Published on January 29th, 2018 | by Subhash Nair


Subaru XV First Impressions: Comfy and Capable

About 2 months ago, Motor Image Malaysia launched the all-new Subaru XV. This muscular, athletic-looking crossover goes up against an aging but popular models but it brings more than just youth to the table.

Mechanically, there’s a lot to talk about. This new XV was built on Subaru’s all-new Global Platform, which was engineered to balance affordability with superior dynamic capabilities than that of competing European vehicles. It’s also built with refinement, safety and alternative powertrains in mind.

Compared to the older XV, rigidity has been improved throughout. Thanks to changes in the structure of the framework, subframe and crossmember, the car is also significantly safer. Energy absorption during collisions is more effectively channeled away from the passenger compartment using the new layout. Plus, this time around Subaru are using hot stamped steel (6% of the upper body and chassis) and high strength steel (55% of the upper body and chassis).

Subaru undertook a major redesign of the FB20 boxer engine, shaving off 12 kilograms by changing about 80% of the parts. The engine has also gone from port injection in the older XV (and in many other non-turbocharged Subarus) to direct injection. This has allowed Subaru to extract a little more horsepower out of the same displacement without sacrificing fuel consumption. Yet it still manages acceptable mileage despite the symmetrical, always-on all-wheel drive system, thanks in no small part to the Lineartronic CVT.

They’ve also tuned the CVT to behave more like a 7-speed automatic. This works rather well, and we found manually shifting to be quite unnecessary. The transmission logic is smart enough to figure things out on its own.

The big shift in the new XV comes from ‘X-Mode’. This changes throttle response for better torque delivery. It also adjusts the transmission logic to this end. The all-wheel drive system is also affected, making it easier for power to be sent more evenly to all four wheels. The Vehicle Dynamics Control system also more proactively brakes wheels that are slipping in X-Mode. And if that’s not enough, X-Mode also has a Hill Descent Control mode. Think of it as ultra-low speed (<20km/h) cruise control for coming down very steep slopes.

Overall, the two aspects of the XV that really stood out were its superb off roading capabilities and its smooth power delivery. In this segment, those are traits are rare, so you are getting what you pay for.

As a daily driver, the refinement of the boxer engine and CVT combo really adds value. The double wishbone rear suspension works well, delivering a comfortable yet planted feel that is absent on the more expensive Levorg. The seats are also a big plus point, being sufficiently bolstered and finished in a pleasant mixture of fabric and leather. The front occupants benefit from a surprisingly roomy footwell.

The interior has more modern lines while still retaining that classic Subaru solidness. Among the Japanese automakers, Subaru’s cabins still feel the sturdiest. And while a lot of manufacturers tend to look over each others shoulders to see what’s the best way to do things, Subaru’s approach seems a little more experimental. And because of that, we get things like extra wide window switches. It’s a minor detail, but for someone with larger fingers, it makes a big difference in terms of comfort.

This new XV brings a few new interesting features like Steering Responsive Headlights, paddle shifters, auto wipers and an 8” infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple Carplay.

This makes the Subaru XV 2.0 i-P a real steal for its introductory price of just RM125,868. While this price remains and until we see updated models from its competitors, Subaru truly has a competitive edge. Go test drive one at your nearest Subaru showroom and see what we mean.

Subaru XV 2.0 i-P Specifications

Engine: Boxer 4-cylinder
Capacity: 1995cc
Gearbox: Lineartronic CVT with 7-speed mode
Max power: 154hp @ 6000rpm
Max torque: 196Nm @ 4000Nm

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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