2017 Subaru XV 2.0i-S

The 1st generation Subaru XV (also known as the Crosstrek in other markets) was a standout subcompact crossover since 2012 because it genuinely ran its active all-wheel-drive system, albeit still with a front bias torque split of 60:40, all the time while still achieving 26 mpg City and 34 mpg Highway fuel economy, unlike the rest of the competition which would engage the rear wheels either electronically only at low speed or during traction slippage. This made for a very confidence inspiring all-weather drive for buyers who wanted a taller small hatchback but didn’t want or couldn’t afford to get the full SUV treatment.

Despite being very conservative in the power department, (practically every Subaru fan wanted a turbo installed in the excellent chassis) the outgoing XV was a very good all-around vehicle with strong values and a healthy and very usable 8.7-inch ground clearance. We actually still have a blue one in our C! Fastfleet. Now 5 years later, the all-new 2nd generation model is out and it is even better, more spacious, and even more full-featured, BUT, it is still quite the conformist in the engine department. The new XV uses the lighter direct injection 2.0-liter flat-4 engine from the current 5th generation Impreza, which has a higher compression ratio (is supposed to be 80% new) with a power increase of 4hp at 200 rpm less engine speed and the same 145 lb ft of torque as before but also at 200 less revs. The new engine combined with the updated CVT, which now has a greater ratio spread with virtual 7-stepped (up by one) predetermined ratios via paddle shifters, actually make up for the roughly 60-pound weight increase and allows the XV to perform marginally better than before with a touch more enthusiasm but at the cost of a little fuel economy.

The XV is again based on the Impreza chassis; this time on the newer Subaru Global Platform which is longer and supposedly as much as twice as rigid compared to the old platform. The wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer; the body is .6 inches longer and .9 inches wider, with 153 liters more interior volume, and 2.6 liters more fuel in the tank. It gets retuned suspension with more bracing, a quicker steering ratio from a 16.0:1 to a 13.0:1, active torque vectoring, revised brakes which are stronger and easier to modulate, now has X-Mode that can be activated at speeds below 40 km/h but will engage at 30 km/h and below, and also Hill Descent Control which is operational up to short of 20 km/h among other new features. Some other highlights are the bigger 18” x 7J alloys mated to excellent Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport 225/55R18 98V tires, a powered driver’s seat, aluminum pedals, High Beam Assist, rain-sensing wipers, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Blind-spot detection, multiple SRS bags, full LED lighting with LED Steering Responsive Headlights (SRH), moonroof, and EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology which manages the adaptive cruise control and the automated pre-collision braking system.

The new interior reflects the redesign which is both an evolution from the outgoing model. The new seats are considerably better looking, more supportive and more comfortable especially at the rear with a wealth of orange stitching that is also applied nicely on the dashboard, center tunnel, steering wheel, and shift boot. The 6-speaker 180-watt infotainment system now uses an upgraded 8-inch touchscreen which is also the monitor for the rear camera. The multi-function display found top and center on the dashboard as before now has a wider array of data with crisper graphics. The standard XV 2.0i does have much less standard equipment; our test unit was the more loaded 2.0i-S variant which has the lion’s share of features. The slight weight gain, thanks mostly to the larger proportions and higher level of standard equipment, is also because of the extensive noise reduction measures that include the new thicker glass all-around.

The ride is much better than before in a much quieter cabin. For mild off-roading, the angle of approach remains the same at 18 degrees but the rear angle of departure is slightly more at 29 degrees from 27.7 in the old model. The XV still rolls more than I had hoped, but then again, the overachieving crossover isn’t supposed to handle like an Impreza. Given the new design, the higher level of standard features, and the larger cabin, I would now recommend the Subaru XV over the Mazda CX-3, making it the best in its class. Now if Subaru would insert the BRZ’s 205 bhp 2.0-liter flat-4 engine in it, which would definitely fit, then that would take the XV to a whole other level!

Specification – 2017 Subaru XV 2.0i-S

Engine: Flat-4, 1995 cc, dohc 16V, Direct Injection, DAVCS, Lineartronic CVT

Max power: 152 bhp @ 6000 rpm

Max torque: 145 lb ft @ 4000 rpm

0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 9.8 sec.

Top Speed: 192 km/h (120 mph)

Fuel Mileage: 27 mpg City / 33 mpg Highway

Price as tested: PhP 1,520,000.00 (estimated)

C! RATING 9.5 /10

+Good looking, versatile, standout packaging, more spacious and comfortable.

-No 8-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo option, power and delivery is better than before but still leaves you wanting.