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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# Review
Review: The Subaru XV is rugged and ready - but might fly under your radar
We test drive the Subaru XV crossover on Irish roads.

THE SUBARU XV flies under the radar of many crossover buyers, but the latest model packs genuine off-road credentials – as well as an interior facelift.

When it comes to styling and design, it’s fair to say that Subaru traditionally hasn’t always been at the forefront of either. But the XV is well-proportioned and benefits from high ground clearance of 220mm. It’s got a rugged look with plastic cladding wrapping around the base of the car and on the wheel arches. Space between the wheels has grown, too, to the benefit of passenger room inside.

Parked next to the model it replaces the new XV doesn’t look radically different. A case of evolution rather than revolution. Where more significant improvements have been made is inside, where the layout and quality move up a notch.

Melanie May Melanie May

You won’t find lots of plush materials in the cabin, which still has a hard-wearing feel to it. All of the buttons are larger and feel solid, giving you the impression that everything here will still be working fine in ten years’ time.

Melanie May Melanie May

The eight-inch touchscreen for the infotainment is responsive and easy to use, offering compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, so linking the majority of smartphones is easy.  Above that is a smaller 4.3-inch screen that displays all the various driving data and information status of the EyeSight driver assistance system.

Melanie May Melanie May

What may deter some buyers, especially in this segment, is the Subaru’s 2.0-litre petrol engine. While diesel remains a popular choice, there is a shift back toward petrol happening, and Subaru’s four-cylinder with its improved automatic CVT (continuously variable transmission) can return reasonable fuel economy when driven more sensibly.

Despite its larger size, the engine produces a modest 156hp and 196Nm of torque, so it’s not the fastest crossover out there. The nature of the CVT means that it works best when driven more smoothly – attempting a quick overtake tends to result in a steep climbing engine revs that are not matched by pace.

Dave Humphreys Dave Humphreys

The XV scores better on its capable all-wheel drive system, featuring X-Mode and Hill Descent Control. In the winter months and during particularly bad weather it stands a much greater chance of keeping you mobile than the majority of its rivals.

With prices starting from €33,495 for the 1.6-litre engine, it isn’t the cheapest out there, but it does come with good levels of equipment. The EyeSight driver assistance system, advanced safety package, reversing camera and keyless entry all come as standard, while the higher grade Premium model adds a full leather interior, sunroof, sat nav and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat.

Dave Humphreys Dave Humphreys

Subaru has rightly earned a loyal following over the years, and while it might not be the most exciting or glamorous crossover out there, it certainly feels like one car that won’t let you down in a hurry.

READ: What to do if you put the wrong fuel type in your vehicle >

READ: Review: We drove the intoxicatingly quick Porsche 911 GT3 RS (and went very, very fast) >

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