Above: 2020 Subaru XV Hybrid Review

Above: Subaru XV LAUNCH Review

2020 Subaru XV Hybrid Review

When you start with a good like XV, Subaru didn’t have to do much to make it even better.

If XV vaguely looks like an Impreza on stilts, that’s because it is.

What about some HOT RACING DRIVERS. Gay? Or just plain gorgeous?

We have reviewed XV many times. Here are those, and other Subaru stories:

The Looks:

XV is handsome, in that uniquely Japanese way. Large light clusters include automatic halogen headlights with high beam assist. I’d hope for LED all-round. There are built in roof rails, and deep body carving to add a play of light under the doors and on the front and rear facades.

The lower body and wheel arches have black plastic trim. It slims the profile, and can be replaced if you wander too far off the beaten track. Better to scratch that than the duco.

There is ample 220mm ground clearance. XV is 4465mm long, 1800mm wide, 1595mm high (20mm lower than petrol models), and has a wheelbase of 2665mm. Cargo volume is 345L/919L which is considerably more than the petrol models at 310L/765L.

Subaru has sacrificed the spare tyre. Instead, the space is split between battery and cargo volume. You have to make do with a puncture repair kit so taking XV too far of the tarmac is a bit of a risk. A spare has long been part of Subaru ethos, so if you’re heading to your cosy, charismatic, country cottage high on a remote peak, put a spare on the roof.

The only hint of the hybrid drivetrain is a discrete Eboxer badge on the front guards and rear hatch. One doesn’t want to be too ostentatious.

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Above: Hybrid Drivetrain

Above: Hybrid Drivetrain Monitor – as seen on MFD atop centre stack.

The Cabin:

All XVs are entered via Smart Key entry, which also means push-button start. Leave the key in your pocket and let the car sense your presence. Once ensconced in the front pew, a clever identification system scans and welcomes the driver, and sets the profile accordingly. All very Big Brother.

Subaru covered the seats premium cloth, which has a slightly industrial feel. The dash has a similar sturdiness to it. The lines are complex, and the materials soft. Everything is where you expect it to be.

XV Hybrid has one trim level which is a mix of the various trim levels in the other models.

For example, you get single zone climate control, but all the EYESIGHT safety features. Only the Premium and S XVs have built in navigation. On all other XVs, you can use Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and the maps contained therein.

This phone mirroring gives you full control via the 6.5” touch screen, and there is voice control too. While in cell range, Siri will work by pressing the button. If you prefer radio, DAB/FM/AM stations can be stored as favourites.

There are readouts galore. Functions are cleverly split, and in some cases duplicated. Driver displays have twin dials, and a 4.2” MFD (multi-function display).  On the centre stack, another MFD is set high above the touch screen. Both of the MFDs are covered by deep visors to prevent nasty glare from the sun. Other surfaces are matte to stop the afternoon sun from blinding the driver. Only the touch screen and gear knob have shiny piano black. That’s a fashion I hope soon will pass.

You get 2X 12v sockets, a AUX socket, and a USB jack, as well as a bin to rest your phone while plugged in. There are a further 2 USB charging points trussed up in the centre console armrest bin.

There are 2X cupholders in front of the gear selector, large bin/bottle holders in all 4 doors, a cargo blind, and some neat hooks for bags and so forth.

On the Road:

Once in the saddle for a few hours, you really settle in for the long haul. XV has supportive seats and the driving position is perfect. There is plenty of space to stretch out, and the rear passengers find more than enough room even with all occupants being adults.

The driver is the one who is really spoilt.

Although the XV Hybrid misses power adjustment and heating, the driver can still lift the seat manually. It’s about the only exercise most of us get. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and height, and all controls fall easily to hand.

Driver aids and safety gizmos abound. EYESIGHT comes twin cameras. They work with radar and parking sensors to provide:

  • Active lane control
  • active cruise control
  • active blind spot monitor
  • AEB forward/reverse
  • Brake light recognition
  • Lane sway warning
  • Lead vehicle alert
  • Pre-collision braking/brake assist
  • Pre-collision throttle management
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • High beam assist
  • Lane change assist
  • Reversing camera

As well, there are 3 child anchor points and 2 ISOFIX points along with rear door child locks.

The Ride:

The ride is excellent. XV has sophisticated suspension with stabiliser bars front and back. There are Macpherson struts up front and double wishbones at the back. If that means nothing to you, you’re not alone. You won’t notice it until you get in to tight bends.

The smooth ride morphs into sporty grip. XV suddenly becomes that hot hatch you’ve always wanted, minus the stupidly powerful engine. If that sounds like an oxymoron, you’re wrong.

The Engine and Transmission:

Although XV Hybrid only has 110kw/196Nm, the electric motor adds a further 12.3kw and 66Nm. Like all Subarus (except for BRZ) XV Hybrid has AWD. The power gets to the wheels via a CVT automatic. Unlike traditional automatics, CVT has no gears. Under harsh acceleration, XV Hybrid will simulate the gears you’d normally expect, with the added control of manual paddle shifters if that’s your thing.

All of this prevents the engine from revving as you stick you foot to the floor. Instead, the CVT acts like a normal automatic. That means most drivers will never be aware of what is happening under the bonnet.

As you get to cruising speed, or simply beetling about the town, revs go up and down to find the perfect match of performance and economy.

XV Hybrid feels nippy, but not at the expense of bowser shock. There are slight fuel savings over the petrol-only models. 6.5L/100 vs 7L/100k and CO2 of 147g/km vs 159g/k may not sound like much, but it adds up.

Unlike other mild hybrids, XV Hybrid will run for short periods in EV mode, using only the electric motor as long as the batteries are charged up. You can follows this progress in the hypnotic display above the touch screen.

And, that brings us to the most important point, you do not need to plug in to a socket. XV Hybrid charges as you drive.

XV Hybrid differs from full hybrids. The motor and batteries are much smaller than Prius for example. This is Subaru’s first foray into electrification, and while they might have preferred a full hybrid, this is still a good effort.

still a good effort.

How Much Does a Subaru XV Hybrid Battery Cost?

For Years, you don’t have to worry about it. The 8 years/160,000km warranty protects owners. After that, $7,693 is the retail price for a new one. By the time any of them need replacing, chances are the car will be scrap.

Subaru servicing will assess the battery throughout the life cycle, but generally, less than 70% efficiency is the benchmark.

EV batteries often find a second life as home energy storage rather than being recycled.


XV Hybrid uses a platform that can take petrol, hybrid, or electric drive trains. It has the symmetrical AWD system Subaru is famous for. That alone puts it ahead of most other brands in the segment.

It comes with a 5 year warranty, 5 year/62,000km capped price servicing programme and 12 month roadside assistance. The latter should be 5 years, but you can’t have everything.

The batteries have a separate 8 year/160,000km warranty. With most electric cars, the batteries will outlast the car. Warranty usually kicks in if the batteries are at 70% or less efficiency, but check with you dealer when you have a service..

The important thing is you can drive this car just like any other car. You can go as far as the 48L petrol tank will get you, then you just fill up again.

Price: $35,580 (plus onroads)


  • petrol – boxer, 2.0L, 91ron
  • Electric – Permanent magnet AC synchronous motor


  • petrol – 110kw
  • Electric – 12.3kw


  • petrol – 196Nm
  • Electric – 66Nm

Econ: 6.5L/100k (7.5 city, 5.9 highway)

CO2: 147g/km


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