One of the quiet achievers of Subaru's range, the small XV has grown over the years to be a vital third cog in the brand's SUV range behind the Forester and the Outback. In fact, it hit a purple patch in the last couple of years, and it's sold 49,000 since it launched in 2012.

The five seat, five-door high-riding hatch shared its dimensions with the company's Impreza sedan and hatch, so with the release of the all-new Impreza in December 2016, it follows that the XV would be the next cab off the rank for Subaru.

Subaru calls the second generation XV a "new benchmark in the SUV category" for the brand, and with its new chassis, it's certainly a big mechanical change from the first generation, if not necessarily a physical one.

But is the addition of taller suspension and black body panels enough to give the XV genuine crossover abilities? We're in the ski resort town of Karuizawa in Japan for a preview drive of the new XV ahead of an Australian launch in June.