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First drive 2020 XV e-boxer


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Awhile ago, I signed up to be kept informed about the introduction of the new Subaru XV e-boxer. A few weeks ago I got an email inviting me to go on a demonstration drive, I chose the one at Longstowe Hall Cambridgeshire. I had the option to test drive the 2020 XV or Forester, I choose the XV.

All the cars available for the test drives were imports from Japan but right-hand drive. I’m unsure when the car is spec'd for the UK if the finish and fittings will be the same.

Brief Review.

The new e-boxer 2020 cars are “mild” hybrids and based on the standard symmetrical all wheel drive Subaru XV chassis and a 2.0i injection petrol engine producing 110 kW or 150ps. The Battery, lithium iron, is 118 volts with a maximum output of 13.5 kW, this is fed into a 12.3 kW or 16.7ps output electric motor which is coupled to the gearbox. The Battery is fitted under the boot floor pan and seems to have reduced the fuel tank slightly as well as reducing the height under the boot cover by about 25 mm or 1 inch in old money. In addition the Battery will have increased the overall weight of the car and subsequently reduced the towing capacity, I guess, by a similar amount. The exact details and UK specifications of car were not available as were figures for the fuel efficiency, emissions 0-60mph time etc.

Subaru’s e-boxer mild-hybrid technology automatically controls when the car uses the electric motor. This allows the high-voltage Battery to remain more compact and lighter than standard hybrid but does not allow the driver to manually select EV mode.


The test drive itself was on normal roads around and about Longstowe Hall. This lasted approximately 45 minutes and we were accompanied by a professional driver who does this work for a living. Initially he demonstrated the car, essentially the new EV functions which were clearly displayed on the central display. I was surprised when we got in the car that there was no charge in the battery he explained that the car recharged the battery very quickly which proved to be true. After a mile so I got into the driver's seat and took the car for a tour around the country lanes.

In comparison to the 2018 model XV the 2020 model e-boxer XV seems an all round better drive. When accelerating hard the engine is assisted by the battery motor and selecting sport mode on the steering wheel gives a significant improvement to the acceleration performance. In sport mode the battery is used solely to assist the engine with no regeneration under braking. Under normal driving conditions you’re unaware of the battery being used to either assist the engine or to be recharged other than looking at the central display. When the car is used with low acceleration or creeping along, say in a traffic jam, the car is automatically switched into EV mode, in EV mode it’s extremely quiet.

The car has many similar features to the 2018 model we own, Eyesight technology, X mode with hill descent control and Subaru rear vehicle detection. In addition, the 2020 model features a driver monitoring system using an infrared LED and a camera which monitors the driver for signs of inattention or sleepiness and if detected warns them to refocus their attention. A feature I really did like was the side view monitor, this is a camera facing forward and fitted on the passenger side wing mirror and displayed on the multifunction display, this reduces the front near side blind spot and should make street parking easier. I found this could be turned on while the car was moving so quite useful when trying to negotiate a tight spot on a country lane. We covered quite a few miles over various roads surfaces in our demo and the car performed very well.


We were given a pricing document which shows that the 2.0i SE premium Lineartronic MHEV is £30,995 on the road compared to the current 2019 version which is £28,525, so quite a price lift. (The 2020 price does include the option to select free of charge the Crystal White Pearl paint finish, the 2020 pricing is good till 31st December 2019)

I guess the $64,000 question is would I buy one. I think subject to UK specifications etc., and getting a good trade in for our current car I could be very tempted.


The event was friendly and well run and we felt very relaxed and unpressured and I’d gladly recommend going to one if you ever have the option.

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I presume this has the newer Eyesight vs 2018 - seen only a few YouTube videos from the states showing how its better.  Good example was lane assist; instead of going side to side between the white lines, it just stayed in the middle.  Top trim package; i think, had road sign speed reading as well.

Everyone said the acceleration was way better but mpg was less due to the extra weight.

I got my 2018 XV model in February 2018 - still love it and like newer model with 10-12inch media screen (like the Tesla).

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The new Eyesight and lane Assist in combination is like  auto drive and think it would be very effective on the motorways..  I believe there is a control to adjust the sensitivity, on the 2020 model, of the Lane Assist and would perform as you say. The 2018 XV currently it works but is a bit digital.

I really enjoy my current XV but the new XV e-boxer is a joy to drive, not easy to say why but a combination of many little things.

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