IT'S a go anywhere SUV that aims to leave its rivals struggling for traction


THE XV can deliver enjoyment and frustration in equal measure.

While it handles twists and turns with aplomb and is blessed with plenty of grip, the over-revving engine can be a real pain.

The 2.0 petrol unit in our car is capable once up to speed, but getting there can feel a little pedestrian. In addition, if you put your foot down to overtake engine noise becomes excessive.

The XV is well balanced and there's little or no roll to speak of. While we didn't venture properly off road, we did visit a local show where we had to negotiate a wet, undulating field and it passed this particular test with flying colours. It certainly looks the part when compared with some faux off-roaders and I have no doubt that it could tackle more challenging terrain if required.


IN the past, I have been a little underwhelmed by Subaru interiors. They have been a little drab and somewhat low rent in nature. While the XV is not a design classic by an stretch of the imagination, it is a significant improvement on some of what has gone before it. There are soft-touch plastics, nice contrasting stitching and silver trim throughout the cabin. Sure, some bits of the switchgear look less appealing, but it all looks like it will stand up to the job, given what might be asked of it. The steering wheel has plenty of adjustment, both up and down and out, and getting comfortable is not difficult.


Our car featured the likes of automatic LED headlights, steering responsive headlights, automatic rain sensing wipers, power-folding door mirrors with built-in LED indicators, 18ins alloys, wheel arch cladding, roof rails, roof spoiler, leather wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, fabric seats, six-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, stop and start system, 4.3ins LCD multi-information display, tilt-adjustable and telescopic, steering wheel, paddle shift, adaptive cruise control, power windows, remote central locking, keyless entry and push button start, electric parking brake, centre console box, door pockets with bottle holders, two 12v power outlets, retractable parcel shelf, boot under floor storage, dual zone automatic air conditioning, heated door mirrors, Subaru infotainment and audio system, 8ins multifunction colour touchscreen, DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB, reversing camera, X-Mode and hill descent control and hill assist.


WITH Subaru's X-Mode facility, hill descent control and hill assist, the XV is well-equipped should either the terrain or the weather become challenging. In terms of interior space, up front you won't be concerned, but rear seat space is not as generous. The middle seat is particularly tight, so it's far better suited to two rear passengers or maybe three smaller children. Headroom was fine, especially as the roofline was sculpted to give a little extra height. While the seats don't slide, they do fold almost flat. The boot is easy to open and lightweight and the entry is wide enough to accommodate bulky items.


SUBARU say it should be possible to get 40mpg on the combined cycle. I managed a better than expected 42.6mpg.


Good handling and off-road ability, but noisy engine is frustrating


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