Neither as swoopy as the Legacy nor as rugged as the Forrester, the XV looks non-offensive and is ideal for people who want the looks of an SUV but in a smaller, more manoeuvrable package
PLAYING multiple roles is what lots of us do on a daily basis. Father, husband, golf buddy, employee . . . the list goes on. Think of the Subaru XV Crossover in the same manner. It's a multi-purpose urban use vehicle with light off-roading capabilities.
In terms of design and size, it sits between the Subaru Legacy and the Forrester SUV. Neither as swoopy as the Legacy nor as rugged as the Forrester, the XV looks non-offensive and is ideal for people who want the looks of an SUV but in a smaller, more manoeuvrable package. Loosely based on a stretched Impreza chassis means generous legroom for rear occupants, although headroom is merely adequate. The driver sits high and visibility to all four quadrants is good while ingress and egress is easy due to the raised seating positions.
The material used in the cabin of the XV, however, is nothing to shout about. The plastics are hard and feel decidedly cheaper than say a VW Tiguan. While the cabin does feel rather utilitarian, thankfully it is feature-packed with niceties, such as cruise control, Bluetooth telephony, keyless entry/ignition and a really nifty display in the centre of the dash which shows the various trip computer functions and rear view camera.
With its symmetrical four-wheel drive and a 2-litre 150hp engine (a 114hp 1.6-litre is available), the XV has the traction to claw out of muddy, soft grass and enough clearance to climb up kerbs - way more likely scenarios than bashing through virgin rain forests that you see in SUV advertisements. With 196Nm put through a Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission), the 1430kg XV is surprisingly light on its feet. Most vehicles equipped with a CVT has that irritating rubber band effect - where pressing harder on the accelerator does nothing but increase the level of engine noise. In the XV, the engine note is muted and the transmission does an admirable job of propelling the car usefully forward. Definitely one of the best CVT ever sampled. As a bonus, fuel economy hovered around a combined 10.5km/l during our test drive - decent for a 1995cc normally aspirated boxer engine.
Coupled with a 60-litre fuel tank, the XV will give you decent range but you probably want to stick to well-paved roads as the ride is rather busy on less than perfect bitumen. Not uncomfortably stiff but definitely not as refined as the Legacy or the Forrester. The good news is that it'll soak up big bumps without a care. And thanks to its rather firm suspension, body roll at up to legal speeds is well checked.
A reliable work-horse. This is what the Subaru XV is about. It'll play soccer mom, grocery hauler, and looks decent at the charity events. It doesn't look repulsive and the ride and interior plastics can be refined. But for daily multi-role purposes, it gets the job done with four-wheel drive, good ground clearance, commanding driving position and decent performance coupled with respectable fuel economy.
Subaru XV 2.0i Premium
Engine 1,995cc four-cylinder boxer
Gearbox Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission
Max power 150 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Max torque 196 Nm @ 4,200 rpm
0-100 kmh 10.7 secs
Top speed 187 kmh
Distributor Motor Image Enterprises
Tel 6417 0300