New Subaru XV Crossover Breaks New Ground

Subaru, the World-renowned Japanese car manufacturer, refers to its all-new XV model as a ‘compact, all-wheel-drive SUV that is as sure-footed and reliable around town as it is in the countryside’.

The original Subaru XV was launched 6 years ago, and this all-new model retains the name of the original, but everything else has changed. The new XV is built on the new Subaru Global Platform, which significantly enhances safety, ride comfort and agility. A Symmetrical AWD (all-wheel-drive) System is standard across the range and is equipped with X-Mode for enhanced drivability on poor road surfaces and gives real SUV capability.

When initially viewed, however, Subaru’s family-oriented SUV may not look all that new. Subaru’s design team has penned a mild evolution of the previous model – ensuring that the new car retains a wide and low stance for a sporty appearance. The powerful look of the hexagonal front grille and the matte-black cladding on the front bumper express SUV functionality, underlining the rugged character of the new XV. The new model also combines Subaru’s performance essentials of superior aerodynamics and visibility with advanced styling. Alloy wheels get a new sporty design and are available in 17” and 18” diameter – depending on the model chosen.

With the new XV, its 385-litre boot space is marginally bigger than its predecessor. This increases to an impressive 1,270-litres with the rear seats folded flat. The interior of the new XV combines a sporty and advanced design with sophisticated construction to deliver a premium feel throughout. Seating comfort (always a strong point in the original XV) is now even better than ever, thanks to new breathable seat coverings in various shades of grey. The layout of the dashboard and infotainment displays is very similar to what has been before, but there’s a definite sense of improvement thanks to new soft touch materials and a more modern profile for the centre console stack.

In the centre of the instrument panel is an 8.0-inch touch-screen display for the infotainment system. This system also incorporates Subaru STARLINK and is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. The multi-function display offers a comprehensive range of content, while the new screen design clearly communicates useful information to all passengers.

Already an exceptionally safe vehicle, the new XV adopts Subaru’s innovative new, world-leading, ‘EyeSight’ technology. ‘EyeSight’ is a driver assist system which functions optically, using two stereo cameras mounted on either side of the rear-view mirror. These cameras monitor the road ahead and can detect hazards up to 110 metres in front of the vehicle. This system is more accurate than traditional camera and sensor technologies as it can distinguish objects as opposed to noticing that there is an unidentified obstacle.

‘EyeSight’ comes with six functions – Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, Pre-Collision Throttle Management, Lane Sway & Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist and Lead Vehicle Start Alert. Adaptive Cruise Control adjusts vehicle speed to maintain a set distance from the vehicle in front and is very beneficial to motorway drivers, while Pre-Collision Braking will alert the driver of a potential collision using a visual & audible warning. If the driver does not take evasive action, the brakes will be applied automatically to either prevent the accident entirely or reduce the severity of an impact depending on the speed of the car at that time. If the driver brakes but does not apply enough pressure, the system will increase braking force. These two systems alone offer genuine life-saving capability if called into action. Pre-Collision Throttle Management comes into play if the vehicle is parked facing an obstacle, as it will warn the driver (visual and audible) if they accidentally select drive instead of reverse. The system will also cut engine output to help avoid a frontal collision.

Lane Sway and Departure Warning will alert the driver (visual and audible) if the vehicle sways or departs its lane without indicating, while Lane Keep Assist offers gentle steering control if the vehicle is about to deviate from its lane between speeds of 60 and 200km/hr. The final function of Subaru’s ‘EyeSight’ system is called Lead Vehicle Start Alert and a visual and audible warning will inform the driver that traffic ahead has started moving. These safety systems are Subaru’s way of ensuring that the driver has the capability of avoiding the unexpected with ‘EyeSight’ technology. This amazing ‘EyeSight’ technology played a big part in ensuring the new XV received a full five-star Euro NCAP rating.

Two trim levels are available in the new Subaru XV – SE and SE Premium, in either 1.6-litre (114bhp) or 2.0-litre (156bhp) ‘BOXER’ petrol engine guise. No diesel engine is available in the new XV. Both models (with either engine) come with a Lineartronic (CVT Automatic) transmission for effortless cruising ability and ease of driving around town. Steering wheel-mounted paddles provide a real sports car feel and work well when called upon. Standard specification in the SE model includes 17” alloys, EyeSight technology, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, an advanced safety package, rear view camera, keyless entry & push button engine start/stop, electric windows front & rear, LED steering-responsive headlights with daytime running lights, auto lights & wipers and many other safety, security and comfort features. Top-spec SE Premium adds full leather seating with a powered driver’s seat, electric sunroof, 18” alloys and satellite navigation.

My test car was a Subaru XV 2.0-litre SE model and was finished in Cool Grey Khaki paintwork. The new XV offers excellent driving dynamics with a more composed quality than ever before. The steering itself is sharp and precise, while the vast suite of safety features that come as standard across the range provides all occupants of the new XV with awe-inspiring confidence. Overall, the new XV is certainly a more enticing option than the previous generation model and now has the good looks to go with the brains. Buyers in the market for a stylish, safe, rugged, practical and very well equipped all-wheel-drive SUV/Crossover should certainly give the all-new Subaru XV due consideration.

Prices start at just €33,495 (ex-works) for the 1.6-litre SE CVT model, while my test car was priced at just €35,495 (ex-works). All models attract annual road tax of €390, while fuel economy of up to 50.4mpg is possible on an extra-urban driving cycle. A five-year/160,000km warranty offers total peace of mind ownership too.