Subaru XV First Drive Car Reviews NRMA Motoring & Services

18 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Subaru XV First Drive Car Reviews NRMA Motoring & Services отключены
Subaru XV Electric Cars

Subaru XV First Drive

FIRST THOUGHTS: Subaru has released a sub-compact SUV with class-leading ride and handling, ground clearance, and an interior to match the best.

Subaru, and indeed every Japanese carmaker s, woes have been well documented this year. The devastating tsunami/earthquake that hit Japan back in February literally rocked the country to its foundations with all of the automakers suffering significant sales losses this year.

But, for Subaru at least, a phoenix is about to rise from the ashes. Enter the Subaru XV. It s based on the new Impreza, but there are some significant differences – it s a smidgen shorter in the wheelbase, and it s got a lot more ground clearance.

Indeed, the new XV, now a stand-alone product in the Subaru lineup, is Subaru s first player in the booming sub-compact SUV market. And the company is expecting big things from it.

Currently XV sales are languishing at around 70 per month, but Subaru expects to shift around 400-500 XVs per month when it goes on sale in January 2012. Pricing won t be announced until the end of the year but you can bet Subaru will be hoping to launch it for around $30k.

Most would agree that Subaru s design has been a little hit and miss over the last few years and this new XV has, according to Subaru, addressed the mountains of customer complaints. And while it s not going to win any beauty contests the Impreza and thus this XV now look a whole lot better.

Running a different grille to the Impreza and an squarer, more hawk-like face, the XV, especially in eye-melting acid-trip orange, definitely grabs your attention. It sits just 1615mm high, which is only 200mm higher than an Impreza, and the same height as a Mitsubishi ASX. It s 4450mm long which makes it the longest of the sub-compact SUVs, and with ground clearance of a huge 220mm (20mm more than Mazda BT-50) it sits up higher than any other sub-compact SUV.

Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer engine (which sits low in the engine bay for a super-low centre of gravity and thus substantial roll resistance) producing 110kW (at 6200rpm) and 196Nm (at 4200rpm). This is the cleanest Subaru engine ever (it s Euro V compliant) and when mated to the Lineartronic CVT (which has a six-speed manual mode and flappy paddles) it consumes just 7.0L/100km – a 10 per cent improvement over the superseded four-speed auto. The XV can also be had with a six-speed manual, which pushes combined consumption out to 7.3L/100km.

More than that Subaru s Auto Stop/Start makes its debut on the XV and is, according to the engineers, able to restart from stop in just 0.2secs. It also has a function that allows the car to ‘nearly stop and then keep going without the engine turning off. From the moment the car is stationary there is a 0.5secs window before the engine switches off, in that time the driver can change their mind and hit the throttle without the car switching off – not other stop/start system can do this.

So what s the XV like to drive? Well, that s a tricky one because we only had a very brief drive of the thing at Subaru s test facility in Japan; our test drive took in three laps of the facilities ride and handling circuit and two laps of the high-speed bowl.

But even a short drive is enough to tell you the XV is a giant leap ahead (in terms of combining a good ride with good handling) of the old car. And it s easily better than a Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan Dualis or the Kia Sportage/Hyundai ix35 duo, Volkswagen Tiguan. And it should be better in the rough stuff too what with its short front and rear overhangs.

The ride is everything you d expect and more from a compact rough-roader; it s compliant, in that there s minimal bump intrusion into the cabin, and yet firm enough that it sits nice and flat through corners. The steering is well weighted and consistent in its action but not overly endowed with feel.

Subaru XV Electric Cars

The six-speed manual was my favourite of the two gearboxes; it s got a short, positive throw and is perfectly matched to a clutch that takes up early in the pedal s travel. The CVT, well, I m still yet to fully warm to these things. See, and the XV is no different, they feel fine at speeds of less than 40-50km/h, but once you start building speed they end up feeling rubbery.

The brake pedal is nice and progressive and while our little test drive was never going to stress the brakes, they should prove strong out in the real world.

On the inside, the XV gets decent seats with good support and a dash that s been better designed than any recent Impreza. But what leaps out most is the quality of the trim materials and the quality of the workmanship.

There are three trim levels to choose from, starting with the 2.0i which gets a choice of manual or CVT, premium multi-function display and audio with steering wheel control and reversing camera. Next up is the 2.0i-L which adds an electric sunroof, dual-zone climate control, sat-nav with SMS voice to text and voice command as well as rear privacy glass. At the top of the tree is the 2.0i-S which throws in leather trim, eight-way electric adjustable driver s seat, heated front seats, alloy pedals, silver roof rails (all models get roof rails), privacy glass and HID Xenon headlights and washers.

In terms of safety, the XV comes well equipped with an excellent field of vision (front and back), big wing mirrors, Vehicle Dynamics Control System, Brake Assist and a Brake Override System which gives priority to the brakes when both the brake and throttle pedals are pressed simultaneously. All grades of XV are fitted with seven airbags (front, side, curtain, and knee).

VERDICT: There ll be some who think Subaru could have made the XV a little more aggressive looking, but reserve judgement until you see it in the metal. It looks good, and let s not forget that it s meant to be, predominantly, an urban warrior. But what s truly impressive about the new XV is how well it drives. It s easily better than anything else in the class.

Looks like Subaru might just have got its mojo back.

Subaru XV Electric Cars
Subaru XV Electric Cars
Subaru XV Electric Cars
Subaru XV Electric Cars
Subaru XV Electric Cars

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