FOR those who need a car that can cope with the challenges of both the city and the countryside, then Subaru has several offerings that fit the bill. But none more so than its latest model, the XV.

A compact crossover, it majors on capability and and style and throws in for good measure some very useful technology.

Utilising the tried and tested symmetrical all-wheel drive system to provide extra grip when needed, it rides on a new and impressive Subaru global platform.

Also incorporated is a clever driver assistance system called EyeSight, plus a rear vehicle detection monitor to keep you and the car safe and its so-called X-Mode and hill descent control for when the going gets tough or steep or both.

Trademark Subaru simplicity – two well specified trims available with a choice of 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines paired to Subaru’s Lineartronic automatic gearbox – mean you are left with a choice of power over economy.

Subaru is hoping this third version of the XV will attract a younger driver – those who lead an active, outdoor lifestyle. But the values that have brought the company a small but loyal customer base are still there.

This more stylish XV was designed for people who need complete confidence that their car can drive safely with optimum grip and stability in adverse conditions such as rain, floods, icy hills and on tricky terrain including muddy fields.

Don’t expect a quick turn of speed – even the 2.0-litre version takes more than 10 seconds to hit 62mph – but do enjoy the improved visibility, refinement, compact dimensions that make it easy to get around town and the technology to make driving easier in urban areas.

There’s a solidity and comforting feel about the XV that prompts you to enjoy the excellent handling, particularly on an open road.

The so-called EyeSight technology uses cameras to detect the car’s surroundings, highlighting and reacting to any potential threats, issues or impending collisions. It is fitted as standard, too.

In addition to EyeSight, the XV is fitted with a number of systems to aid the driver. These include high beam assist and steering responsive LED headlights,

a rear vehicle detection system to avoid potential hazards behind the vehicle and blind spot monitoring.

When X-Mode is activated, hill descent control will maintain a constant speed when travelling downhill. The driver sets a speed when approaching the hill and then removes their feet from the, allowing hill descent control to manage the brakes.This safety feature enables the driver to concentrate only on steering during the descent..

A manual driving mode is also included, which can be selected via the gear lever or paddle shift on the steering wheel (on 2.0 versions only). The driver has the option to use this facility on a temporary basis for flexibility by using the paddles when the gear selector is in the Drive position, and the system returns to drive mode should no further paddle input be received.

Slightly wider and longer than the outgoing model, the XV conveys from the outside a sporty robustness.

Angular wheel arch extensions provide protection to the bodywork while contributing to the rugged styling. The sculpted wings and side profile accentuate New XV’s dynamic design and ground clearance of 220 mm.

The windscreen angle has been increased and the rear section of the roofline lowered for a flowing silhouette.

The high-quality finish from door handles to air vents creates an elegant ambience while metallic casing surrounds on the instrument panel, steering wheel and gear stick add sophistication.

It’s comfortable, too, thanks to a new sculpted seat shape and design with firm upper-body support provided by the seatbacks. All variants have heated front seats as standard and are finished with orange overstitching that is repeated in the decorative panels, dash and door trim.

The quality of soft touch plastics and finishes have been improved across the interior, without losing the functionality and hard-wearing features that Subaru customers love.

The touchscreen size has been increased from seven-inch to a new eight-inch multifunction colour touchscreen which has been upgraded to contain Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality and DAB radio.

The wide colour 4.3-inch LCD multi-information display screen provides information such as fuel economy, driving conditions and outside temperature.

The new XV is available in two different trim levels: SE and SE Premium. The higher grade adds satellite navigation, leather seats, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat and sunroof. The 1.6-litre versions are equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels and the 2.0-litre cars get 18-inchers.


Subaru XV

Price: From £25,130

Engine: Four-cylinder 2.0-litre boxer petrol, producing 154hp

Transmission: CVT Lineartronic automatic driving all wheels

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 10.4 seconds; top speed 120mph

Economy: 40mpg

CO2 emissions: 155g/km


Performance: ***

Economy: ***

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ****