The first generation XV was an ingenious and clever product: an SUV born from an existing Impreza hatchback as a base, incorporated with a lot of tough cladding, raised for a higher ground clearance - the end result proving to be a success.
With the market trend having a strong appetite for SUVs , Subaru had the right product at the right time. Subaru sales in Malaysia grew from just over 1,000 units a year in 2013 to nearly 4,800 units in 2017, driven mainly by the popularity of the XV.
The all-new XV continues to use the key ingredients that made it successful: a stylish hatchback, bumped up ground clearance and a 2.0-litre boxer engine with permanent all-wheel drive.
- Engine: Horizontally opposed (Boxer), 4-cylinder, Direct Injection, Longitudinal
- Power: 156 Ps @ 6,000 rpm
- Torque: 196 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
- Transmission: X-Mode, Lineartronic CVT, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with Active Torque Split
- Safety: 7 airbags, including driver’s knee airbag, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, VDC, Active Torque Vectoring
- Price: From RM118,819 for 2.0i, RM125,868 for 2.0i-P
- Origin: Locally-assembled at TCMA, Segambut
The all-new Subaru XV is the second product that uses the new Subaru Global Platform (SGP), the first being the all-new Subaru Impreza. The SGP promises all new-generation Subarus will be quieter, safer, and drive better.
The locally-assembled second generation XV continues to be offered with only one powertrain, the brand’s renowned 2.0-litre horizontally opposed (Boxer) engine with symmetrical all-wheel drive. Two variants are available, starting from RM118,819 for the 2.0i and RM 125,868 for the 2.0i-P.
Standard features include wide 225-section tyres, roof rails, 7 airbags, Active Torque Vectoring, X-Mode terrain drive control, 8-inch touch screen audio system with reverse camera and power adjustable driver’s seat.
The 2.0i-P (our review vehicle) adds LED headlights with active swivelling function, rain sensing wipers, two colour multi-information displays, orange stitching on the dashboard, aluminium foot pedals and dual-zone air conditioning.
The all-new Subaru XV has grown in size, with a strong emphasis on rear passenger comfort. Wheelbase has now increased by 30mm, from 2,635 mm to 2,665 mm.
Viewing the new XV up front also highlights a wider body (+20 mm) to accommodate the larger head lamps with C-shaped Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and hexagonal grille. Large roof rails are standard fitment, with the 2.0i-P variant painted in satin silver. Ground clearance of 220 mm is maintained, and textured matt black cladding adds to the XV’s ruggedness and strong off-road capabilities.
The Sunshine Orange paintwork catches a lot of attention with its brightness and rarity, but the Dark Blue Pearl seem to be growing on us. There a total of six colours for customers to choose from.
While the exterior of the all-new XV has much of the rugged character from the first generation, the interior receives a well-deserved overhaul.
Dark silver trim pieces are strategically placed to uplift cabin ambience to a more premium feel. Orange coloured double-stitching on the dashboard and door panels does not seem overwhelming, and the high quality fabric seats are a welcome inclusion to the market segment that seem to favour dark, single tone interiors.
All-round visibility is fantastic, with the large glass surface area together with the better optimization of the pillar shape.
The fabric seats also hold the occupants very well, and with the increase in width of the new XV, occupants have more space between each other, as well as an improved leg room.
In the higher kit-count 2.0i-P variant, the 6.3-inch multi function meter displays more data such as the symmetrical all-wheel drive operation together with a water and oil temperature gauge.
Fitted with four day-to-day work bags, the luggage area looks to be on the smaller side of the scale. With the tonneau cover fully extended the luggage area is listed at 345-litres of capacity. The rear seats do fold down in a 60:40 split for accomodation of longer and bulkier items.
The test route organized by Subaru consists of highway, trunk roads and a short drive around a tight circuit.
On trunk roads, the benefits of the new SGP engineering is apparent. The structure is 70% stronger than the previous generation and the XV tackles the winding roads with great pleasure. Body roll is minimal for a vehicle with such a high ground clearance, while the suspension is still pliant on rough and broken surfaces.
With the symmetrical all-wheel drive and Active Torque Vectoring, corners can be taken with more confidence as the car stays planted.
The new XV features Active Torque Vectoring, which applies individual brake pressure to the “inside wheels”, enabling the car to tackle corners in a better a manner.
While the engine looks pretty much the same, much work has been done to deliver better performance. Nearly 80% of the parts in the ‘FB20’ engine have been redesigned and this also contributes to 12 kg reduction in weight. This highly revised engine also feels more responsive as a result.
The 2.0-litre boxer now has direct injection fuel delivery, raising peak power to 156 Ps. Working in unison with the improved CVT with better ratio coverage, the 196 Nm of torque makes the XV move off in a brisk manner. Much of the torque is now delivered at the lower rpm ranges, meaning there is no need to push the tachometer needle past 4,000 rpm.
New in the XV is the X-Mode, a one-touch switch for low-speed, slippery terrain driving. The X-Mode controls the engine torque, transmission ratio, brakes, all-wheel drive and stability control for maximum control and traction.
Even with three wheels spinning, X-Mode will send torque to the one wheel with the most traction, thus slowly moving the XV forward. We have some great information on how X-Mode works here!
The longer wheelbase using the new SGP has definitely improved the comfort of passengers sitting at the rear. Legroom and knee room is abundant, plus ingress and egress is easier thanks to the high ground clearance.
Another significant improvement that is very apparent in the new XV is the vastly improved cabin insulation. It is much quieter, with wind noise being just a faint whisper in the background. Together with the improved CVT having better ratio coverage, the engine revolutions (rpm) are lower at cruising speeds, barely audible as it has been masked by the tyre noise.
The absence of rear cooling vents were not felt, as the air conditioning system was more than capable of cooling the cabin rapidly.
The first generation XV was well received by consumers, a product that offered ruggedness of an SUV but maintain all the familiarity of a hatchback. The new generation Subaru XV continues this great concept, with better refinement all around.
Consumers planning to upgrade from a compact sedan or hatchback should keep the XV in their shopping list. Our pick is the 2.0i-P variant, at RM125,868 (on-the-road without insurance). The new XV is a highway cruiser with an interior that feels a class above, comfortable urban ride qualities with secured stability and a long list of convenience and safety features.