove the black trim pieces, and you essentially have the replacement of the current Impreza hatchback.
When compared with the sort-of striking looks of the exterior, the interior is a bit more sedate. Theres a slight increase in interior quality, with a nice array of soft touch plastics on the top of the dash, but the rest of the cabin is still made out of cheap looking materials that diminish its billing as a premium product. That being said, its still built to a good standard, the dials are easy to read and the ergonomics are impressively sound.
Theres decent room all-round for people, with good leg and head room in the front and back, though space may be tight for taller passengers. The seats are mostly large and comfortable enough for most people, but the middle chair is a bit on the narrow side. Also, the large transmission tunnel means that there isnt really anywhere for the middle passenger to put their feet.
At least the boot is of a good size at 410 litres, its one of the largest in its class, and its boxy shape also aids practicality. The rear seats can be folded down to increase luggage space even further, but theres a steeply sloped ledge in between the boot floor and the back of the bench, which may pose a few problems.
There are three engines currently on offer, all in the flat Boxer configuration that makes up a huge portion of the Subaru brand identity. Theres a pair of petrols and a 2.0 diesel which, according to the official stats, offer competitive economy figures (43, 40 and 50 mpg respectively) and are amongst the cheapest engines in their class to run.
All cars come with Subarus trademark permanent all-wheel drive system, which Subaru regularly features in various promotional events that compares it to rival systems. Unlike some 4WD mechanisms, its in constant use (i.e. both axles are always provided with power) which is certainly useful if you d ever want to take the XV off-road.
For now, the diesel engine only comes with a six speed manual confusingly, perhaps, only the petrols come with a CVT automatic. However, its believed that an automatic that can cope with the diesels torque output will be revealed in the not too distant future.
The XV comes with a new ETC (Everything Taken Care) plan, which provides up to 7,000 worth of aftercare support for three years. Terms and conditions vary, depending on the circumstances, but the plan does feature , among other things, storage of winter tyres, replacing the diamond cut wheels if they get damaged and any excess repair cover up to 300.
The new XV does have the makings of being a small hit for Subaru the crossover market is booming at the moment, and this new car appears to have its own unique merits. Overall build quality may be a bit of an issue, but the XV has an appealingly robust feel, the fuel economy is impressive for the class standard and, with prices starting at just over 21,000, its also affordable for a crossover, if a teeny bit expensive.
There are more luxurious and desirable rivals on the market, and some buyers may not like its focus on being a dependable workhorse instead of a premium status symbol, like competitors such as the Audi Q3 and BMW X1. Then again, the Nissan Qashqai isnt the most luxuriously appointed car in its class, yet its been a roaring success.
Its impossible to make a final judgement, as it wasnt possible to experience the car from behind the wheel. However, from what I was able to look at, coupled with the first reviews that are starting to filter through, its safe to assume that the Subaru XV is a decent all-round car.
I wouldnt go so far to say that itll set the crossover world by storm, but the cars broad range of abilities, plus its appealing qualities and enticing aftercare plan, means the Subaru XV is still worthy of your attention.
Check out our full guide to the Subaru XV here.