With lots of SUvs and crossovers to choose from, the Subaru XV excels in driving satisfaction, comfort of ride
The good thing about having an SUV (or a crossover) is the ability to handle difficult situations that arise in daily life.
So I was glad to have the Subaru XV a few weeks back when it rained heavily. Although the area in front of my house wasn’t flooded, the first few hundred metres in the main road had turned into a canal with the deepest part covering half a wheel.
While drivers of a normal passenger car would think hard before trying to go through floods this deep, the XV had not the slightest problem. With its 220-millimetre ground clearance, it cruised comfortably through the water and I continued on to where I was going.
There are many strong players in the SUV market from Honda and Mazda. But the XV, which is made in Malaysia and exported to Thailand tax-free, seems to have what it takes to win a good number of customers.
It has that sharp and futuristic styling that attracts attention, especially if it is painted in Sunrise Orange. This is an all-new model, but not much has changed in terms of the design statement. The front- and rear-ends appear sharper than the first model though, and the vehicle looks more contemporary.
The interior is modern and stylish but isn’t as luxurious as the leading brands. Nevertheless I like the X-MODE display on top of the console that makes the XV seem more professional than the competition when it comes to off-roading. It is the crossover that you want to have when driving in the country on dirt roads that have lots of undulations, while others prefer to stay on the highways where occupants are guaranteed a comfortable ride.
Bear in mind that the XV’s fabric seat upholstery might be difficult to clean compared to leather when there’s a lot of mud. But the seating position is fine, and the large side bolsters keep you nicely in place.
The 4-cylinder boxer engine, with a displacement of 2.0 litres, develops 156 horsepower and 196Nm which isn’t too eye-opening, but the low-loss CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with paddle shifters helps improve performance. According to official figures, the XV accelerates from 0-100km/h in 10.4 seconds and has a top speed of 194kph.
What drivers will like in the XV is that the handling is sharper than with others. Developed from the new Subaru Global Platform (SGP) the second-gen XV feels light and corners with better precision, thanks to a more rigid body structure and power-assist software improvement. Meanwhile, the rear stabiliser bar is connected directly to the body and significantly lowers roll.
On the highway, wind noise is kept out of the cabin, and the front strut and rear double wishbone suspension feel firm, providing a smooth ride.
According to Distributor TC Subaru (Thailand) Co Ltd, the XV 2.0i-P is priced at Bt990,000, while the “option pack” costs another Bt289,221, so the total retail price is Bt1,279,221 (which they could have quoted in the first place).
What’s in the option pack? Goodies you don’t want to miss such as self-levelling and self-turning LED headlights with jet washers, automatic windshield wipers, leather-covered steering wheel and gearshift knob with orange stitching, dual-zone climate control, high-quality touchscreen, aluminium pedals, vanity mirrors and removable luggage compartment cover.
The standard features list includes two 12-volt outlets, powered driver’s seat, roof rails, 8-inch touchscreen, infotainment system with six speakers (USB, AUX and HDMI), cruise control, Hill Descent Control, dual front airbags, etc.
The Subaru XV isn’t about size, power or luxury, factors that buyers would be happier with in other brands. But for those who look for driving satisfaction, an excellent ride and unique styling, it ranks high in the compact SUV segment.
Subaru XV 2.0i-P specs
Engine: 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve
Bore and stroke: 84.0x90.0mm
Compression ratio: 12.5:1
Max power: 156hp/6,000rpm
Max torque: 196Nm/4,000rpm
0-100kmh: 10.4 secs
Top speed: 194km/h
Average fuel economy: 14.2km/litre
Average CO2: 162g/km
Suspension (f/r): McPherson strut, stabiliser/double wishbone, stabiliser
Steering: electrically powered rack-and-pinion
Turning circle: 10.8 metres
Brakes (f/r): vented disc/vented disc
Track (f/r): 1,550/1,555
Ground clearance: 220mm
Wheels: 17-in alloy
Fuel tank capacity: 63 litres
Price: Bt1,279,221 (Bt990,000 + Bt289,221)
Distributor: TC Subaru (Thailand) Co Ltd