Subaru XV long-term test review
The XV spearheads Subaru’s counter-attack on the raft of mainstream, medium-sized SUVs. We’re running one for six months to find out how it stacks up...
- The car Subaru XV 2.0i SE Premium Lineartronic
- Run by Claire Evans, consumer editor
- Why it’s here To see if improvements introduced for the 2018 version have made the XV a worthy adversary to its many rivals
- Needs to Get to work whatever the weather and provide comfortable transport for the family at weekends
Price £28,510 Price as tested £29,060 Miles 8327 Official economy 55.4mpg Test economy 38.4mpg Options fitted Quartz blue pearl paint (£550)
15 August 2018 – How does the XV compare with a rival?
Unlike two-wheel-drive SUVs, the four-wheel-drive XV doesn’t have many rivals. One rare competitor is the Skoda Octavia Scout, a four-wheel-drive version of the family sized estate.
The Scout is only offered with a 2.0-litre diesel engine in a choice of ouputs: 148bhp and 181bhp. With the latter, it can be had with only a dual-clutch automatic gearbox. And that’s the version I spent a weekend with to see how it compares with the XV.
In spite of its extra power, the Scout’s gearbox isn’t as smooth as the XV’s, especially in Sport mode, which makes it noisy, because it hangs on to each gear for longer. But it performs perfectly well in Normal mode, so I stuck with that most of the time.
The Scout’s ride height is 30mm higher than regular Octavia Estate models. This helps it smooth out uneven surfaces better than its two-wheel drive counterparts without adversely affecting the handling, which remains stable, precise and confidence-inspiring.
I appreciated the Scout’s agile handling and swift acceleration, which are refreshing after the laid-back nature of the XV. However, I missed the high driving position, and my parents missed it too when they had to get into the lower back seats. That said, the Scout ate up the miles with ease on a 70-mile drive to Hampshire for a family party.
The Scout makes the XV look like good value for money, too: its new price of £30,345 is nearly £2000 more than the Subaru’s. So, all things considered, it would be tough to choose between the two cars.
I recently tested the XV’s load-carrying capacity with a trip to our local builder’s merchants to collect half a dozen 8ft-long pieces of wood for some garden shed renovations. With one back seat folded flat, it was easy to get the wood into the car – not something the other cars in our household could have done. We have an ancient Mazda MX-5, a tiny Renault Modus and an equally dimensionally impaired Mini Paceman. So, without the XV we’d have had to get the wood delivered.
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