The good news in this regard is that all XVs get plenty of equipment as standard, including luxuries like heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights and, of course, four-wheel drive. There are just two trim levels, and we recommend sticking with entry-level SE to keep the costs down. SE Premium doesn’t really add enough to make its higher price worth paying; yes, it gives you electrically adjustable leather seats and sat-nav, but with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard across the range, you’re better off using a navigation app on your phone anyway.
The bad news is that the XV is among the most expensive family SUVs around. The more spacious Skoda Karoq, for instance, is cheaper to buy or finance if you don’t mind foregoing four-wheel drive. And the truth is, unless you expect to regularly drive across muddy fields or fight through snowdrifts, front-wheel-drive rivals make more sense – particularly when it comes to running costs. Neither of the XV’s engines is particularly efficient, even the hybrid’s CO2 emissions are on the high side. And, while that might be acceptable for some private buyers, the effect it has on Benefit in Kind tax is likely to strike the XV off most company car lists.
One area where the XV does excel, however, is in safety. Thanks to the bundles of safety kit fitted as standard (in particular, Subaru’s EyeSight collision avoidance system), the XV scored a full five stars in its Euro NCAP safety tests; it performed very well in the adult and pedestrian safety sections, scoring 94% and 84% respectively.
Another particularly praiseworthy piece of safety tech is the XV’s clever front occupant detection system. It is able to detect if a rearward-facing child seat is being used and, if so, will automatically turn off the front passenger airbag. Little wonder the XV excelled in the child occupant protection in Euro NCAP's test, gaining a respectable 89% rating in this category. Meanwhile, an alarm and engine immobiliser are fitted to boost security.
Subaru’s five-year or 100,000-mile warranty is impressive by class standards; most rivals offer only three years of cover. The extra battery of hybrid models is covered by an separate eight year, 100,000 mile warranty. Subaru’s reliability record is very impressive, too; the brand finished in fifth place out of 31 manufacturers in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here