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2016 Subaru XV Review

2016 Subaru XV Review

Subaru was late to the crossover market when it launched the XV in 2012 and so far it has failed to make a splash. Now, crossovers are more popular than ever in the thriving British car market, so how will the Impreza-derived XV fair with a larger demographic?


The first thing that you notice when you enter the XV is the strikingly familiar cabin. This is because it is a very toned down version of the Impreza’s interior, with all the sporty bells and whistles taken away in favour of hard plastics and faux aluminium trim. However, the leather seats are comfortable and hint at the SUV’s sporty heritage with the XV logo embroidered into the front seats. The raised ground clearance means vision is improved, as well as creating more space for passengers. Hints of leather on the steering wheel and gear knob add a slight sense of luxury but don’t distract you from what is a fairly basic overall trim level.


Outside, the XV looks bolder than many of its rivals, with rally car inspired looks being combined with the standard crossover design adding to its appeal. The bold HID headlights and chunky front bumper draw onlookers attention and the rest of the body pulls them into this beautiful SUV. The roof is adorned with full-length roof rails that ignite an appetite for adventure, while the chunky rear is reminiscent of Dakar rally vehicle, adding to the off-road appeal.


As expected, and almost required of the XV, a Boxer engine powers the SUV, bringing the signature punch that you expect from a Subaru. The responsive engine coupled with permanent Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive leads to a gripping and exciting performance, no matter what surface you throw at the XV. Through the Vehicle Dynamics Control System, the XV is able to intelligently adjust a number of parameters to maintain its stability when cornering or tackling tough surfaces. Overall, the XV is a pleasure to drive and handles any situation from inner city traffic to snowy mountainside roads.


Subaru’s 7-inch Starlink System sits at the centre of the dashboard and is quite difficult to get the hang of but when you do it is a rewarding system to use. Everything you expect from a modern car is present and of high quality – DAB digital radio, Bluetooth hands-free, USB port, Aux input, six-speaker system and the optional Rear Vision Camera System. As with all Subaru models, the wheel-mounted audio controls are excellent and easy to use, without distracting too much from the road.

Now five years old, the Subaru XV is starting to show its age and Subaru know this as they are launching the facelifted model at Geneva. Despite this, the current XV is still a very attractive car and will continue to draw is families as it reaches maturity. Hopefully, Subaru will improve the XV’s flaws in the models next generation.

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