Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Subaru XV SUV - Engines, drive & performance

The Subaru XV lacks some punch, but its agility and four-wheel drive impress

Carbuyer Rating

3.2 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.3 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

2.5 out of 5

Both of the 2.0-litre petrol engines we’ve driven felt agile, but lack the low-down punch of turbocharged engines. Now, only the mild-hybrid e-Boxer version is available, with both the 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre non-hybrid engines withdrawn.

With stronger underpinnings than before, the XV is fun to drive and its standard four-wheel drive provides plenty of traction in slippery conditions. It feels agile and manoeuvrable for an SUV, and its steering is sharp – if rather artificially heavy in feel.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The XV's X-Mode system should make off-road excursions easier, because it can control the engine and brakes to improve traction or slipping, even if you head down a steep slope.

Petrol engines

The backbone of the XV range is Subaru’s 2.0-litre ‘boxer’ petrol engine, which gets its name from the fact it’s pistons move horizontally like arms hitting a punching bag. This design helps the engine to sit lower in the car for a better centre of gravity, and it rose to fame in rally-bred Imprezas. Here, there’s no turbocharger, but Subaru has changed almost every component to liberate around 5bhp and increase power to 154bhp.

It’s a smooth and responsive engine and gets the XV from 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds, but it lacks the punch of turbocharged petrol engines at low revs and needs to work quite hard to deliver its goods.

In e-Boxer mild-hybrid specification, the XV gains a small electric motor which assists a 2.0-litre petrol engine during acceleration, giving it the ability to run on pure-electric power at speeds of up to 25mph for around a mile - perfect for low-speed emissions-free driving in traffic or cities. Above this speed, the engine charges the boot-mounted battery pack.

Unlike rival mild-hybrid systems, it’s a simple task to keep the e-Boxer running on electric power with careful acceleration. The petrol engine and electric motor combine to produce 148bhp, giving it a sharper throttle response than the conventionally powered models, but straight-line performance is still relatively sedate, with acceleration from 0-62mph taking 10.7 seconds. It is quicker off-the-mark than the discontinued 1.6-litre engine, though, which takes nearly 14 seconds.

All versions of the XV send their power to a Lineartronic CVT automatic gearbox, which don’t have actual gears, Subaru has programmed a driving mode with seven ‘virtual’ gears for owners who prefer the feel of a traditional gearbox. It's still not as responsive as a conventional automatic, though, and can be noisy.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Kia Sorento review – a great SUV now made even better
Kia Sorento 2024 front quarter driving
In-depth reviews
10 Apr 2024

Kia Sorento review – a great SUV now made even better

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
12 Apr 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Dacia introduces seven-year ‘Zen’ warranty for new and used cars
Dacia Zen warranty badge
News
16 Apr 2024

Dacia introduces seven-year ‘Zen’ warranty for new and used cars

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
best electric cars
Best cars
28 Mar 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024