Favourites
Subaru XV Review logo

Subaru XV Review

Subaru XV
Subaru XV
Subaru XV
Subaru XV
Subaru XV
Subaru XV
Subaru XV
Subaru XV
Subaru XV
Subaru XV
Subaru XV

1/10

Subaru XV

2/10

Subaru XV

3/10

Subaru XV

4/10

Subaru XV

5/10

Subaru XV

6/10

Subaru XV

7/10

Subaru XV

8/10

Subaru XV

9/10

Subaru XV

10/10

1 / 10

heycar review

      Launch year
      2018
      Body type
      Crossover
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Hybrid
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Safe, secure and solid Subaru

Best bits

  • The reassurance and security of all-wheel drive as standard
  • Safety credentials, including automatic emergency brakes
  • Solid build quality and a long list of standard equipment

Not so great

  • Relatively pricey with high running costs
  • Lack of a manual gearbox or diesel option will limit sales
  • The 1.6i petrol engine is sluggish and inefficient

Read by

Subaru XV Front Side View

Overall verdict

Subaru XV Front Interior

On the inside

Subaru XV Front View

Driving

Subaru XV Rear Number Plate

How much does it cost to run

Subaru XV Front View

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The addition of the hybrid version keeps the Subaru XV current in a world that’s turning to electrification. It’s also a car with genuine off-road capabilities and all-weather reassurance. However, there’s no denying that the XV is an expensive car with equally high running costs."

Subaru XV Front Side View

The Subaru XV isn’t the cheapest compact SUV you can buy. It’s not the best looking. It certainly won’t be the cheapest to run. So why should it be on your shortlist when you’re looking to buy your next car?


Quite simply, because it’s almost a unique proposition in a very crowded sector. Thanks to its permanent all-wheel-drive system, the Subaru XV can venture further off-road than the vast majority of its rivals.


It’s also packed with plenty of standard equipment, including an impressive arsenal of driver assistance and safety systems. All of which means the Subaru XV can justify it’s relatively high price, even in the context of some of its more premium rivals.


Although the current XV looks very similar to the old version, it’s actually all-new. Subaru has worked hard to put right some of the wrongs of the original, which means it’s better to drive, nicer inside and easier to live with.


The most significant step forward is the arrival of the new 2.0-litre e-Boxer hybrid engine. Not only does it offer more punch than the lacklustre 1.6i petrol engine, it’s also more economical. It might be more expensive to buy, but the hybrid is worth the additional expense.


This car will always remain a niche purchase in Europe, with its market potential limited by the lack of a diesel engine, a manual gearbox and the low running costs offered by the majority of compact crossovers.


The fact is, you’ll buy an XV because you need the all-weather traction, the reassurance of Subaru’s reputation for reliability and the long warranty. This thing feels built to last and ready to tackle everything you throw at it.


Inside, you’ll find a cabin that prioritises function over form, but the XV scores highly for a clear dashboard layout and excellent comfort. All-round visibility is good, which will come in handy when you venture off-road. There are a few drawbacks. The middle rear seat is lacking in space, there’s limited headroom in the back and the boot is a little on the small side, especially in the e-Boxer hybrid.


There’s also the issue of finances, with the XV’s expensive price matched by the high running costs. Having said that, what you spend on fuel and maintenance, you’re likely to save in terms of repairs and breakdowns. Historical evidence suggests that the XV will provide years of dependable and reliable service.


It’s not the most obvious choice, but that’s part of its appeal. See a Subaru XV and you’ll know that the owner made a conscious and considered decision to buy something a little different. When the weather turns nasty and the road turns to dust or gravel, you’ll be glad you chose the Subaru XV.


If you're looking for the older version, you need our Subaru XV (2012-2018) review.


Is the Subaru XV right for you?

The Subaru XV isn’t the kind of car you buy on a whim. Although it sits in a sector dominated by crossovers that are unable to venture further off-road than the kerb outside the school gate, the XV is ready for the rough and tough stuff.


In some parts of the world it is known as the Crosstrek, which provides a subtle clue as to what this car is designed to do. All versions are all-wheel drive, which means you benefit from superb all-weather traction and off-road ability.


It’s not a cheap car to buy, but the recent launch of a new 2.0i e-Boxer petrol-electric hybrid version helps keep running costs in check. You also benefit from Subaru’s excellent reputation for reliability and a five-year warranty.


If you’re after a cheap finance deal, or the efficiency of a diesel or tiny turbocharged petrol engine, look elsewhere. If you need a rugged and dependable small SUV, read on.


What’s the best Subaru XV model/engine to choose?

Taking price out of the equation, the 2.0i e-Boxer is the best version of the Subaru XV. It’s more economical than the 1.6, significantly quicker, punchier and more refined. Price aside, it almost renders the 1.6 redundant.


It’s not as though the hybrid is significantly more expensive than the standard petrol. There’s not a huge difference between the 1.6i SE Premium and the 2.0i e-Boxer SE. If you intend to keep the XV for the long haul, the hybrid is the best choice.


As for specification, the XV comes with a generous level of equipment straight out of the box. SE trim packs everything you need, so you have to ask if it’s worth upgrading to SE Premium for leather seats, a sunroof, satellite navigation and an electric driver’s seat. Let your smartphone handle the mapping and save the money.


What other cars are similar to the Subaru XV?

Don’t confuse the Subaru XV with some of the limp-wristed lightweights in the compact crossover segment. It rivals the Jeep Renegade in terms of off-road ability and has the potential to steal sales from premium players like the Volvo XC40 and Audi Q3.


Not that the Subaru has the brand image to tempt too many people away from Audi, BMW, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz. Things are different in the more remote parts of the United States, where many buyers rely on the XV simply to keep moving. Internally, the Subaru Impreza rivals the 1.6i version of the XV, as does the larger and more spacious Subaru Forester.


Learn more

Subaru XV Front Interior

On the inside

Subaru XV Front View

Driving

Subaru XV Rear Number Plate

How much does it cost to run

Subaru XV Front View

Prices, versions and specification