Subaru has developed an attractive range of vehicles which offer solid and dependable alternatives to some of the mainstream manufacturers. They have launched well made cars into a variety of sectors at competitive prices.
Now they’ve pitched into the lucrative and growing 4×4 market with the Subaru XV, and its prices start at not much over £20,000.
Bigger than Subaru’s previous all-wheel drive offering – the Forester – the XV has a quality feel to it inside and out. Despite being an inexpensive vehicle it feels substantial.
The XV is also a good looker – every bit as attractive as its 4×4 rivals. When it was first shown as a concept it got a good reaction. That’s no surprise. It is smart, well-proportioned and rugged without looking functional. Its looks are helped by chunky plastic body protection front and rear all round and beefy alloy wheels.
Inside the car has a lot of class about it. It’s roomy, with attractive upholstery of a surprisingly high quality. The dash is simple and uncluttered, with sensibly placed, easily accessible controls.
Interior space is very good, with plenty of load carrying capacity. Split folding rear seats increase its load lugging capabilities even more if required.
I drove the 2.0 petrol version. There’s also a 1.6 petrol version and a 2.0 litre diesel option. Linked to a smooth, CVT automatic gearbox, this is a good unit, offering plenty of power, though just a little raucous at high revs. It can be switched to manual mode, with steering wheel mounted gearshift paddles.
The XV has permanent four wheel drive but that doesn’t impede fuel consumption which reaches a respectable 42.8 mpg in mixed driving.
As you’d expect you get bags of extras as standard, including dual-zone climate control, rear parking camera, remote central locking, cruise control, automatic headlights and all round electric windows. All this comes at just £25,795. The range starts at £21,295
It’s difficult to fault this Subaru. It’s a roomy SUV with a very keen price which will keep other manufacturers on their toes.
By Ian Strachan