ABOVE: Subaru XV Launch Video (from our 2017 Archives)
ABOVE: 2020 Subaru XV Hybrid Video Review
Subaru released the all new Subaru XV in June 2017. The second generation MY18 Subaru XV is based on the recently developed and released Subaru Global Platform (SGP) first seen in Australia in the Impreza which transforms the vehicle with increased body and chassis and huge improvements are made to the suspension and associated systems.
I have just spent a week in the second generation Subaru XV 2.0i S AWD SUV.
Let’s state right up front the all new Subaru XV is a different car to the previous model. It has refreshed external styling, more subtle luxury internal ambience and being based on the new SGP has more room, rides better and is quieter and stronger. It is also one of those cars whose appeal grows the longer you have it.
Looking at the XV, it is obvious the external changes have dramatically freshened the styling. It looks good from almost any angle, which is difficult for most cars.
Key external features are the sleek roof rails, rear roof spoiler, revised tail lights and the LED headlights. These LED headlights in XV 2.0i-S include advanced functions such as Steering Responsive Head lights (SRH) and LED daytime running lights (DRL).
The MY18 XV is a little bit bolder, a little bit longer, a bit sharper and a little bit sleeker. This sums up the new XV exactly, little changes almost everywhere with some big changes that all add up to a complete redesign.
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The interior has a quality ambience to it with soft touch fascia, leather accentuated trim, highlight stitching and a redesigned layout that focuses on the driver with a subtle sophistication beyond most others in the segment.
The front heated leather seats are supportive, despite the lack of an adjustable lumbar support. The driver’s seat is electronically adjusted. The steering wheel is height and reach adjustable and the steering wheel and dash relationship feels integrated and is clear and easy to read and use.
Visibility for the driver is excellent. Inside there is a feeling of more space and that is a direct result of the new global platform. For the front occupants there is plenty of head, shoulder and leg room and the rear seats are comfortable for two passengers. The boot is relatively large however it is shallow but the rear seats fold flat easily to allow for a fairly long rear storage area.
The centre console stack houses the widescreen 6.5 inch MFD that provides a host of variable information including X Mode, which can be selected by the driver. Below that is a large 8 inch touch screen that allows smartphone connectivity based on Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ services and is used to boost mobile connection functionality.
Drive and Engine
The XV is powered by the 2.0-litre direct-injection normally aspirated four cylinder boxer engine, producing power of 115Kw and torque of 196Nm. This is mated to a seven speed CVT that is quiet and smooth in normal driving conditions. It is a little noisy under stress and to maximise power delivery and economy it could be better matched to the engine.
As mentioned, the new XV sits on Subaru’s new global platform. It allows dynamic handling, a smooth and complaint ride and is combined with revised suspension geometry. The steering feels solid, though a little vague, but with enough feedback. The XV feels planted to the road. The XV will surprise many with its genuine light off-road capabilities.
The XV is great for dirt roads and forest trails, heading down that track to get to your favourite mountain bike trail or on the beach for some fishing and surfing. It is ideally suited to the adventurous couple that wants more than a normal wagon can provide. However, the front approach and rear departure angles will limit how far off the road you can venture.
The features that provide the enhanced off road capability and handling are 220mm of ground clearance, Subaru Symmetrical AWD and X-Mode. Having tested the X-Mode on a number of occasions on dirt tracks I can attest to the effectiveness.
The MY18 Subaru XV has a 5 star ANCAP safety rating with dual front, side, curtain and a driver’s knee airbags. Every XV features Vehicle Dynamics Control and Active Torque Vectoring (ATV).
The 2.0i-S also features a suite of safety-enhancing Vision Assist features that include: BSD, HBA, LCA, RCTA, RAB, SRH, rear view reversing camera and the latest third generation EyeSight driver assist system, PCB, ACC and ESS.
You could be forgiven for simply glossing over these safety features, however a lot of these don’t even feature on way more expensive cars. Their availability sets the Subaru XV apart from the pack.
- Stylish looks
- Safety features
- Surprisingly fun to drive
Not So Good Bits
- Engine slightly underpowered
- Better matching of engine to CVT needed
- No diesel option
The MY18 Subaru XV 2.0i-S AWD SUV is bloody good, but like most things, not perfect. It could do with more power or perhaps a diesel option. It is however a dramatic improvement on the previous generation model and is class-leading. Overall, I would say that Subaru has almost got it spot on for the young or older adventurous couple that don’t need a full on 4WD wagon, but want to venture further afield than the main roads.
Facts and Figures: – 2018 Subaru XV 2.0i S
- Engine: 2.0L petrol developing 115kW/196Nm
- Transmission: CVT
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Warranty: Three years
- Price: from $39,423 RDAP