Subaru XV Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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What is it like to drive?

Handling? The XV is fine. Its steering has been improved, the suspension is a little more sophisticated, and the ride perfectly acceptable for a car with this sort of ground clearance. It’s not fun, and it’s not satisfying, but neither is it offensive. It leaves you with a kind of emotional negative buoyancy that means you feel… nothing.

Off-road there’s the ‘X-Drive’ system, only available at low-speed: essentially a suite of electronic diff-locks and things like hill-descent control, but nothing we haven’t seen before on plenty of other stuff. But it will get around easily and without fuss, over terrain most owners would balk at before attempting. This is good. 

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Unfortunately, the 154bhp 2.0-litre boxer four petrol engine and Lineartronic CVT are only good for slow- to medium-speed pottering. As soon as you ask any more of either, the whole lot leaves you feeling frustrated.

The engine is weak and sounds genuinely pained, an effect not helped by the annoying, stepped CVT. Again, fine if you do everything at 40 per cent throttle, but it sounds like a lightly slipping clutch thereafter, and the lack of performance from the boxer four doesn’t fill in the gaps. There’s a 1.6 available too, though it’s slower and noisier.

Someone, somewhere, put this combo together and thought “that’ll do”. They were wrong. Apparently this engine and gearbox combination is very popular in both Japan and the US, but with drivetrains from rivals being much more suited to European sensibilities, this one’s a hard sell. 

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Highlights from the range

the fastest

Subaru XV 2.0i SE 5dr Lineartronic
  • 0-6210.4s
  • CO2155.0g/km
  • BHP156
  • MPG40.9
  • Price£27,940

the cheapest

Subaru XV 1.6i SE 5dr Lineartronic
  • 0-6213.9s
  • CO2157.0g/km
  • BHP114
  • MPG40.9
  • Price£27,410

the greenest

Subaru XV 2.0i e-Boxer SE 5dr Lineartronic
  • 0-6210.7s
  • CO2149.0g/km
  • BHP150
  • MPG
  • Price£30,740

Variants We Have Tested

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