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Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9

Capable SUV won’t appeal to all but some will love it

Subaru XV SUV (17 on) - rated 3.9 out of 5
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PROS

  • Capable on and off the road
  • Expected to be hugely reliable
  • Simple, hardy cabin design
  • Easy to drive and use

CONS

  • Inefficient engines
  • Expensive to buy and run
  • Rivals cheaper to finance
  • Relatively few dealerships

At a glance

New price £24,995 - £30,730
Lease from new From £377 per month
Used price £14,735 - £23,845
Used monthly cost £363 - £588
Fuel economy 40 - 40 mpg
Road tax cost £135 - £145
Insurance group 10 - 16 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Capable on and off the road
  • Expected to be hugely reliable
  • Simple, hardy cabin design
  • Easy to drive and use

CONS

  • Inefficient engines
  • Expensive to buy and run
  • Rivals cheaper to finance
  • Relatively few dealerships

Subaru XV SUV rivals

Toyota
RAV4
3.5 out of 5 3.5

The second generation of Subaru XV is a very clever styling effort. Because although it might not look hugely different from the previous model, it's actually a brand-new car, which Subaru says is improved in every way over its interesting predecessor.

This XV, which went on sale in the UK early in 2018, is built on Subaru's new vehicle platform. It's lighter, stiffer and stronger than before – and if you look under its stylish new skin, you'll see that the platform also underpins the latest Impreza.

It’s an interesting car inasmuch as Subaru spans market segments with this model. Although it could easily be mistaken for being yet another high-riding front-wheel drive crossover, it's actually got some SUV-like capabilities. So, it's expected to appeal to buyers in the market for cars such as the Toyota RAV4Jeep Renegade and the Volvo XC40. But it keeps a far lower profile than those cars.

Genuinely capable – at a cost

But while all of those cars offer a relatively mainstream approach, with low-cost motoring and cheap lease deals high up on the agenda, the Subaru takes a different approach. Its core attributes are safety, dependability and a decent drive, and it scores well on these fronts.

Subaru XV 2017 interior

However, that’s at the cost of the XV being quite expensive to finance through a PCP deal (at launch there was a modest £1,500 deposit contribution to offset the 4.9% APR rate), although compared with other four-wheel drive automatic rivals, it's acceptable.

In terms of fuel costs, the XV looks a little tough to justify, too. That's because the engines are relatively inefficient compared with the raft of diesel and smaller-capacity turbo motors available in the above rivals. There’s a hybrid version arriving at the end of 2019, but it won’t be a significant improvement in terms of running costs.

X-mode: all-wheel drive, all the time

Another factor not helping the XV’s fuel economy is the fact that it uses a permanent all-wheel drive system. Much of the XV's competition is available with front-wheel drive only, which is less demanding on the powertrain and so more efficient.

However, four-wheel drive does mean the XV is very capable off-road, showing competence compared with rivals when tackling rough terrain. It comes with the X-mode driving program as standard – which could almost be viewed as a get-out-of-jail free card for anyone who gets stuck in a muddier situation than expected.

Activating X-mode is simple – you press a button behind the gearlever, and that puts the XV into an off-road mode. This means you get Hill Descent Control that automatically activates for you and the transmission is set to a configuration for tackling rougher roads, with an electronic limited slip control.

There’s no manual gearbox option on offer, with Subaru instead offering its Lineartronic CVT automatic instead. This works better than most other types of this transmission because it features steps in power delivery that make the XV feel a little more like a conventional automatic car.

It's punchy and responsive with little of the lag you find in rival automatic transmission set-ups, although a standard six-speed manual gearbox would be more in keeping with the market this car is aimed at.

Now even safer

Compared with the outgoing XV, the 2018 model has made a big step forward in terms of safety. It scores five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, and features as standard a set of driver-assistance features called Eyesight that work smoother and more cohesively on the road than others we’ve tried.

Key safety functions of the XV include adaptive cruise control, active lane-departure and blindspot monitoring alongside automatic emergency braking. We've tested all of these systems, including its AEB set-up, and they work flawlessly and without issues.

The cabin design is simple and intuitive, with physical buttons for most controls instead of the touchscreen-reliant set-up favoured by some rivals. The materials don’t feel of particularly high quality, but they’re clearly extremely hard-wearing and suit the sorts of work Subaru expects the XV to be put to. The infotainment system is, in terms of design, similar to the previous XV, but markedly higher quality. It’s still not quite up there with the best, though for usability.

There’s also a decent-sized boot for a car of these dimensions, and the doors open very wide for easy ingress and egress. There’s excellent visibility from the driver’s seat too.

Is the Subaru XV worthy of consideration? Read the Parkers review to find out

Subaru XV SUV rivals

Toyota
RAV4
3.5 out of 5 3.5

Other Subaru XV models: