ROAD TEST: Subaru XV e-Boxer – it’s about reliability, engineering and quality

As taste and fashions change all car makers have to adapt their range and move forward with modern technology. Some car makers seem to manage this effortlessly whilst others have a tougher time. This can be due to currency fluctuations, regulatory requirements and the cost of advancing new technologies for smaller companies.

Subaru have a long and illustrious history in not only rallying but also clever and ingenious engineering. Their flat four, horizontally opposed ‘Boxer’ engine is a case in point, along with the permanent four-wheel-drive that they adopted on their cars long before many others caught on to the benefits. Now there’s hybrid technology too.

Here in the UK the company has always attracted a small but very loyal set of buyers and over recent years have changed their range to encompass hybrid technology. Thanks to input from Toyota they have also produced their first EV, the Solterra. All Subaru models retain an immensely practical nature and the XV, one of their smaller models, is no exception.

Both models in the XV line-up feature the same 2.0-litre petrol ‘Boxer’ engine along with permanent symmetrical all-wheel-drive in a familiarly reliable Subaru set-up. Unlike almost any other crossover, or indeed SUV, the XV as with all Subaru models will tackle some pretty tough conditions. It also has decent ground clearance that helps with the XV’s very versatile capabilities.

Two trim levels are offered with the lead-in version (£33,290) superbly well-equipped including heated seats, powerfold heated mirrors, LED lights that are linked to the steering, auto lights and wipers, dual zone climate, keyless entry and start, high beam assist, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, privacy glass and more. An additional £2000 for the higher trim model adds a power sunroof, leather upholstery and navigation amongst the extras.

On the road the XV isn’t especially quick but more than capable of keeping up with faster traffic, and it feels a particularly safe and solid drive. It handles well too with a smooth and refined drive unless you accelerate hard. The CVT automatic gearbox, as with all CVT units, does get quite vocal. Adapt your driving style slightly though and it becomes much more hushed.

Subaru will never be seen on the road in huge numbers, but those that know will always buy a Subaru. It’s about reliability, engineering, solid build quality and the ability to quite literally take everything in its stride.

Words by Mark Slack

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