Subaru XV 4x4 full 9 point review
The 2.0-litre diesel will be the biggest-selling Subaru XV in the UK, and the 145bhp engine pulls strongly and smoothly from low revs and through the mid-range. Two petrols are also available, a 113bhp 1.6 and a 148bhp 2.0. We’ve driven the latter and while it’s quick enough in isolation, it’s not a patch on the diesel.
Ride & Handling
All versions have four-wheel drive, so you get mammoth traction and there’s loads of grip in bends. Ride comfort, though, is a different matter. You feel too much of patched-up surfaces at low speed, and there’s a constant, unrelenting tremor at motorway speeds that’ll drive you potty.
The diesel engine stays hushed most of the time, but because the 2.0 petrol engine has to be worked harder for more of the time, you hear more from it. You can also hear the suspension working away at low speeds as it struggles to soak up bumps. There’s too much road noise on the motorway, too.
Buying & Owning
The Subaru XV is priced at a similar level to rivals like the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, and it simply can’t compete in that company. The Nissan Qashqai, meanwhile, is quite a lot cheaper, and if you go for a two-wheel drive version of any of these rivals, you’ll get them for much less than the XV. They’ll be cheaper to run, too.
Quality & Reliability
Interior quality is rather mixed. Parts of the dashboard are a match for a VW Tiguan's, but the centre console and the glovebox lid feel disappointingly hard and cheap. Subaru doesn’t sell enough cars to appear in the JD Power Ownership Satisfaction Survey, but the company has a good reputation for reliability.
Safety & Security
The XV performed exceptionally well in Euro NCAP child safety tests, achieving a 90% score. It scored the full five stars overall, thanks largely to the seven airbags that are fitted to every model in the line-up. Stability control – also standard across the range – will help you avoid an accident in the first place.
Behind The Wheel
There’s lots of seat- and steering adjustment, and the elevated driving position gives you a good view of the road ahead. However, the thick window pillars at the back mean rear visibility isn’t so good. Most of the important controls are within easy reach, but the layout of the stereo and ventilation controls can be confusing.
Space & Practicality
The XV has more rear legroom than its rivals, which goes some way towards making up for the less-than-impressive headroom, because it allows those in the back to slide their backsides forward a bit. The XV’s boot floor can be lifted up and hooked on the lip of the boot to create a ramp for hauling out large suitcases. Trouble is, it’s so fiddly to set up that you’ll never bother using it. The boot is disappointingly small.
All XVs come with alloys, air-conditioning, four electric windows and front foglights, but you have to step up to SE trim for vital kit like Bluetooth, an MP3 input and a leather steering wheel. Top-rung SE Lux Premium models also have powered leather seats, a sunroof and sat-nav, but these models are way too pricey.