We analyze the Subaru XV, another interesting hybrid

I must have one of those faces of a person unable to lie Norman Bates (Psycho, 1960)

“God, I hate doors,” once again Miller screwing it all up, whispering his bullshit at the wrong time. We were waiting for the subject with our night vision equipment, crouched behind the sofa in his house. We had carefully arranged everything as it was so that he could not be suspicious and we were waiting for him pointing at the door. It is supposed to be silent. You shouldn’t give him a chance, he was a dangerous guy. Mortal. «The doors are hell man, so closed they can hide anything. Anything. It can suddenly open up and be the landlady or your cousin from Wisconsin that you have left the key to and then what do we do? Shoot his cousin point blank?

“Hush Miller” “No, really. The orders are that as soon as the head pops out we shoot first but. What if it’s not him? I don’t want to shoot an old woman or a teenage girl or a little boy Bob “” I’ve told you a thousand times never to call me by my name. And much less when we are in the middle of a mission. And actually shut up Miller. I can not stand you anymore. A door is a door, period. » No man, a closed door is a mystery. An open door is a threat. Anyone can enter through there. Anything. A closed door is an opportunity to screw it up and I don’t want to kill an innocent woman, ”Miller insisted, whispering louder and louder, straining his throat. Not me, man, not me. A sound of breaking glass and a blinding glare. Miller no longer whispered.

There are a number of car manufacturers, in some cases Japanese, that distinguish themselves from the rest of the automobile industry for their mobility proposals that go beyond the competition and even the market. The first time we had the opportunity to test a Subaru model, that was the impression it left us: they are not cars that follow the “fashions” of the market. They are cars that follow the master lines in which the brand has always wanted.

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2020 Subaru XV data sheet

And there are two lines that always mark the proposals of this Japanese manufacturer: its boxer engines and all-wheel drive. Subaru’s boxer engine is a classic and a rare element in the international automotive proposition. These are propellants in which the cylinders are arranged horizontally, unlike traditional internal combustion engines, thus achieving a shorter length and a lower center of gravity, along with other advantages, in exchange for a greater manufacturing and assembly complexity.

In the XV model of the manufacturer that we have been able to test, Subaru has upped the ante and proposes an electric hybrid version (not plug-in) with this same engine and always with all-wheel drive. In this way, the 150 horsepower gasoline engine is combined with a 17 horsepower electric motor that we could already test in the Forester that we analyzed a few months ago.

Hybrid mechanics

In this case, the Japanese hybrid mechanics has been incorporated into an updated version of the XV model compared to the version we tested a long time ago. This is a “real” SUV in the sense that its off-road-inspired bodywork is not just an aesthetic choice but can be used off-road with plenty of guarantees (as is the case with virtually all Subaru models).

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The XV is not a car with a showy body. Its appearance is that of a compact SUV without any element that suggests that it is a sports car but with a practical and robust aspect. With respect to the previous model, some aesthetic elements have been retouched a lot to modernize its appearance.

At the front, the grille and headlights have been redesigned, which are now more sunken and offset to the sides. The lower air intake is longer and the bumper more prominent. The appearance of the position and fog lights has also been redesigned and the gray protection piece no longer appears below.

Traditional lines

The side line has hardly been modified with the same plastic moldings that cover the wheel arches and the lower part of the car and the same spoiler in black on the tailgate. We also find the load bars on the roof but also in this case the defense of the lower part of the car in gray has been removed.

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At the rear, the light clusters have been modified and extend over the gate and divide into two when the gate is opened. Very similar to the design of the bumper that rises to finish just below the lights. Here it does appear the gray plastic bumper that gives that touch of off-road characteristic of the XV.

In the interior Subaru has also done a job of updating but without sacrificing aesthetics and a choice of materials and austere and practical finishes. One of the details that we liked the most is that the position of the infotainment screen has been raised and the vents are on the sides.

Many screens

It was impossible to raise this screen higher (which happens with other competitive models such as Mazda) because the XV has a second information screen about the operation of the car, which in this case, in addition to the information it gave in the old XV as well. On data from its off-road use, it will also give us information on the operation of the hybrid system.

