View all Subaru XV reviews
Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0
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PROS

Economical diesel engine, good off-road, quick paddleshift changes on CVT

CONS

Pricey, bouncy ride, low quality plastics, weak petrol engines, poor visibility

Verdict

The Subaru XV is the company’s first foray into the so-called ‘crossover’ segment, a place where off-roaders crossed with hatchbacks reside.

In some respects the Japanese car maker, best known for producing high performance saloons with a rallying pedigree, is way behind the curve. The five-seater, five-door XV is up against the Nissan Qashqai that was launched in 2007, and that model set a very high standard. The Nissan has proved extremely popular worldwide and sells in huge numbers so it is no surprise then that Subaru has decided it wants a slice of the crossover pie.

Four-wheel drive as standard

Subaru isn’t completely fresh into this arena because it is well used to producing all-wheel-drive vehicles, such as the Tribeca, Legacy, Impreza and Outback. As such, all versions of the XV come with permanent all-wheel drive as standard.

Unlike the Qashqai, there’s no two-wheel-drive version, so effectively the XV has to compete with the traditional 4x4s as well as the ‘soft-roader’ crossovers.

One petrol and one diesel engine

There is one petrol choice: a 2.0-litre with 148bhp available with either a manual transmission or Subaru’s ‘Lineartronic’ CVT automatic transmission. In manual form the 2.0-litre will return 40.9mpg, while the auto versions are slightly more frugal.

There’s one diesel option, a 2.0-litre unit with 146bhp. This is available with a six-speed manual gearbox only and returns 50.4mpg.

Carbon dioxide emissions across the range vary from 146g/km for the diesel to 160g/km for the 2.0-litre manual petrol.

All engines are in the proven ‘boxer’ configuration, which sits horizontally rather than vertically and is something of a Subaru hallmark, so its powertrain already has credibility.

Long warranty

From early 2013, together with the rest of the Subaru range, the Outback’s warranty was extended to five years or 100,000 miles. This replaced the previous warranty of three years or 60,000 miles.

In 2014 the XV had a minor facelift which included some suspension changes, interior enhancements and some extra equipment added to the SE Premium trim (previously called Lux Premium) while the pricing remained unchanged.

Does this all-new crossover have what it takes to take on both the crossover kings, including the mighty Qashqai, and 4x4s such as the Land Rover Freelander, Audi Q3 and BMW X1? Read on for the full Subaru XV review to find out…

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