We have always liked Subaru and are very fond of their technology. Boxer engines which have enormous power and rev freely, combined with innovative four wheel drive, you could enjoy all this for decades now.
Of course Subaru continues to marvel the enthusiast, lately by launching a … boxer Diesel engine, coupled to a good chassis, and last but not least the innovative 4 wheel drive, all packed neatly and stylishly in a compact SUV bodywork, and naming the car the XV. We tested first the 2 litre Diesel version, and were anxious to see how it combined pulling power with frugality…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Turning the key we heard the familiar Diesel note, disappearing at higher revs and when the engine got warmer. There were no typical boxer overtones, the car actually sounded very much like any “normal” Diesel four. But it proved to be a very eager performer, making the car rather fun to drive. Power sets in smoothly, but with a definite urge. The excellent and smooth changing gearbox adds to driving pleasure, as does the well balanced chassis.
One immediately feels that Subaru’s are honed into real drivers’ cars. The XV is no exception to this rule. Cruising at motorway speeds is smooth and pleasant, with of course an excellent and practical cruise control, plenty of extra power under your right foot, low wind noise and a very good ride. Of course any mechanical vibrations are filtered out, if they exist at all. Wind noise is also quite reasonable.
In town, the flexibility of the engine, pulling smoothly from anything around 1200 rpm is much appreciated, as is the smoothness of the drivetrain, with no vibrations and smooth (gear)changes. The higher driving position adds to visibility in town traffic, and we also greatly appreciated the excellent navigation and guidance delivered by the in board system of our test car. I personally also like very much the rear camera view which is so helpful when manoeuvring the car in city traffic and parking situations. I wish every car would have one. And I vastly prefer seeing what is going on than the beep beeps which tell you so much less.
Good economy with performance to match
I was quite surprised to see how frugal the Subaru actually was. It did not take much drivers’ talent to stay below the 6 litre per 100 km mark, using the smooth pulling power of the engine at low revs. Of course the reliability of Subaru engines does not have to be proven anymore, and we can also expect this diesel version to really last a lifetime.
Average consumption proved quite reasonable...
The Diesel version really gets of the mark: 0 to 60 mph is reached in merely 9 seconds, and top speed is a good 120 mph. Good figures for an all wheel drive vehicle, and it certainly shows that the 144 horses are all present.
The Subaru is a good companion in your everyday motoring life. Our test car came in the SE Lux Premium version, and this means that you are entitled to a sunroof, keyless entry, an engine start/stop button, leather seats, electrically adjustable driver’s seat and of course satellite navigation.
But even the base-level S includes 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, climate control, front fog lamps, a CD stereo with four speakers and a windscreen wiper de-icer. Step up to the SE level and you get cruise control, dual-zone climate control, a leather steering wheel and gear knob, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, a rear-view safety camera, CD player with six speakers, Bluetooth with USB and iPod connectivity and privacy glass. The boot space is quite adequate with 380 litres available with the rear seats up. Of couse they fold down in a few seconds, and this offers you 1,270 litres. As we were in the midst of moving house during the test period, the Subaru came in very handy as a luggage/books carrier…
Standard equipment also includes anti-lock brakes, traction control, vehicle dynamic control, six airbags - front, side and curtain - and ISOFIX child seat mountings.
The car rides quite well on “normal” hardened roads, but of course Subaru’s experience in making 4 X 4 vehicles means that the XV really comes into its own as an excellent offroader.
We can only conclude that if you want a car with character, which is swift, versatile, frugal and build to last, just take the XV in very careful consideration.
We also announce you that you will soon read the test of the Subaru XV with the 2 litre petrol engine and the remarkable ‘Lineartronic’ CVT automatic transmission, the Diesel version being only deliverable with the 6 speed manual transmission.
So for more Subaru test news, stay tuned to these columns!
Hans Knol ten Bensel