The 2020 Subaru XV is perhaps the perfect encapsulation of why this tiny Japanese automaker has been able to boast year-after-year growth that would shame industry heavyweights like Toyota, Honda, and Ford. The current generation XV redesign coincided perfectly with the surging demand for small SUVs that were both affordable and ultra-practical, with the Subaru’s boxy shape smoothed out by a fresh-look exterior design and a range of more efficient drivetrains. For those not familiar with the brand, Subaru is the Japanese term for “unite” while its logo is inspired by the collection of stars which form the shoulder of the Taurus Constellation. The brand also sees itself as one with motoring technology that is out of this world.
With that said, its only fitting that we, a technology first media house, review the Subaru XV.
Having won six World Rally championships titles and 46 outright rally wins. The Subaru brand has continuously won over consumers throughout the world. And having arrived at our South African shores in 1992, Subaru has continued to use its unique All Wheel Drive system as seen on this reviewed Subaru XV.
The Subaru XV is a subcompact crossover SUV that was first produced in 2012 to replace the Subaru Impreza XV. The first generation differs quite a lot from the current generation and the technology being at the forefront of that evolution.
The exterior of the Subaru XV in my opinion is very similar to other Japanese cars such as the Toyota CH-R and the Lexus UX 250h. A few tweaks here and there help the XV stand out. The three cars are somewhat related and perhaps that’s the reason for such similarities. The black trimming around the exterior of the car feels a little low-cost for my taste. However, the overall looks are quite welcomed and so are the LED daytime running lights add some sleekness to the XV.
The interior is a little too basic to what we’re used to. We’re mindful that this is an adventure vehicle and materials used make it durable and easy cleaning. It also has full leather seats on all rows. The 8” touch screen infotainment screen is easy to navigate and has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it also supports voice recognition capabilities allowing for hands free usage. I just wish the screen faced the driver a little for ease of use and convenience. However, the multifunction screen is quite useful as it gives you all the information you need about the car.
The technology of the Subaru XV is something to boast about though, and my favourite feature being the safety system called the “Eyesight Pre-Collision Throttle Management System” which uses a set of stereoscopic cameras to also provide a blind spot monitor, forward collision warning and mitigation via automatic braking, and lane departure warning. The car beeps and reduces your speed and even stops the car completely.
Once on the road, the Subaru XV drives very well and the ground clearance is enough to get you through off-roading. In fact, the XV has the highest ground clearance of any vehicle in its class. Unfortunately, I could not experience the X-drive system that allows you to use features like hill decent as we didn’t get much off-roading during our test period. The test vehicle we had, in Cool Grey Khaki, packed a 2.0 litre naturally aspirated engine and a CVT transmission and pushed out 115kW and 196Nm of torque. The power was sufficient, and I felt comfortable when I had to overtake other vehicles. For the first time I enjoyed driving a CVT that has a naturally aspirated engine. The fuel efficiency is claimed to be 7.3 by Subaru but I managed to average 7.9 l/100km.
The Subaru XV comes in two stock derivatives the 2.0i CVT setting you back an easy R436 000 and the 2.0i-S ES that’s only R499 000. With that Subaru throws in a 5-year/150 000km Warranty, Subaru Assist and a 3 year/75 000km Maintenance Plan that has extension options available.
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