One of the most talked-about Subaru models ever – the fabulous and ever-so-funky all new Subaru XV – is expected to wow the crowds at the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS). Subaru Southern Africa has high hopes for this crossover SUV, which combines a sophisticated design with leading-edge technology. Going forward, the company believes that […]

One of the most talked-about Subaru models ever – the fabulous and ever-so-funky all new Subaru XV – is expected to wow the crowds at the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS).

Subaru Southern Africa has high hopes for this crossover SUV, which combines a sophisticated design with leading-edge technology. Going forward, the company believes that the Subaru XV – which will compete in the Cross Over segment of the market – will be its volume seller.

And, when one examines the new XV, it’s not hard to see why; the car is an outstanding all-round package, which really does not put a tyre wrong.


Like so many other new cars entering the market, the XV is very definitely a crossover vehicle – while it offers the practicality, ground clearance and ride height of a SUV, it also boasts the manoeuvrability and driving comfort of a family car.

The brand positioning is that of an “urban adventurer”, which sums up the XV’s personality perfectly – because it’s the ideal car in which to explore and enjoy city life. Young-at-heart trendsetters want a stylish vehicle in which to cruise the boulevards; and the XV certainly fits the bill in this regard. Furthermore, they desire a car that boasts superior driving dynamics – and, once again, the sporty XV certainly does not fail to deliver.


One of the car’s most obvious features is its sleek yet muscular exterior; its powerful design blends a uniquely Subaru profile with a sporty, energetic overall presence.

The XV features a number of typical Subaru design traits – such as the hexagonal grille and hawk eye-style headlights, for instance. The front grille features a hexagonal design – one of the hallmarks of Subaru vehicles. With a bold look reminiscent of the eyes of a hawk, the headlights provide outstanding illumination. •The fog lamps blend seamlessly into the front bumper.
The XV’s innovatively designed aluminum wheels convey a real sense of depth while remaining fashionably urban. Thanks to the contrast between the silver spokes and black surrounds, the vehicle portrays a different impression when moving and when stationary.

But the car doesn’t only look good; it’s practical too. For instance, the doors open wider than ever before to ease entry and egress.

The distance between the floor and the top of the side sill has also been reduced, meaning that the driver and passengers do not have to lift their legs as high as before when entering or leaving the vehicle.

The corners of the front and rear bumpers have been redesigned to enhance the aerodynamic performance of the vehicle. Naturally, this contributes to better fuel efficiency. It rides on 17″ aluminium wheels.

The XV comes in a particularly striking new colour called Tangerine Orange Pearl. It is also available in Satin White Pearl, Obsidian Black Pearl, Camellia Red Pearl, Ice Silver, Sky Blue Metallic, Deep Cherry Pearl.

The interior is both roomy and luxurious; experts agree that the XV’s interior is one of the most stylish to ever emerge from the Subaru stable.

It’s also surprisingly spacious. The designers did not want to increase the length of the vehicle; the XV is intended to be a manoeuvrable, nippy city car. Instead, they moved the A-pillars forward, increasing interior space in this manner. As a result, there is considerably more knee room for rear-seat occupants, who can now also place their feet inside the large open areas underneath the front seats. Thanks to these enhancements, the new XV has more rear-seat knee room than any other vehicle in its class.

There is more shoulder and elbowroom than before, thanks to improvements in the internal structure of the doors. Once again, the XV is best in class in this area.

In typical Subaru fashion, all-round visibility is nothing short of superb. This was bolstered by the inclusion of triangular windows in front of the rear-view mirrors.

The cargo area, which has been completely redesigned, is considerably more spacious and accessible.

Like so many other features in the XV, the seats are completely new. The front seats feature a higher hip point, and the driver’s seat comes with a six-way power seat system as standard. Not only can the headrests be raised and lowered; now they also feature a tilt adjustment mechanism. The backrests have been raised to provide more support. The cushions now feature a low resilience urethane, which absorbs small vibrations.

The rear seating area is much more spacious in the all-new XV. Notable improvements in this regard include the concave surfaces at the back of the front seats and larger open areas underneath them; both of improve comfort for passengers in the rear seat. A multitude of storage areas can be found throughout the cabin.

The XV boasts an advanced information and entertainment system. The Multi-Function Display (MFD) provides the driver and passengers with a host of information, including outside air temperature, time, fuel consumption, time travelled and average vehicle speed. An innovative Eco-driving display helps the driver to improve fuel efficiency by providing a graphic display of the driver’s eco-friendly driving.

This audio system features improved audio quality and a new speaker configuration for surround sound quality. It is compatible with Bluetooth, iPod and USB connectable devices.

