The first time I saw a Subaru was in 2006 in the American Rally Racing on ESPN when Travis Pastrana misjudged his turning and the car violently rolled eight times as bits and pieces of his Subaru Impreza started to fly off. He walked off unharmed and he had a giant smile on his face. Few years later, I watched the same man jump the same rally car 269 feet across a platform and set a new world record for the longest jump on a car. Without having prior knowledge about the automobile industry, my first impression about the Japanese auto-manufacturer was that they make a very solid vehicle. My impression about Subaru vehicles was that they are stylish, rugged, safe and most importantly, they perform where it really matters. This perception was rest assured when I got to test drive the XV 2.0.
Vijay Motors, the authorised dealer of Subaru automobiles in Nepal, launched the restyled 2018 Subaru XV in the market last year. A year on, the vehicle still continues to turn heads and make a statement on and off the road. In the current model, it is reported that Subaru used high-strength steel to provide over 70% more flexibility by offering a smoother ride with long-lasting quality.
For the Nepali market, the Subaru XV 2.0’s aesthetic is a combination of a stylish urban design with rugged good looks. The XV is packed with advanced features and technologies that are bound to offer the driver maximum comfort in urban areas as well as the pleasure of navigating the toughest terrain with absolute ease.
The XV can be best described as a chunky unit, both on the inside and the outside. The current iteration of the model was Subaru’s simple and elegant solution to its small-SUV problem as the XV slots naturally into the Japanese brand’s chunky SUV line-up. From the looks of the exterior, it’s undoubtedly a Subaru from every angle, with the XV’s additions that underscore a tough, ready-for-adventure look. The most recent update provides a slightly more sculpted look to the front light fittings and grille.
The LED front fog lamps possess an inner reflective surface that are adjusted for enhanced visibility and improved safety during nighttime driving. On the rear, the LED rear combination lamps accentuate the exterior design of the XV while also increasing visibility for safety. The stylish 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels are durable and lightweight and show the Subaru XV’s functionality and unique personality.
The total dimension of the vehicle is 4465 mm in length, 1800 mm in width and 1615 mm in height. With an exceptional and attractive design, it has the similar ground clearance as that of the Forester with 220 mm ground clearance.
Straight out of the bat, the XV, arguably, possesses one of the best cabins in the small-SUV segment. The interior is again, very chunky and satisfying, from the bumper car-like steering wheel to the solid, leather-trimmed center console and the big buttons and switches jutting out from the door inserts, stereo and climate-control unit. Even the leather trim on the seats is well above par for the segment and is equally good for rear passengers. The front cabin is comfortable for both the driver and the passenger and the rear cabin has ample leg and headroom. Lastly, the XV’s boots space comes only at 310 liters however when required, with the seats down one can expand that out to 1220 liters.
The infotainment system and the multimedia software is impressive. The XV consists of three important display screens: for media, information display and a multifunctional screen as well as multiple buttons and toggles on the string wheels. Such amenities are designed and placed for the comfort of the drivers. As the automobile technology improves, the feature might be a staple in every vehicle in the future. But for now, some drivers might find it a bit overwhelming.
The Subaru XV 2.0 is equipped with the 1995 CC, Horizontally – Opposed 4 Cylinder, with 4-Stoke Petrol Engine. The same 2.0-liter non-turbo ‘boxer’ engine powers XV 2.0. It produces 115kW of power and 196Nm of torque which on paper is decent when compared with other small SUVs. XV 2.0 has continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) and is an all-wheel drive. The AWD system is marginally superior to many competitor systems as it is always on and theoretically splits power more evenly between the wheels.
The XV feels very solid to drive. The drive feels seamless due to the high-riding suspension and it eases past any potholes and tougher road conditions. It feels a bit heavier in the corners than some of the competitors but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as the low center of gravity gives it a sturdy, confident ride helped by an AWD system that never makes you doubt the amount of available traction.
The XV is also impressively quiet as it allows very little noise to enter the cabin. While it is remarkable with its capabilities in the urban setting, it has been deemed fully functional with its off-road abilities as well.
While the XV is meant to be an SUV, its practicality is limited by the fact that it is based on a hatchback. This is not unusual for the segment. The XV is an interesting alternative in a busy small-SUV market. It is one of the top-spec vehicles evident from its emphasis on luxury and safety features.
The Subaru XV 2.0 comes in a wide variety of colors such as orange, dark grey, white, silver, red, light grey, blue, dark blue and black. Priced at Rs 1,15,00,000 we are looking at one of the most expensive small SUVs one could buy. However, its inherently good AWD system justifies the cost of the vehicle.