Subaru's crossover covers the best of both worlds.
Although the Subaru XV may look a little like a mini-Forrester it’s really a pumped-up Impreza, which explains why it handles much more like a sedan than an SUV.
The concept of the XV is a compact SUV which sits low and rides high and early sales indicate Subaru is onto a winner with its latest addition to the line-up breaking the 1000 mark in its the first month, almost as many as the all-conquering Forrester.
It shares the classic Subaru features, including the horizontal Boxer engine and all-wheel-drive, but it has a couple of new tricks too.
The auto stop-start which turns the engine off when the car is stationary is a nice nod to keeping fuel use and emissions down and if the environment is a prime concern, its flash multi-function display lets you know how green your driving has been.
There are three options for the XV – the standard 2.0i, the 2.0i-L (fancy air-con, sat nav, sunroof and few other bits and pieces) and the 2.0i-S (heated front seats, flash headlights and a stack more luxury trimmings).
Both the automatic and manual versions are swift and smooth for gear changes but there does seem to be something lacking in acceleration. The manual comes out better in this respect as you avoid the slight delay and the gears are just so perfectly positioned.
It’s not that the XV is that slow off the mark. Any perceived shortcomings in acceleration may simply be because it suffers with comparison to other, more souped-up, Subarus.
Economy not land-speed records is the main focus here anyway, along with comfort and a nod of the head to adventure, which is where the all wheel drive comes in and definitely does the job when it comes to handling and gripping the road.
The all round vision is excellent and improves performance on and off the road and should negate the need for the myriad safety features which gave it a five star ANCAP rating.
Even though the XV is at the smaller end of the market it doesn’t feel like it. There is plenty of room to spread out and the luggage space is all most people will ever need.
There are no real complaints. It’s a thoroughly practical car which is far better value for money than many behemoths on wheels out there which never get used to their full potential.
One word of caution however, choose the colour carefully.
The orange paintwork does not sit well with the mechanically-styled alloy wheels (otherwise a really nice unique touch) and made it look a little more like a Tonka toy (admittedly a pretty cool one) than a grown-ups car. With a different colour scheme however the appearance is much more serious.
In silver it looks far classier proposition and enhances the stylish shape.
When the biggest whinge for a car is when one of the colour options is a bit loud, you definitely know it’s a hit.
Fast facts: Subaru XV
Engine: 2-litre four cylinder petrol
Power: 110kW (@6100rpm)
Torque: 196Nm (@4200rpm)
Fuel consumption: 7.3 litres per 100km
Towing capacity (with/without trailer brakes): 1400kg/750kg
ANCAP safety rating: Five star
Pricing: From $29,490* (man)/$30,990*(auto)
*Plus usual on-road costs.
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