I don’t really need to punish myself in looking for testimonials regarding the capabilities of the Subaru XV because two of them are family.
My brother owned a first generation XV and though he wasn’t very much into cars, we had to pry him off of his XV when it had become old and quite worse for wear. My sister-in-law also had a first generation Subaru XV which met an untimely demise when it got T-boned at an intersection, causing it to flip over, collapsing the roof and the insurance deeming the car totaled. My sister-in-law walked out with a few scratches and bruises, while her passenger broke an arm. Considering how terrible the car looked after the accident, it was a miracle that those were the only injuries they sustained. So my father-in-law bought another XV at that time, impressed with Subaru’s safety and structural integrity.
Today, the second generation Subaru XV has grown by leaps and bounds, providing a better, sharper yet safer and more refined ride to customers more demanding and discerning in their purchase. And the XV has grown in sophistication to meet the demands of today’s buyers.
Subaru relies on four core technologies: Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, the Boxer engine, the much-vaunted SGP or Subaru Global Platform, and its latest core technology, Subaru’s Eyesight Safety Suite System. We know Subaru has touted their key technologies and their advantages well enough in the past, but a quick rundown is always a good reminder: the all-wheel drive system provides superior grip, traction, stability and control in the most extreme weather conditions. The boxer engine lowers the center of gravity and improves handling and front-end response, while the Subaru Global Platform further improves the structural integrity, rigidity and stability of all their cars. The result is a sharper, more refined and safer car. How safe? How about a full 5-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash test? Eyesight Technology is literally like another set of eyes helping out: it provides pre-collision braking and throttle management/mitigation, lane departure and sway warning and adaptive cruise control, plus lead vehicle start warning, a useful tool during bumper to bumper traffic and we find our concentration waning or dozing off. Rear cross-traffic alert is also very handy when backing out into a busy street as the system wants you as it automatically and constantly scans and monitors the area behind you and alerts you if someone or something is blocking your way. Add to that traction/stability control, ABS-EBD brakes and seven airbags, and you know Subaru tales safety just as seriously as performance.
For the model year 2021 facelift, the XV gets further enhancements in the form of new LED headlamps with automatic levelling, a 360-degree view camera for enhanced safety, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto mobile phone mirroring and integration for seamless connectivity, SI-Drive, Dual Function X-Mode and new colors, plus stylish 18-inch alloy wheels. So far so good.
What the brochure won’t tell you is how punchy and responsive the Lineartronic CVT feels like, how the revisions made the XV more relaxing to drive in traffic, and how the XV remains generally engaging and entertaining to drive, as the SI-Mode adds another dimension of crispness to the interface of controls between man and machine. I would have loved to try out the dual-mode X-Mode Off-Road Assistance system together with the 220mm ground clearance but lack of time and a suitable venue worked against me. The tight 5.4-meter turning radius did help me maneuver in the XV in my tight townhouse carport. There’s also a healthy 588 liners of cargo space in the rear deck; but drop the 60:40 split-folding rear seats and cargo space more than doubles to a shade under 1563 liters.
Oftentimes the Achilles’ heel of many a Subaru is it’s fuel consumption and I was prepared for the worst. Interestingly, I fared at 7.8-8.2 kilometers per liter in purely city driving. Admittedly this was during GCQ and while traffic was present, it was light and easy. No chance to bring it out to my regular drives down south, though I’m sure it would have fared much better, doing something in the region of 12-14km / liter with my relaxed driving.
NVH refinement has improved, but there’s just enough mechanical engine noise through the cabin to remind you that Subaru is a keen enthusiast’s brand with a deep-rooted heritage in rallying and motorsports. You know you’re not driving some run-of-the-mill mass-market car. The steering is light but offers decent feel, and the suspension despite riding comfortably never seems to run out of answers, be it through the very rough stuff at speed, or tackling corners at speeds best seemingly left to the XV’s sportier siblings, the BRZ, WRX and STI. Get used to the roll, and you realize you have one of the most predictable and communicative cross-overs available in the market. And a very practical and versatile cross-over at that.
The Subaru XV is in a very competitive segment as cross-overs are taking over the traditional sedans. There are many highly capable, stylish and distinct cross-overs but none delivers the overall package the XV does, with a history of performance, enhanced with the latest in safety and convenience technologies. Test drive one and discover what makes a Subaru such a fantastic driver’s car.
A car enthusiast through and through, Botchi Santos believes that different people have different needs. He tries to find the best car for a specific audience, and spruces things up by delving into car culture, helping make the local car community vibrant and enjoyable for all. His passion for motoring is built around a belief that cars are among the top three life purchases.