Model Reviewed Subaru XV 20182.0i SE Premium Lineartronic CVT
First Impression Review: (first 1500miles)
(Some of the comments may be obvious or apparent to other XV or Subaru owners but are stated here as I’m posting this onto a none Subaru forum.)
Purchased 3rd May 2018.
The car has the following basic features;
Subaru Boxer engine (2.0 litre petrol 152HP)
Permanent Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (60:40) - Active Torque Split
Lineartronic, Continuously Variable Transmission with Paddle Shifters
EyeSight Driver Assist technology
X-Mode with Hill Descent Control
Rear Vehicle Detection – Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert
LED Steering Responsive Headlights, High Beam Assist
Adaptive Cruise Control
8” DAB, touchscreen Sat Nav (TomTom), Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™
Two, Colour Multifunction Information Displays (MFD’s)
Power Sunroof, UV protection windscreen, side windows
Dual-zone Automatic Air-conditioning System
Power-folding heated door mirrors
Aluminium alloy wheels (18” x 7J) 225/55 R18
TPMS, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (not advertised?)
This car ticks about 85% of the boxes which for me is pretty impressive as I doubt there are many cars that would reach the mystical 100% satisfaction goal.
I’ve covered over 1500miles plus now and using a brim to brim measurement have achieved 40mpg. I’ve been running the car in, for the first 500 miles or so, without any hard acceleration and the car feels like it’s loosening up nicely so maybe some spirited acceleration will impact on the mpg, we’ll see how it goes. There has been no oil use so far.
This is a really good car and I’m very happy that we made the move back to Subaru.
I’d like to give a shout for Adams Brothers, Aylesbury, there is a good team working in this dealership who were very informative during the test drive and worked hard keeping me informed of the cars build status and then during the handover process and changing my vanity number plates on the day. There was a real feeling my custom was important.
So what do I not like or feel could be improved none are what might be called serious but nonetheless I feel, if corrected, would make this a better car.
● This car is very much targeted as a “real” SUV that can go to places that many of the current batch of SUV cars marketed today can only dream of, in all weathers and times of the year. As such I’d have expected the car to have come from with OEM All Weather tyre. Sadly, this is not the case and like so many of the breed comes fitted with Summer spec’d tyres. (Bridgestone Dueler) In the short period I’ve owned the car some morning temperatures has been quite cold below the 7-10 oC that summer tyres start to harden and loose some of the compliance. This has affected the ride quality to some extent. I was aware of this when we purchased the car so budgeted for replacing these tyres after a running period with Michelin CrossClimate SUV tyres which I used on my last car and found them to be quieter, more economical and consistent performance in all weathers.
● A major selling point for this car is its safety features, part of which is the Eyesight technology. This works really well and I’m impressed with the grace in which it applies the brakes and the options for acceleration that are available. That said the system needs to see the road so surely I’d have expected the front windscreen to have been heated, not just the wiper blade section. I’d always clean the screen anyway but as most accidents occur within a mile of you home it would have been prudent to include this as a standard feature.
● The electrically adjustable seat is excellent and I’ve found no trouble in optimising the driving position to suite my requirements. Pity then that there is no memory buttons to set and recall these adjustments. So that if another driver or when the car is serviced move the settings I will have to repeat the adjustment process again. Previous cars have had three memory settings giving me the option to set up two main drivers and have a spare.
● Like all of the cars now sold this car has auto stop start which is ON by default after each restart. It can be switched off once the engine is running. I generally like to leave this on but have found that the car is too eager to switch off the engine when I feel the temperature is not high enough. The result is on restart the engine/CVT tend to cause the car to jump, lurch with a physical and audible thump. I now try to turn this off and then on again later. There is a screen that pops up giving the estimated “savings” and the to stall time stopped. Obviously the savings are minuscule and frankly I’m in the camp that feels that the system is more suitable for reducing emissions etc., during the current testing as the urban cycle has regular stop start sequences.
● The Infotainment System is good, very good in fact and I like the TomTom maps provided. However, the current map software installed on the car is very much out of date and I regularly find myself driving across fields and farm land. There is no junction 11A on the M1, no Luton/Dunstable link road and many others as we’ve driven around. My dealer contacted Subaru UK on our behalf and has said that the updates will be live very soon, within a few weeks. Let’s hope this happens sooner than later.
● It would have been nice for the front passenger seat to have been height adjustable, even if this was a manual system.
● The boot/trunk is a little on the small side given the size of the car. However, I’ve found that most of the volume lost compared to my Skoda Yeti was probably in the height, the floor area in larger. This means that I can fit more into the car as long as I stay below the cover height. *
● There is no spare wheel, even a space saver version. There is an option for one but the boot/trunk size is very much compromised if this is added to the build. A car designed for trail soft reading should have a spare wheel. *
* these two comments are probably there because the car is effectively an Impreza on stilts.
So much for the negatives, what do I like about the car. Too many to list frankly.
● This is a great car that feels planted and stable to drive with little or no body roll. I guess the new improved chassis does a good job.
● Comfortable, even after a long drive with massive all round visibility.
● The seating position, for me at 5 foot 10+ inches, about 178cm, is spot on. The adjustment of the seat is an 8 way system and the large movement of the steering wheel up/down and in/out make it almost impossible not to find a good driving position.
