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Subaru XV: no fire breather but does a workmanlike job

This week, an update of Subaru’s small XV SUV – I never really took to the first XV released in 2012 however the latest Subaru XV is a different kettle of fish – vastly improved and refined in a number of areas. The Subaru XV in many ways more a high-riding wagon rather than an upright SUV. I drove several from Jindabyne across frosty country, at times down to -6 degrees, to Merimbula on sealed and unsealed roads. The first series XV had a rather annoying CVT transmission which flared at the touch of the throttle, the updated version is far better but not perfect and for preference I’d prefer a standard six-speed automatic. All models do however have wheel mounted paddle shifters with seven manually selectable speeds. Four models 2.0, 2.0L. 2.0 premium and 2.0S – the entry price, a welcome $1250 below the old model – starting at 27,990 and with a lot more specification.

High points – far quieter, seat comfort and value for money. All models feature Subaru’s X-mode all-wheel- drive from the larger Forester and it made the XV very confident in the slippery conditions I encountered this week. More interior room too, up to 34mm wider inside and a wheelbase that has grown by 30mm with improved leg room in the rear. More refined performance from the 2.0-litre 156kW engine, it’s no fire breather but does a workmanlike job in a very fuel efficient manner – I managed 7.8L/100 driving rather hard. I’m David Berthon

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