Fun at First Sight

Fun at First Sight

The 2017 Subaru XV

Subaru has been climbing itself up the ladder in the last few years, trying hard to leave behind its bad boy rep of being a racing and rallying brand, to encompass something a lot more wholesome and family orientated…personally we don't see anything wrong with being the rebel, balls to the wall car that you've always wanted to own, but never had the guts to buy but apparently that doesn't translate into good car sales, and so Subaru have decided to take a new approach. Which has been working incredibly well for them it seems as they are facing booming sales in North America in fact out of the 1million Subaru’s sold last year 700,000 of them were sold in America. Subaru have now turned their focus to the middle eastern market, and we are loving it!!

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Looks

From the outset you may look at the new Subaru XV and things its unchanged from the previous model, but this I can ensure you is a completely different car. It shares a platform and many components including symmetrical four-wheel drive system with the Impreza hatchback, but the XV has a longer wheelbase than the regular hatch as well as a more generous ride height. It also has narrower, lower sills and wider door openings for easier entry, and a lower boot floor for greater practicality. Chunky bumpers, and plastic extensions for the wheel arches and sills are the main external identifiers, which bring the car to life. And its available in some seriously fun colours. It's a car that wont go unmissed.

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The Luxury

  1. The cabin is smartly designed, and trimmed to a standard much higher than seen in the previous XV.
  2. Tilt and reach adjustment for the steering wheel makes it easy for you to get comfortable behind it.
  3. The chunky wheel, is leather-bound on most versions, and a neat new switchgear adds an elegance to the car.
  4. Even the XV 2.0i, the least costly XV, has two info screens in addition to the 6.2-inch central touchscreen.

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The Safety

The XV comes with seven airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, seatbelt reminders for all seats, seatbelt pre-tensioners on the front and outer rear seats, and a reversing camera. Its standard safety package emphasises your control of the car, your protection in a crash, and the safety of those outside the car when you’re reversing.

On the XV 2.0i-L, 2.0-i Premium and 2.0i-S is Subaru’s EyeSight active safety suite, which brings you autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance, among other features. Based on stereo cameras, the auto braking works at city and highway speeds, warning of an impending collision and braking automatically if you fail to react. Subaru says this fourth-generation system uses better image sensors that detect hazards – and endangered pedestrians – under a wider range of contrast conditions and at longer range than its previous systems.

The XV 2.0i-S (only) improves on this with a Vision assist suite, which uses radar-based sensors to scan behind you. It warns you if you are about to change lanes into the path of an adjacent or overtaking car. When you reverse out of a driveway or parking space, it alerts you to vehicles crossing your path to the rear. And it can brake the car automatically if it predicts you are about to reverse into a solid object.

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The Drive

Its poised and fluid feel behind the wheel, and corners are enjoyable, especially when driven with a bit of enthusiasm. Every XV comes with active torque vectoring, which helps. The jacked-up suspension seems to absorb small, sharp, bumps, but occasionally run’s out of suspension travel on the bigguns.

On gravel roads and dirt tracks, the all-wheel-drive system and sharply tuned electronic stability control do a good job of discouraging the XV from wriggling around on the loose surfaces. The X-Mode’s hill-crawl function, which helps the XV climb slippery slopes, and the hill descent control that helps it get you back down, both work well, giving this small SUV some real-world off-road ability.

The XV’s 2.0-litre 4 cyl box engine produces 154hp at 6000rpm and around 196nm of torque which isn’t an immense amount of power, but then again this isn’t the kind of car you are going to be driving at a high speed, especially not with copious amounts of camping equipment strapped to the roof. Its top speed is capped at 194km which again isn’t going to get break any sound barriers but as we said if that's what your looking for then this probably isn’t the car for you.

The Verdict

The XV is for those who don’t want a car that looks like a larger SUV but who do have a need for the off-road capability that such a car might provide. It’s roomy cabin and raised seating position comes wrapped in a package with some of the visual presence and desirability of an SUV, but it’s not over powering in size and style, its subtle. Its fun to drive and has a plethora of safety features and that's not all, its starting prices is an incredible reasonable BHD6,999 which is a lot of good car for the money.

© COPYRIGHT ARABIA MOTORS SEPTEMBER 2017

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