● The on board information systems are abundant with maybe some redundancy or duplication but allow for a huge amount of flexibility as to what and where information if going to be displayed, more of that later.
● The lights are brilliant and give you the feeling of being able to see and be seen in all situations. The steering responsive headlights and auto dipping works really well.
● The internal seating, space looks and feels good and is practical for both front and rear passengers with good legroom that’s going to be acceptable to all but a few. I like the swabs on the seats that have a sensible front leg roll design not the exaggerated humps that look good but cut off the circulation to the lower part of the legs on long journeys. (Not so bad for me at my height but for the vertically challenged it can be very uncomfortable.)
● The sunroof is small but useful enough on those darker days. Most days, in the current summer weather, we have the roof covered as there is more than enough light coming through the windows to lighten what could be a dark interior.
● Plenty of options to disable or use the Eyesight and other assist technologies, either permanently or as a temporary measure. These, so far, have worked flawlessly.
● I’m impressed with the ability of the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to react and calculate what any given situation is on the road. For example, driving along the motorway and the ACC set to 65mph the system locks onto the car in front and registers the lock via visual and audible signal, which can be turned off if it’s irritating. If a car pulls out from the nearside lane the system adjusts your speed and maintains the distance but if someone pulls in front from the outside lane and is effectively moving as fast or faster than you the car just follows without braking. “Clever by Design”
● The rear view camera, as most do, has guidelines but the XV has orange lines that show the turning circle for the lock you have applied to the front wheels. I’ve checked and this is pretty accurate and the 140 degree wide angle view allows a good view either side of your targeted direction. The Rear Cross Traffic Alert works in conjunction with the camera and gives a high degree of confidence when using the camera. I’m old school so still look around and use the mirrors but having the additional systems on board is very useful.
● The Infotainment Head Unit covers a host of features, however, the current versions of the Subaru Starlink and Aha apps do not add much to the experience and to my mind are tailored to the American market. The radio is good and I’ve used the DAB in most places I’ve driven without any drop outs, so a big plus. The media on 64Gb USB works as expected and I’ve tried both USB 2 and 3 versions. The media artworks display well and the searching and sorting is fast. The audio quality is more than acceptable and considering it’s a car gives a good sound experience. Android Auto works well as does the Waze app, both use Google as the base maps but as Waze crowd sources it’s data in real time it's always up to date. Linking the Waze app to my Pocket GPS speed cameras gives very accurate camera locations. The Tomtom maps are clear and includes a considerable range of POI’s and also includes some speed camera locations but these tend to be more generic not a specifically indication a camera location but a general area. This is a good Infotainment Head Unit with a large 8 inch screen and good touch sensitivity. The screen does pick up finger marks but then most of them do, with the car sunroof cover pulled back there can be some reflection of the sky on the screen, in general is as good as most I’ve seen.
● Multi Function Displays, MFD’s. There are two MFD’s one between the Rev Counter and Speed dials, portrait mode and the other at the top, middle section, of the dash in landscape mode. Both are colour and there is large range of data sets that can be selected as well as changing driver selectable settings. I’ve used these at various times in different ways and I’m impressed with how useful these can be. The dash mounted MFD is great if you are using the built in Tomtom Nav system as the directions can be displayed there which means that they are in a direct eyeline with the road, not having to look down.
● I’ve not detailed or polished the body work yet as I wanted to give it time to harden. That said, washing the car produces a good clean finish without any hard work on my part and the black trims come up without any streaking. I’ve tended to the view that Subaru paint finishes as perhaps a little suspect but friends have commented on how well the car paint looks, time will tell.
● The engine/CVT work well enough but to be honest I’m still getting used to driving a petrol engine car. I’ve driven diesel powered cars for the last 20 years at least and the power/torque characteristics are so very different. My last two cars have had DSG (VW) 6 speed wet gearboxes and have performed beautifully. The Lineartronic CVT in the XV is a very different feel but certainly a much better experience than I had thought it might be. It will scream if pushed but nowhere as much as I’d had anticipated. I’m not much impressed by 0-60 times but for me it’s the passing acceleration that counts, 40-60mph, and this box gives me some confidence that when asked it will respond. It is very smooth and I’ve used the paddle shifters more for downshifts when hill climbing on the narrow hilly roads in Derbyshire. (They seem to pop up from nowhere some days?) The paddle shifters do approximate to a gear shift and are useful but don’t seem to give the deceleration affect I’d expect from a DSG box. (Maybe my expectation is more based on a diesel than petrol engine so it’s difficult for me to really know what to expect)
● The brakes feel very effective and rolling towards a hedge, to test out the Pre Collision Braking, it works! The brakes feel very progressive with a light touch feathering off the speed without any snatch and a firmer press giving you the positive feedback that the car will stop.
● The steering is light but with some feedback which might not suit all but is OK for my style of driving. The steering characteristic gives a good feel if cornering with some pace feeling somewhat neutral, neither over or under steering.
● Security Marking and Registration System protecting your vehicle. This is not mentioned anywhere I can find but is a valuable addition which surprised me when I looked at the windows and then received an email confirming the car was registered to me.
Early days and I hope that as I manage to clock up some more miles and get a better feel for the car and it’s technology I will look at a comprehensive review.