Long-term test: Subaru XV 2,0i-S ES Lineartronic CVT

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Long-term test: Subaru XV 2,0i-S ES Lineartronic CVT

Long-term test (Introduction): Subaru XV 2,0i-S ES Lineartronic CVT

From the slice of basic MPV that’s the Toyota Avanza, to the shapely Alfa Romeo Giulietta, the boisterous Mini Coupé JCW and a Toyota Prius that’s proved decidedly oddball and frugal in equal measure, my run of less-than-conventional long-termers over the years has made for anything but dull reading.

And, with the arrival of the new Subaru XV that treads a fine line between boutique crossover and battleship, my run looks set to continue. Still, I’m a long way from complaining about my current set of wheels; far from it. With its blend of fashionable, chunky crossover styling, along with Subaru staples of AWD and a horizontally opposed engine, the XV is a popular member of Subaru’s local line-up.

While it may look familiar, the latest XV is not just a lightly massaged version of the first car with new brightwork tacked on, but an entirely new model that shares its global platform with the latest Impreza. It forms the foundations of a dynamically well-resolved vehicle, but the boot space/legroom ratio is frustratingly skewed towards the latter.

It also shares the Impreza’s very generous standard specification (the impressive smartphone-enabled infotainment system among the number, but more on that in a later update), but adds Subaru’s EyeSight suite of active-safety technologies. EyeSight’s battery of laser and camera sensors overseeing functions that include collision detection and mitigation, blind-spot assist, one of the most natural-feeling and progressive adaptive cruise-control systems I’ve encountered and a lanedeparture warning system.

A trip from Cape Town to Stanford revealed the XV to be a pleasing car to pilot. On the positive side, the ride is well resolved, refinement levels are impressive and everything feels substantial and solidly screwed together.

The powertrain is more of a mixed bag, though. Although the new engine’s 115 kW is five up on that of the previous car, it’s still modest for a 2,0-litre unit tasked with moving a heavy AWD crossover.

Although Subaru’s Lineartronic is one of the better CVTs, the combination of this transmission and a modestly powered engine feeding an AWD system requires a heavy foot for brisk progress; hence an initial average fuel-consumption figure of 9,2 L/100 km.

It’s early days, so I’m going to reserve further judgement regarding the powertrain’s quirks until the transition from Prius to XV has passed, a bit like waiting for those stiff new hiking boots to mould to your trotters.

After 1 month
Mileage now:
1 642 km
Fuel consumption (litres/100 km):
9,21 L/100 km
We like:
sharp styling; loads of standard kit
We dislike: surprisingly small boot; CVT