By Mike Torpey on 2022-05-28 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Subaru XV E-Boxer
2.0 SE Premium
THE definition of a crossover car is generally accepted to be a blend of hatchback practicality with SUV styling.
But how about adding another important characteristic to the equation, one which many crossover models cannot genuinely claim to possess.
They may look the part but in reality aren't actually as capable and sure-footed in an urban environment as they are in the countryside.
And this is where less heavily marketed vehicles like the Subaru XV gain an edge and really come into their own - they are proper all-rounders but without the hefty price tag of the premium mud-pluggers.
The XV, which was facelifted last year, is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine plus Subaru's e-BOXER technology, in other words it's a hybrid and boosted by an electric motor.
The benefit to XV owners is battery-based power without the need to plug in or recharge, the 150PS engine working alongside the electric motor to improve efficiency and economy.
In addition, and giving the Subaru added versatility, is the XV's symmetrical all-wheel drive system - standard on all models - which shifts power to the wheels with the most traction.
Coping with muddy fields or rough tracks poses no problems and coupled with the Japanese company's X-MODE and Hill Descent Control set-up, negotiating steep inclines and descents is made simple.
Push a button and X-MODE takes command of the engine, auto transmission, AWD and brakes to give the grip you need.
You can also select a Snow/Dirt mode for surfaces covered with snow, sludge or gravel and there's also a D.Snow/Mud setting for especially treacherous conditions where a car could easily become stuck.
And an improved Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive) system is geared towards driving style - Sport mode loads the throttle response while Intelligent mode makes the power delivery more fuel efficient.
Just two versions of the XV are up for grabs, in SE and SE Premium trim, and both come with all-wheel drive as standard and a maximum 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
These are really striking, quite low slung crossovers and our tested SE Premium version came with tough black leather upholstery featuring orange stitching throughout, including around the dash and steering wheel.
The central eight-inch touchscreen for accessing on-board features isn't as big as on some competitors, but easily accessed, and oddment space around the vehicle includes bottle holders in all four doors, the same number of cupholders, trays, slots, a glovebox and a lidded container.
Passenger space is adequate all-round, our only criticism being that the driver's seat doesn't slide back quite far enough and the centre rear passenger position is both perched and the occupant needs to have one leg either side of the transmission tunnel.
Otherwise everything is very practical, including the 340-litre boot which rises to 1,173 litres of capacity when the 60:40 split/fold rear seats are folded flat.
The XV is spirited to drive too - smooth, assured, nicely balanced, with plenty of punch and we fractionally exceeded the official Combined fuel consumption figure of 35.7 miles per gallon.
All models come with the likes of all-wheel drive, Subaru's bespoke EyeSight driver assistance safety technology, automatic LED headlights with high beam assist, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay plus keyless entry and push button start.
Upgrading to SE Premium adds leather seats, eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, sat-nav and a sunroof for an extra Â£2,000.
Subaru XV E-Boxer 2.0 SE Premium Lineartronic
Mechanical:150ps, 1,995cc, 4cyl petrol engine plus electric motor driving all wheels via lineatronic automatic gearbox
Max Speed:120 mph
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