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AUTO DRIVE VIDEO: 2015 Subaru XV, the perfect balance between sports and versatility

Published:Wednesday | November 11, 2015 | 11:00 AMKareem Latouche
CVT
Steering mounted controls
Improved interior
Simplistic gear layout
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XV is a first generation vehicle for Subaru which started production in 2011. With its muscular design and aggressive rims, Subaru believes this vehicle can make the brand more popular with the young professional market.

Who is this for?

- Someone who wants a crossover vehicle with a distinctive sporty design

- A person who likes to take adventurous journeys throughout the island.

High ground clearance

The vehicle has a ground clearance of about 8.7 inches, which puts it on par with the average mid-size SUV. The compromise that comes with a vehicle with a high ground clearance is the potential of body rolls when taking corners. In most cases, this won't be an issue with this vehicle because of the low centre of gravity provided by the boxer engine, along with the all-wheel drive system.

CVT

Subaru seems to finally address their sluggish transmission performance from previous years with this new CVT engine. There is no longer a noticeable lag when accelerating, which makes overtaking a welcomed challenge. It gets to 80 km/h effortlessly and after that it kind of fizzles out, and yes, the winey box engine noise is present but only when the pedal is floored.

When going up hilly terrain, it provided adequate acceleration. However, when slowing down, the transmission takes a little time to adjust to this command. Once registered, it usually goes to a power level lower than expected to provide the driver with as much torque as possible.

 

Steering mounted controls

While the handling of this vehicle is great, the controls mounted on the steering seem a little too many, there are about 15 buttons. For example, the designated information buttons are isolated at the lower left hand side of the steering wheel from the other traditionally placed buttons. Ergonomically they are great, but I think in the near future Subaru will compound these features for a simpler layout.

 

Simplistic gear layout 

Because there is a CVT transmission there are only two driving options, regular drive mode and low-gear mode for descending and ascending steep hills. This is ideal for the passive driver who would prefer the vehicle to do most of the work. Nonetheless, engaging drivers would have appreciated the option of a tiptronic, especially with this vehicle's diverse capabilities.

 

Improved interior

Subaru interiors in the past have always been very bland, with their customary three knob climate controls and basic utilitarian design. However, they have broken the mold with this model by adding hints of sophistication throughout the cabin. This is evident with the addition of a touch screen display unit, while it is not very responsive, it represents great progress in the Subaru world.