Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The XV offers you a 1.6-litre petrol engine (badged 1.6i) and a 2.0-litre petrol hybrid with an electric motor, badged as the XV e-Boxer 2.0i.
The 1.6i produces 112bhp, providing acceleration that’s very sedate by class standards. The 2.0 e-Boxer is, unsurprisingly, quicker; its petrol engine produces 148bhp and its electric motor a further 17bhp. However, in reality, even this higher-powered engine isn’t enough to help the SV feel particularly quick; it can’t match the low-down pull of its turbocharged rivals.
When cornering, the XV resists body lean well and feels pretty agile. There’s plenty of grip and it always feels sure-footed, and the steering is well-weighted. As a result, the XV is more enjoyable to drive than the Nissan Qashqai, but it can’t match the Seat Ateca in this area.
As is the case with the Ateca, though, this tidy handling comes at a price. The XV's ride is firm and never fully settles, even on smooth roads. Go over a rough piece of asphalt and you'll be jostled around in your seat.
Where the XV stands out from these rivals, though, is in having a genuine off-road capability. In addition to four-wheel drive, the XV has a generous 220mm of ground clearance and X-Mode; a driving setting that optimises the four-wheel drive system over tricky surfaces at low speeds and includes hill descent control. Even on normal road tyres, it can take pretty hostile terrain in its stride.