- Published: Thursday, 18 February 2016 09:33
A visual nip-tuck gives the affordable Subaru XV a new lease on life
SINGAPORE — Although the XV does not bear the Impreza name, it is essentially a reworked version of the hatchback model of Subaru’s most popular nameplate, albeit one that’s hopped on the off-road-alike wagon with cooler looks, thanks to its increased ride height, chunkier wheels, modified bumpers and body cladding.
The first-generation XV launched in 2011, concurrent with the fourth-generation Impreza. The XV’s 2016 model now gets a visual tweaking - it looks like it jacked up on steroids and spent a lot of time in the gym. At a quick glance, the new hunkier model immediately stands out with its revised front.
The styling changes found on the exterior include changes to the nose of the car, new headlights, a more rugged-looking bumper design with new chrome fog lamp surrounds. The XV also features new LED taillights, a boot spoiler and new 17-inch aluminium, two-tone black and silver finished sport rims.
The 2016 XV shares the same ‘Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive’ as the Forester and Outback. And with a ground clearance of 220mm, the XV can be taken at least a little off-road if you’re feeling adventurous.
The crossover’s 1.6-litre horizontally-opposed boxer engine produces 150Nm of torque and 112bhp, making it feel quick and nimble on the roads. One of the touted benefits of the engine layout is a lower centre of gravity and it certainly does seem to make handling stable overall.
However, the XV doesn’t come with paddle shifters which might be a deal breaker for some (check out Subaru’s turbocharged Levorg wagon instead), and not a big deal for others.
The most notable change to the interior of the XV is its steering wheel. Wrapped in leather, it has bright orange stitching, and a greater amount of matte metallic trim replacing some black plastics present in the outgoing model.
Loaded with buttons, the three-spoke multi-function steering wheel can also be used for voice control and hands-free calling, which is probably the only way to go given you could be fined up to $1,000 and/or jailed for up to six months for ‘handphone driving’ nowadays.
The second row bench of the XV can effectively fit two adults comfortably, as we don't recommend sitting in the middle — it’s more of a hump than a seat, one to accommodate a child below the age of 10.
Folding the rear seats is as easy as pulling a knob, and with a 60:40 split, you can carry both passengers as well as outdoor gear like a mountain bike. Flip down the entire second row bench and boot capacity hits a generous 1,270-litres.
It being a crossover though, the loading bay is quite high, which is probably no trouble for the young and sporty set that the body style targets, but on the other hand it could be a problem for older folk or the infirm.
While the Forester is for a more mature crowd, the XV looks to appeal to a younger set with its rugged good looks. And if you’re not too fussed about not having separate aircon vents for your second row commuters, consider the XV’s rather affordable price tag and practicality as extras to its sporty handling.
Subaru XV 1.6i-S
Engine 1,600cc, 16V, flat 4
Power 112bhp at 5600rpm
Torque 150Nm at 4,000rpm
Top Speed 175km/h
0-100km/h 13.8 seconds
Fuel efficiency 6.3L/100km
Price $97,800 with COE