Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Devon tests drives a Subaru XV


If there were ever a vehicle that blended go-anywhere all-wheel-drive, a roomy interior and fuel economy that is almost similiar to a small family car. You'd say we were crazy, but what if that vehicle existed? It would be the Subaru XV.

Performance: There is only one engine choice for the XV and that's a 2-liter boxer four-cylinder producing 148hp. Acceleration around town is decent and highway passing power is okay. The XV only weights 3,100lbs so this is actually quite enough. In some situations however, the engine leaves us wishing there were a more powerful output to choose from.

Ride & Handling: The XV comes standard with all-wheel-drive which provides oodles of grip and traction when you need it the most. The ride comfort however isn't the greatest. On some surfaces the ride quality feels a little bit of a let down, especially on the highway. You'll feel an unrelenting tremor which is too bad because it handles very well.

Refinement: The engine doesn't really have to be worked hard if you aren't in a rush, but if you are you'll hear it. Wind and road noise are well supressed most of the time. You'll hear the suspension struggling to soak up the bumps at low speeds. On the highway road noise will be a unwelcome visitor.

Behind the wheel: The driving position is good thanks to an elevated height, which means an overall good view of the road. The steering adjusts for reach and for height and the seats offer plenty of support. All the controls are within easy reach of the driver's hand.

Space & Practicality: The XV offers oodles of leg and headroom for rear passengers, even if the exterior shows a differ story. The boot offers plenty of space for luggage. Roof rails are standard on both trims which adds to the versatility of the vehicle.

Equipment: The XV comes well equipped even in the base trim. You get all-wheel-drive, stability control, Bluetooth hands free connectivity for your mobile phone. Top of the range trim adds leather trimmed upholstery, automatic climate control, six-speaker sound system and standard automatic transmission.

Buying & Owning: The XV has an attractive starting price of only $21,995, while the top of the range is only $24,495. There are options to choose from and can push the price a bit dearer than you'd like. The biggest complaint we have is that even though the engine is up for the job, we'd want a more powerful engine or a diesel possibly. Running costs should be average thanks to decent fuel economy. Resale value should be strong too.

Quality & Reliability: The interior may not have the classy materials used in some of its possible keen rivals, but there is a sturdy quality and feel. Subaru has enjoyed strong reliability record and its reputation for that is spotless.

Safety: The XV has performed well in crash tests and even scored a full five-star rating. Stability control is standard across the range which will help you avoid accidents.

The XV is a great alternate to a much larger and less efficient 4x4 and other crosovers that may costs more. If you desire a go anywhere vehicle, with decent running costs at a decent price. The XV clicks all the right buttons. If you can ignore that lack of power and the somewhat disappointing highway ride quality. The XV is a good car and worth the consideration.

Devon's Pick: 2.0i Premium is the pick of the XV range. It's the cheapest and will fit most needs really well. In my opinion you don't want to pay any more for the top of the range trim.

Likes: Standard all-wheel-drive with decent fuel economy. Stylish exterior looks with great off-road manners. Raised driving height gives good view of the road.

Dislikes: Low speed ride comfort, road noise at highway speeds. A more powerful engine or diesel engine would be nice.  

Devon M

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