Subaru XV 4x4 full 9 point review
The 145bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine pulls strongly and smoothly from low revs, so you don't have to work it hard to make decent progress. The 148bhp 2.0-litre petrol is quick enough in isolation, but it’s not a patch on the diesel because it needs plenty of revs before it really gets going.
Ride & Handling
All versions have four-wheel drive, so you get superb traction, and there’s plenty of grip in bends. Ride comfort, though, is a different matter: you feel too much of patched-up surfaces at low speeds, and there’s a constant, unrelenting tremor at motorway speeds.
The diesel engine stays hushed most of the time, but because the petrol often has to be worked harder, 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 such as the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, and it simply can’t compete in that company. The Nissan Qashqai, meanwhile, is quite a bit cheaper, and if you go for a two-wheel-drive version of any of these rivals, you’ll get them for 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 wheel adjustment, and the elevated driving position gives you a good view of the road ahead. Thick pillars at the back mean rear visibility isn’t so good, though. 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 alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera, xenon headlights, Bluetooth and automatic lights and wipers. Top-rung SE Premium models also have leather seats and sat-nav, but they're too pricey, so we wouldn't spend the extra.