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Subaru XV 2019 review: 2.0i Premium


Now, this is a fun looking car. The Subaru XV is known as a SUV version of the ever-popular Impreza, so it’s higher off the road and travels like an SUV but isn’t large, like its big sisters the Forester and Outback.

It’s in the small SUV category and competes with cars like the Honda HR-V and Nissan Qashqai.

I was in the second-from-top-of-the-range XV 2.0i Premium, which costs $32,670 before on-road costs, and drove it all through the city this week for a bunch of Sydney Fashion Week commitments.

Here’s how it did with me and my family of four over seven days of testing.

How does it drive?

This car feels great to drive. It’s smooth, and also has enough in the engine to zip around town easily.

The steering feels good and it’s easy to manoeuvre into a park. The steering feels good and it’s easy to manoeuvre into a park.

There’s a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder which helps the XV get up hills quickly and you still feel comfortable driving along highways - it doesn’t feel too small. It handles well and takes off fast from a starting position.

The steering feels good and it’s easy to manoeuvre into a park, because of the size and it also has a good reverse parking camera. It also feels really solid - not as solid as a Forester or an Outback but certainly more solid than other competitors in this category.

The feel of the drive is definitely a strong point for the Subaru XV.

How does it look?

Like a lot of fun. If the XV was a guest at the same party as you, you’d want to hang out with it all night.

The height of the arch above the wheel really accentuates the height of the car. The height of the arch above the wheel really accentuates the height of the car.

The height of the arch above the wheel really accentuates the height of the car and it feels very sporty, like it’s wearing a cool pair of Nikes.

It’s not particularly sophisticated or elegant but that’s not why you’re looking at a Subaru. If you want driveabilty, practicality and a bit of ruggedness, this is the car you’re after.

Inside, it’s practical and sensible, and it’s not exactly luxe - though it does have a sunroof for the front seats. There's more plushness in the 2.0i-S top spec model.

It’s not particularly sophisticated or elegant but that’s not why you’re looking at a Suburu. It’s not particularly sophisticated or elegant but that’s not why you’re looking at a Suburu.

But again, you’re in a Subaru because you’re after something that will wear well over time and you don’t need fancy bits to do that.

There’s a fair bit of man-made fibre along the dash and doors but it’s not a hard plastic, more a soft pleather, so it doesn’t look cheap.

The smooth fabric seats have a leather trim but more importantly are comfortable to sit on and there is a leather-trimmed steering wheel that feels good under the hands.

The centre console area is designed well and everything is functional and easy to use. The design works.

How spacious is it?

In the front there is enough room for little me, and other taller passengers who actually commented on the amount of leg and head space, which is great and not very common in the small SUV category. It feels spacious.

The back, too, has a bunch of room. I could easily fit with about 30cm between my knees and the driver’s seat in my driving position in front of me (I’m 161cm), so other taller passengers will have plenty of room for long legs. My children aged five and seven didn’t have a bad word to say about it.

  • Taller passengers actually commented on the good amount of leg and head space in the front. Taller passengers actually commented on the good amount of leg and head space in the front.
  • There's plenty of room for long legs in the back too. There's plenty of room for long legs in the back too.
  • The boot is on the small side at 310L on paper. The boot is on the small side at 310L on paper.
  •  It fits the very bulky CarsGuide pram with room to spare. It fits the very bulky CarsGuide pram with room to spare.

You won’t get a third child seat comfortably in the middle which is standard across this category - but you will easily fit in a rear-facing baby capsule into the back seat, without the front passenger having to compromise too much on leg space, which is a nice change.

The boot is on the small side on paper - 310L means it’s smaller than a Nissan Qashqai or a Honda CR-V’s boot, but it’s bigger than the Mazda CX-3 boot and it fits the very bulky CarsGuide pram with room to spare around it, so that is a bonus.

How easy is it to use every day?

It’s a great height off the ground for the kids to climb in and out and they were easily able to put seat belts on themselves because the buckles don’t disappear underneath the seats which happens more often in cars than it should.

There are two cupholders in the front, a spot to throw keys and a phone, a large centre storage bin for this size car and bottle holders in each door.

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest and one pocket behind the passenger seat.

The front seats have to be moved into position manually, and there is no button to close the boot but the sunroof is power operated.

What’s the tech like?

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work very well in the Subaru XV, sometimes it’s a bit tricky to connect or make everything work at once but this system is well installed.

With that technology you can plug in for instant access to the main apps on your phone, so you can use maps to navigate and Spotify to listen to music.

The XV has voice control so you can make calls and send texts without picking up your phone. The XV has voice control so you can make calls and send texts without picking up your phone.

They’ve also got voice control so you can make calls and send texts without picking up your phone.

How safe is it?

The XV 2.0i Premium comes with airbags for driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags that extend to the back row.

It’s missing more advanced safety as standard like blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert (available in the top-spec model), but it has auto emergency braking and gets a maximum five-star ANCAP rating.

There are two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fix kids car seats in safely.

What does it cost to own?

The Subaru XV 2.0i Premium comes in at $32,670 (before on-road costs).

The Suburu XV 2.0i Premium comes in at $32,670 (before on-road costs). The Suburu XV 2.0i Premium comes in at $32,670 (before on-road costs).

Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.1L/100km.

It comes with Subaru’s five year/unlimited km warranty and servicing is required once every 12 months/12,500km (whichever comes first).


The Wrap

I really enjoyed driving the Subaru XV 2.0i Premium. It fit the whole family with a spacious interior.

I particularly liked the way it drives and it makes me feel confident transporting the children around in it. If anything, it would be great to have a slightly bigger boot but we still managed to fit all of our stuff in there this week.

I gave it a family rating of 7.5 out of 10, my kids gave it an eight - because I mean, it’s orange.

Is this car on your small SUV wishlist? Tell us in the comments below.

Likes

Great drive
Interior space

Dislikes

Smallish boot
Lack of advanced safety features

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

4

$32,670

Based on new car retail price

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