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We will also have information on the screen found on the panel behind the steering wheel, which by the way has not changed its design with respect to the previous model. Between the two dials we can display data on consumption, mileage and others in addition to showing the car’s operating modes as if we selected, for example, the X-mode that allows us to face slippery terrain.

Regarding the driving position, it is still a comfortable car with very good visibility and with very comfortable seats, which in our case had a synthetic leather finish with a very pleasant touch. The padding is very good, which makes them comfortable even on bumpy routes, and they wrap very well in the curves, not only in the lumbar area but also in the lower support area.

Simple finishes

The finishes, although austere, are very good and with some “frivolous” details such as thread stitching on some leather-covered items such as the seats, the steering wheel, dashboard elements or the gear lever gaiter. Comfortable and practical air conditioning control knobs.

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In the area of ​​the gear lever there is a hole to place the mobile phone somewhat sunk under the dashboard covered with rough rubber with double USB and power connection as well as audio input. Under the armrest we will also find a double USB socket and 12 volt connector, not so for the passengers in the back who do not have ventilation outlets either.

In the back it travels somewhat narrow and in fact the central area of ​​the seat is not too comfortable due to the armrest. However, there is no problem of space both in height and for the legs and in the two side seats the padding is soft and comfortable as in the seats in the front.

Discreet trunk

The trunk has a capacity almost identical to that of the previous model: 385 against 380 of that one. It still sports a very resistant and easy to wash plastic cover that is very practical and although it does not reach the capacity of rivals of a similar category, it is sufficient for luggage and packages under normal conditions.

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One of the highlights of the most current Subaru models is their comprehensive catalog of driver assistance and safety systems. The Eyesight system stands out, which allows analyzing cameras to perform automatic emergency braking, involuntary lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control, all systems that work excellently and are not very intrusive.

But it also has other systems to assist in the event of venturing off the asphalt. In addition to the all-wheel drive, whose operation we can have information on the upper screen, it has the aforementioned X-mode for slippery terrain and the AVH, automatic vehicle retention, and the activation of the automatic retention system on descent.

Good boxer

In action the XV shows some of the benefits of its boxer engine, limiting some of its drawbacks thanks to the behavior of the hybrid system. It seemed to us a very smooth car in its operation thanks to the fact that the electric motor files some of the possible abruptness of the explosion.

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It also seemed quieter to us, perhaps because the hybrid system means that in low speed circumstances, for example, the car does not have to revolutionize so much. The change has seemed good, progressive and with good response, although it is far from what a more sporty automatic change can give but perfect for the use that is given to this car.

On the road the XV feels comfortable, another of Subaru’s hallmarks, whatever the terrain we face, even with potholes. The suspension cushions effectively and, as we have mentioned, the seats also do their part. On twisted terrain it behaves very well without losing face to the curves and always with a noble behavior with margin to enter and exit them at good speed and able to tolerate corrections. To highlight the operation of the brakes even in times of trouble, they are very effective.

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In the city we liked the touch of change and the response, which without being flash is enough and allows us to be agile in traffic. It is a continuous variator change, a technology that does not usually provide a pleasant operation for those who are not used to it, but in this case Subaru has simulated the operation of a traditional box with seven gears (with paddles on the steering wheel by the way) and That feeling of over-revving is not as evident as in other brands.


The evolution of this XV and the incorporation of the hybrid motorization have seemed to us a success by Subaru. As we saw in the Forester, the combination of the boxer engine with the small electric motor has improved its operation, although in reality it does not contribute much in horsepower (actually practically nothing) if it does so by smoothing things out with a contribution similar to the micro hybrid mechanics that they are so fashionable.

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Although some elements look somewhat dated and remains faithful to a sober aesthetic, the XV does not want to be one of those SUVs that inspire sporting passions (neither in performance nor in appearance) but to maintain a tradition of a practical car that I could get off the road without any fear, with lots of advanced assistance and safety systems and surprising ride comfort for a car with an almost Spartan philosophy.

Final evaluation SUMMARY

With this XV Subaru has once again maintained its line of practical cars with off-road skills with its boxer engine now updated to hybrid mechanics that gives good results

Infotainment system8