Subaru XV SUV
Price £21,995 - £26,995
- Sharp handling
- Rugged design
- Spacious and practical boot
- Overly firm ride
- Cheap materials used inside
- Noisy engines
At a glance
"The Subaru XV is a safe and capable crossover that is fun to drive."
The Subaru XV is a compact SUV – a fairly new concept for Subaru. Almost all carmakers are making SUVs nowadays and the XV is Subaru's way of throwing its hat into the ring.
Aimed squarely at cars like the Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar and Mazda CX-5, the XV also has to deflect competition from the Mitsubishi ASX, Volkswagen Tiguan and the soon-to-be-released 2015 Honda HR-V. High-spec models even encroach into Audi Q3 territory. That's a lot of competition, so the XV really has to stand out to be noticed.
It does have some strong points. First and foremost is its design: sometimes SUVs have slightly clunky or awkward looks, but the XV looks tough, rugged and fit for purpose.
Those looks translate into driving dynamics, too. Subaru has a knack for creating cars that perform well off-road and that's exactly the case with the XV. The permanent four-wheel drive fitted to every model means the compact SUV is a capable car for driving over rougher terrain. The firm suspension can be rough in urban situations, though.
There's a choice of two engines – a 2.0-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel. They’re both available with a six-speed manual gearbox or a ‘Lineartronic’ CVT automatic. The diesel is capable of around 50mpg, which isn’t exactly stellar compared to what the competition can manage, but should be enough for most people. The diesel is a better option if you’re a high-mileage driver or need extra power for crossing muddy fields.
The XV's interior is spacious, but some cheap-feeling plastics are a big letdown, especially given how much the car costs. With prices starting at around £22,000 for a 2.0-litre petrol model, the XV looks expensive compared to the Nissan Qashqai or Mitsubishi ASX. In fact, for the price of the diesel model (around £24,000) you could have an entry-level Audi Q3 2.0-litre TDI – a more desirable car with a better-quality interior and a more comfortable ride that comes loaded with equipment.
The XV received an engineering and interior update in the summer of 2015, which Subaru claims helps to improve the overall interior quality and ride quality of its SUV.
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The Subaru XV diesel will work out cheaper if you cover a lot of miles
The Subaru XV handles well for an SUV, but the CVT automatic gearbox dulls its response
The Subaru XV is spacious and well equipped, but a firm ride can make it uncomfortable on bad roads
The Subaru XV has generous rear-seat and boot space as well as loads of storage areas
The Subaru XV is both rugged and well built