Subaru XV is a compact SUV from the Japanese company that has featured AWD in virtually ever model sold in Australia for the last 25 years.
The model launched here in January 2012 features an all-new body and rides 30 mm higher than others in the Impreza range. Note that there was an XV model in the Impreza range prior to the one being covered here, but it was in a different category.
The second generation Subaru XV is about to be released downunder and we have already driven it in Japan, albeit on an easy paced course that never looked like challenging it. We have been invited to the launch of Australian launch in a few weeks time and will report on it then.
If it proves as good as we anticipate you can expect quite a few older model XVs to be traded in on the new one. Which may result in dealers’ yards becoming overcrowded – resulting in lowered prices until things settle back to normal. No promises, though…
The 2012 onwards XV is the real deal in SUV terms. We found it could easily find its way up, down, over and around our off-road course without missing a beat.
Handling is somewhat hampered by the extra ground clearance and the higher centre of gravity that creates. However, it you don’t drive it as though it’s a sports wagon it will behave itself. If you do get too close to the Impreza’s limits electronic aids will do their best to save you.
Subarus have long been popular in Australia where they have been appreciated for their no nonsense design and rugged build. While the XV provides more than others in the Subaru range in the styling stakes (the sports BRZ being a major exception) it proved popular with traditional Australian buyers virtually from the day it went on sale. Meaning there are now plenty on the used-car market.
The Subaru XV’s interior gets semi sporty front bucket seats. Rear seats can carry three children, or two adults without too much shoulder rubbing.
In the manner of a modern SUV, the XV is Bluetooth enabled and has an iPod compatible USB connection in the centre console. Boot space is a bit tight as this is a relatively short vehicle and a full load for a family of five could challenge it.
Subaru XV has a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre, four-cylinder boxer engine. This is a modern powerplant and provides plenty of grunt, even in a relatively heavy car like this one.
A sports machine it’s not, but it can make its way along nicely on long trips and isn’t too big to park around town.
The Japanese company is well established in Australia since its earliest days here back in the early 1970s. There’s a strong dealer network, with quite a number of dealers non-metro areas. It has long been loved by those who go skiing, and Tasmanians just love their Subarus.
These are an unusual design so are best left to Subaru specialists, or to independent mechanics who specialise in them. Having said that, a smart owner with a workshop manual beside them can do a fair bit of routine work.
Spare parts prices are line-ball for this class and we have heard of no real complaints about availability.
Insurance costs are, likewise, about par for the course. As usual, shop around, but make sure you’re comparing like for like.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
A full service record is good in any car, sensible people who choose cars like Subarus often have them.
Few Subaru XVs go off sealed roads so if you do find one – look for scratches on the bumper corners and doors, as well as scuffing under the body.
Check the dipstick to make sure the oil level is okay, Subaru engines can burn oil at times and may have been run low. If you’re suspicious check the aforementioned service books.
Check for damage in the boot as it relatively small and may have been crammed tight at times.
Make sure the engine kicks over quickly and idles neatly almost from the moment it first runs. If you haven’t driven a Subaru boxer engine before you may find it’s a slightly uneven beat. This is normal and you soon become accustomed to it.
Manual gearboxes should be light and easy in their changes.
If the CVT auto is a bit slow to react at very slow speeds, usually when parking, it may have problems. Have a professional check it out.
Budget on spending from $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2012 Subaru XV 2.0i; $12,000 to $18,000 for a 2012 2.0i-L; $14,000 to $20,000 for a 2012 2.0i-S; $16,000 to $23,000 for a 2013 2.0i-S; $18,000 to $25,000 for a 2014 2.0i-S Black Edition or a 2016 2.0i; $20,000 to $28,000 for a 2015 2.0i-S; and $22,000 to $31,000 for a 2016 2.0i-S.
CAR BUYING TIP
Look for simplicity in a car if you want to save money by doing your own repairs. It also makes sense to buy a car for which a comprehensive service manual is available.