By Ian Strachan
Subaru has developed an attractive range of vehicles which offer solid and dependable alternatives to some of the mainstream manufacturers. The company has launched well-made cars into a variety of sectors at competitive prices.
The Subaru XV is pitched into the lucrative and growing 4×4 SUV market. The range was recently updated, with softer lines and a higher spec. But prices for the XV are still very competitive, with the range starting at less than £25,000.
More streamlined than Subaru’s other 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 vehicle a few years back it got a good reaction. That’s no surprise. It is smart, well-proportioned and rugged without looking functional.
Inside the car has a lot of class about it. It’s roomy, with attractive upholstery – leather in the case of the SE Premium spec which I tested – of a surprisingly high quality. The dash is simple and uncluttered, with sensibly placed, easily accessible controls and a host of environmental and other information on its centrally-mounted split screens.
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 1.6 petrol version. There’s also a 1.6 litre diesel option for those that want to keep faith with oil-burners. Linked to a pleasant variable-speed automatic gearbox, this is a good unit, offering plenty of power. It develops 114 bhp which is more than adequate.
The XV has permanent four wheel drive but that doesn’t impede fuel consumption which reaches a respectable 44.1 mpg in mixed driving.
As you’d expect you get bags of extras as standard on the SE Premium specification, including smart alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear parking camera, DAB radio with Bluetooth and streaming, remote central locking, satellite navigation, cruise control, automatic headlights, electric heated door mirrors, and all round electric windows. You also get blind spot monitoring, automatic stop/start and lane control. All this comes at £27,000 on the road.
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.