A large LCD monitor, which provides important information (current gear, for instance), is located in the centre of the instrument cluster. Speaking of instrumentation, the much-loved Subaru sweep has been retained.

While the interior is decidedly sporty, it also oozes opulence. For instance, the steering wheel is covered in leather – and it includes controls for the MFD, audio, and cruise control. These controls have all been redesigned for better ergonomics.

The air-conditioning system incorporates a new, more environmentally friendly refrigerant while insulating material was added to the engine compartment to reduce the amount of heat entering the cabin. This also reduces the load placed on the air-conditioning system, particularly when the engine is idling, thereby improving fuel efficiency.


The XV is available with a 2,0-litre four-cylinder DOHC petrol engine, which delivers class-leading fuel efficiency. This highly responsive powerplant, which boasts lots of low-down torque, delivers 110 kW of power at 6 200 r/min and 196 Nm of torque at 4 200 r/min.

This engine is part of the brand new FB range of engines, which also powers the new Forester. This new powerplant line-up retains Subaru’s proven benefits of the horizontally-opposed engine while enhancing fuel efficiency (fuel economy is 10% better than before).

The new engine incorporates a number of significant design features, including a more compact combustion chamber, enhanced intake ports and valves, optimised injector positions and lighter pistons and connecting rods. Friction was reduced by overhauling the cooling system and by adding roller rockers to the moving valve train system.

Subaru’s engineers achieved a longer stroke while maintaining the same overall engine width as the previous engine, by modifying the layout of the valve driving system and its drive mechanism, and redesigning the cylinder block and cylinder head mechanism.

A Cooled EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) function has been added to the water pipe, which means that a larger amount of gas is redirected. This reduces pumping losses and improves fuel efficiency. The adoption of roller rockers for the valve operating system has led to improvements in terms of both friction and fuel efficiency.

The new engine employs a chain type cam drive, which allows for a maintenance-free compact design. The use of a chain system has also permitted a size reduction for the crank and cam sprocket, which contributes to limiting enlargement of the total width. The adoption of high-strength chains contributes to reducing the friction.

The 2,0-litre petrol engine is mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or Subaru Lineartronic CVT Box. Based on the six-speed manual transmission equipped to the Legacy, its gear ratios have been adapted so that newly-developed FB engine can handle urban driving conditions as easily as high-speed motorway travel.

The XV has an independent strut suspension up front, which has been completely redesigned to improve driving comfort and handling. For instance, it includes new valves, which ensure rapid damping control and provide better overall responsiveness. A rebound spring has been added to the front strut, and body roll has been reduced as a result while stability has been enhanced.

At the rear, the XV has independent double-wishbone suspension, which has also been redesigned to offer better overall responsiveness, improved straight line stability, enhanced occupant comfort and a stiffer chassis.

The XV features disc brakes all round. A spring-type pad return mechanism was added to front-brake pads in order to reduce friction as a result of brake drag, contributing to better fuel efficiency.


Subaru has long been famous for engineering safety into its vehicles – hence the fact that the company offers “Confidence in Motion”. The new XV is no exception to this rule – its safety credentials are nothing short of exemplary.

A number of features help to prevent an accident happening in the first place – active safety features include outstanding all-round visibility, boosted by the addition of headlight washers. Subaru’s legendary Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system is, of course, standard – as is ABS.

Despite the vehicle’s full arsenal of active safety features, accidents can still happen – and that’s when the XV’s passive safety features come into play. The XV is vastly improved in this regard; for instance, the toe board has been thickened for greater strength to protect against the rearward movement of the pedal in a case of collision. A reinforcing member has been added at the base of the A-pillar to strengthen the joint between the pillar and the upper frame. This ensures that impact energy produced by a frontal collision is efficiently passed from the frame to the pillar.

There is a new double-beam structure for the rear-door beam, which helps to limiting panel deformation around the outer-door handle in the event of a side collision.

The seats have been redesigned to limit the severity of neck injuries.

The airbags have been improved – a collision is detected faster while the passenger-seat SRS airbag now has a fold in its centre. This means that the neck of the passenger is exposed to less impact force upon deployment – but safety is in no way compromised. A driver’s seat knee airbags has been included.


In inimitable Subaru fashion, the new XV boasts an arsenal of leading-edge technology – not least of which are Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive and advanced Subaru Dynamic Chassis Control Concept.

Thanks to these two core Subaru technologies, the XV feels incredibly safe and stable out on the road – and, of course, it is. In keeping with the Subaru credo of offering “Confidence in Motion”, the new XV is as sure-footed as a mountain goat (but a whole lot prettier).

The new XV will become available in South Africa in the first quarter of 2012.

Gerald Ferreira

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Published : Friday October 7, 2011

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