Our colleague Eric was travelling southbound on the PLUS Highway returning to KL from Penang when he spotted a hardly-camouflaged unit on trade plates ferrying three occupants onboard – even the badges were left exposed.
The only covered areas of the vehicle were the lower corners of the front bumper around the front fog lights where there appear to be graze marks on the paintwork.
Up front, we get a clear look of the test vehicle’s halogen reflector headlights. A slight indentation on the front door handle suggests the fitment of keyless entry, and there also seems to be a reverse camera fitted near the rear number plate holder.
Eric described the car as being "surprisingly quick", noting that its test drive appeared to be "gunning for it".
Despite seemingly evolutionary looks from the current model, the 2017 XV is underpinned by Subaru’s all-new Global Platform architecture. Major upgrades in body rigidity is said to improve the body’s torsional stiffness by 70% and increase energy absorption in a collision by 40%.
Drivetrain template is similar to the predecessor – Subaru’s tried-and-tested formula of a boxer engine paired to an all-wheel drive setup. Engine revealed at the global launch was a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated direct injection powerplant with 156 PS and 198 Nm mated to a CVT.
The current Subaru XV is assembled locally in Malaysia at the Tan Chong Motors Assembly plant in Segambut from which it is also exported to Thailand. The new model is likely to be assembled locally as well, but exports are expected to cease with Subaru having committed to opening a new CKD plant in Thailand by 2019.