Car Reviews

2018 Subaru XV Review

Subaru's entry crossover model has been updated for 2018


Pros: Improved drive, great off road, interior updates

Cons: No diesel engines, lower priced rivals, running costs

Yet another crossover, but not from your typical brand. This is the newly-updated Subaru XV which has just gone on sale in Ireland, and it is in the entry-model in Subaru’s SUV range, which also includes the Forester and Outback. The XV has been updated with subtle styling tweaks, an improved interior and a new platform for better driving credentials too. The XV is competing with a long list of established rivals, including the Volvo XC40 and Toyota Rav4, so can it prove popular in an increasingly-saturated class? We spent a week with it on Irish roads recently to find out. 

2018 Subaru XV

What is it like?

Although the new XV looks quite similar to its predeccesor, it is based on a new platform and it is quite distinctive from other cars in the class. Spotting the difference between the new and old model isn’t easy, but there is a newly-shaped front grille, new LED headlights with silver detailing in addition to several other subtle updates. The XV’s styling is rather rugged, which is what you would expect for a crossover model, and there is a choice of six different colours. The Cool Grey Khaki colour scheme of our test car is perhaps the most divisive option, while the large 18-inch alloy wheels on our test car and roof rails lend it off-roading kudos.  

The XV’s cabin is also like before, however the centre console layout has been tweaked and the quality of materials has also been improved. The XV is fitted with a sharp eight-inch touch screen display as standard which is easy to use and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto too. The front seats are comfortable and roomy, and the driver has a commanding view of the road with plenty of areas to stow away items such as coffee cups and smartphones. It’s a similar story in the rear seats, with plenty of room for two adults, although the transmission tunnel inhibits leg room for the middle seat passenger. The XV’s boot has grown slightly to 385 litres which is somewhat less than its closest rivals, however there is 1,270 litres of space when the seats are folded down, which is very impressive and plentiful for lugging large items. 

Subaru XV Cabin Interior

The XV is no longer available with a diesel engine, and there is the choice of a new 1.6-litre petrol unit or the 2.0-litre boxer petrol unit which is the one we tested. The XV is equipped with four-wheel-drive and a CVT automatic transmission as standard, and the 2.0-litre petrol engine produces 156bhp, so it can sprint from 0-100km/h in just over 10 seconds. While the 2.0-litre unit delivers power promptly, the CVT transmission is somewhat vague and lacks refinement when it is pushed. That said, the 2.0-litre unit is refined around town and well-suited to urban driving. Unlike most crossovers on the market at present, it is suited to occasional off-road driving too! Annual motor tax is listed at €390 and we achieved circa 7.5l/100 kilometres in fuel economy during our time with the 2.0-litre XV.

Subaru XV CVT

The XV is more engaging to drive than before, and we’d rate it quite highly from a driver’s point of view. The steering is sharp and it corners with less body roll than most of its rivals, which is great on tight and twisty Irish roads. Ride quality is good too, and the XV copes well won rough roads, even with the large 18-inch alloy wheels fitted. One of the XV’s highlights is its symmetrical all-wheel drive system which offers superb amounts of grip in off road conditions. There is also a selectable X-Drive mode which works at speeds below 32km/h and it acts like a locking differential, which  helps while negotiating tough terrain. It is refreshing to be testing an SUV which for all intents and purposes, can tackle off road driving too. Subaru’s EyeSight technology is also included as standard and monitors traffic movement, optimises cruise control automatically and integrates lane departure warning too. 

Subaru all wheel drive

Prices for the XV start from €33,495 in base specification 1.6-litre SE guise. As standard, it includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a reversing camera, keyless entry and start, Subaru’s Eyesight Technology and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto too. Our test is the 2.0-litre SE model, and so gains 18-inch alloy wheels, while the range-topping SE Premium XV gains full leather upholstery, a sunroof, satellite navigation and an electrically-adjustable driver’s seat. 

Rear seats XV SUV

Carzone verdict: 3.5/5

The new Subaru XV may look like its predecessor from the outside, but it is much improved in terms of interior finish and drive out on the road. Unlike most crossovers on sale now, it is an accomplished performer off road too. The XV’s level of equipment and kit has been improved, and even base specification models are well kitted out at a competitive price point. That said, the XV is competing with polished rivals which it can’t match in terms of economy due to the lack of a diesel engine variant and two-wheel drive option. What’s more, other comparable SUVs are lower priced and more readily available too. There’s no doubting that the XV has stepped up its game for 2018 however, and it makes for a great alternative to the compact SUV norm. 

Subaru Ireland

Test Car Details:

Model driven: Subaru XV Crossover SE Lineartronic (CVT)

Prices from: €33,495

Annual Road Tax: €570

Engine: 1998cc four-cylinder turbocharged petrol

Power/Torque: 250/270bhp

Top Speed: 250km/h

0-100km/h: 6.1 seconds

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Body style: Hatchback

Boot Space: 385 litres


Subaru XV Badge