The XV Series II’s changes are hardly ground-breaking, coming down to a minor facelift (mainly the grille, bumpers, fog lights and alloy wheels), suspension modifications (revised springs and dampers to improve the ride and handling) and the inevitable price rises.
Though only on the market for about nine months, the Hybrid system also gains improved transmission functionality. When ‘S’ for Sport is selected, the new ‘e-Active Shift Control’ software keeps engine speed up even when the transmission shifts down, for stronger acceleration responses, aided by the electric motor’s torque output.
Basically, it’s meant to provide livelier performance, addressing a criticism of the earlier XV Hybrid, though the 110kW/196Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer engine/12.3kW/66Nm electric motor outputs remain the same.
That’s the theory anyway. For most buyers, the fact that they can buy a petrol-electric crossover with AWD from $35,490 before on road-costs has been a massive XV Hybrid drawcard.
It’s priced between the smaller 67kW/120Nm 1.5-litre three-cylinder Yaris Cross Hybrid (from $28,990 for the GX FWD to $37,990 for the Urban AWD) and larger 160kW/221Nm RAV4 Hybrid (from $37,070 for the GX to $46,415 for the Cruiser AWD with 163kW). Toyota also offers the similarly-sized C-HR in FWD-only Koba Hybrid form from $37,665, and then… nothing, until the equally popular Forester 2.0 Hybrid L from $40,490. Subaru basically has carved itself a successful little niche.
It’s easy to see why people are drawn to the XV Hybrid’s pricing.
On the safety front, the 2.0 L includes AWD of course, adaptive cruise control, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Sway Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Lead Vehicle Start Alert, Pre-Collision Braking System, Pre-Collision Brake Assist (essentially Subaru’s Autonomous Emergency Braking system that falls under the proprietary ‘EyeSight’ technology), Pre-Collision Throttle Management, Brake Light Recognition, rain-sensing wipers, auto-on/off headlights and front fog lights.
There’s also an 8.0-inch touchscreen, reverse camera, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluetooth wireless streaming and telephony, digital radio, climate-control air-con, leather-trimmed steering wheel, power-folding mirrors and 17-inch alloy wheels – though no spare due to the hybrid system taking up space under the boot floor. A puncture-repair kit is your lot.
For another $5300, the 2.0 Hybrid S brings significantly more safety kit (Blind Spot Monitor, Front View Monitor, High Beam Assist, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Reverse Automatic Braking, a handy Side View Monitor, self-levelling LED headlights with cornering functionality and LED daytime driving lights), a bit more electronic traction assistance with a two-setting ‘X-Mode’ system, sunroof, satellite navigation, leather upholstery, heated front seats with power and memory for the driver, auto folding/dipping/dimming rear-view mirrors, dual zone climate control, ritzier cabin trim and 18-inch alloys.
That’s a lot of extra kit for the cash.