I have always been a fan of Subaru, especially the Subaru WRX STi (no, not the hatchback). So, I was thrilled when I got the chance to test drive a Subaru XV for an entire week!
I must admit that I am no “Jeremy Clarkson” and this is not “The Grand Tour” or “Top Gear” (when Clarkson, Hammond, and May were hosts and the show was actually worth watching). So, I will not go details into how fast it accelerates from 0-100km/h or how well it corners on a racetrack.
I will, however, try to give you an honest and accurate account to my day to day experiences with the Subaru XV. For specific technical related information, please feel free to check out the Subaru XV online brochure.
Firstly, I must admit that when I was advised that the vehicle to be provided to me was sunshine orange, I was a bit sceptical. It is not a colour I would have initially considered, but I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised.
The online pictures that I had browsed previously did not do the car any justice. The sunshine orange was definitely more pleasing to the eyes than what I initially expected, and the colour grew on me immediately. The Subaru XV is stylish and definitely eye-catching, from the overall shape and design to the exquisite detail in the rims to the subtlety of the roof spoiler.
My toddler, Kayden, was in love with the “orange car” from the moment he saw it, and he was inseparable from the car for the entire period. That in itself says a lot about the appeal of the Subaru XV.
“To Cross-Over Or Not to Cross-Over”
I have never been a fan of the “cross-over” vehicles, and maybe that’s because I never quite understood the appeal of trying to combine both off-road and sporty into one package. To be honest, I have always looked at such vehicles with disdain. But with the abundance of cross-over vehicles available today, there must surely be a market for it? I was intent on finding the value in such vehicles!
It has become customary for many features on a vehicle to be listed as optional extras, and which might cost you an arm and a leg. So the list of standard features on new cars generally grows shorter every year.
With the XV, you get an abundance of optional extra features as standard, these are some of them:
- Keyless entry
- Rear view camera
- Roof rails
- LED headlamps with daytime running lights
- Cruise Control
“Your Journey Begins inside”
When Subaru boasts that your Journey begins inside the Subaru XV…it is not an exaggeration! The interior with leather trim and matching orange stitching is well laid out and very appealing to the eyes. The vehicle certainly did not feel cheap, as is the case with most vehicles today. You know the plastic feeling inside the most luxurious and expensive cars? And my toddler certainly tested out the build quality of the interior, especially the knobs and buttons on the console. I am happy to report that there was no damage to any of the interior fittings as a result of wear or tear.
“In Car Entertainment (ICE)”
The Infotainment System keeps you connected wherever you are with an 8-inch full-colour touchscreen. All the important driver information is presented on a separate multifunction display, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road for too long.
Apple Car play and Android Auto comes as a standard, and access to the apps can be done via the touchscreen or voice recognition. There’s a CD player, auxiliary inputs or Bluetooth available for accessing external music as well as two 12V power outlets. With the multitude of music sources that can be interfaced to the Infotainment System, I would have loved to see a better-quality sound system.
There are two USB inputs, so hubby and I could both charge our phones at the same time, which I think is great than having to negotiate who’s phone needs charging first.
The rear is very spacious, with abundant storage areas for drinks or snacks for the kids on those long trips. The designers must surely be parents, else such attention to detail would not be evident. There is also ISO-FIX adaptors for car seats.
The boot space is not impressive, but it’s probably sufficient for most day to day needs and for a normal weekend away for a family. Of course, folding down the back seats is also an option when the situation allows. And when you really need additional space, you have roof racks fitted. Did I mention roof racks are standard?
“Safety Comes First”
Subaru has always prioritised safety and that is clearly evident in the Subaru XV which has both an ANCAP 5-star rating as well as IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus Award. The Subaru XV is fitted with Subaru Eyesight Driver Assist Technology. Some of these features are:
- Eyesight Lane Keep Assist and Sway Warning
- Eyesight Adaptive Cruise Control
- Pre-Collision Braking
- Pre-Collision Throttle Management
And yes, I did test out these features, sometimes intentionally, and they do work very well. The benefits of such a system cannot be emphasised enough, and I do wish that more of these safety features become standard across the automotive industry.
The leather-wrapped steering wheel is ergonomically designed, with all the necessary controls so that driving is mostly hands-on steering.
Subaru has persisted with the 2.0L Boxer® engine due to the safety advantages that it brings, but I must admit that power and torque in the Subaru XV is lacking (115kW/196Nm), and that becomes evident on steep inclines and during overtaking. That is by far my biggest gripe with the car. You do become accustomed to the lack of power and can manage it, but a more powerful engine would have made a world of difference to the driving experience.
But at 120km/h (give or take), the ride is smooth and the car feels stable and grounded. And with the Subaru build quality, there is no noticeable wind or noise inside the vehicle.
For normal day to day commuting, I managed to average about 8L/100km. And that is very respectable considering Gauteng traffic.
We took a relaxing Sunday morning drive to the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve in order to test the off-road capability. The Lineartronic gearbox, AWD system, and the X-mode off-road function passed with flying colours! I have been off-road in a variety of vehicles before, and the Subaru XV is one of the most comfortable off-road experiences I have had. And yes, even more, comfortable than my Range Rover Evoque, and that says a lot.
Subaru XV: Conclusion
My week with the Subaru XV was suddenly over before I knew it and I was a little sad to let it go. I felt I didn’t have enough time to enjoy it to the max! I should have taken more photos too. It was a personally challenging week at the time for me as well but I am glad that I got to experience the Subaru XV!
The Subaru XV is bold, fun and adventurous while maintaining the highest levels of safety that we have been accustomed to from Subaru. It’s a wonderful family car, for those who spend most of their time in daily commuting, but love to venture off the beaten path during the weekends.
Oh, and before I forget, the Subaru XV has finally convinced me of the benefits of a cross-over and I am now officially converted to the “dark side”!
With an RRP of R459,000 for the 2.0i-S ES (Eyesight) CVT and R400,900 for the 2.0i CVT, it is extremely good value for money and serious competition to the BMW X2, Volvo XC40 T3, Open Grandland X, Renault Duster, Ford Ecosport, VW Tiguan Allspace, Jeep Compass, to name a few.