Skid Marks

All-new Subaru XV: unpark your life


The Subaru XV is Motor Image Pilipinas contender in the compact crossover segment.

Taipei, Taiwan—The cross-over segment in the Philippines is booming.

Due to, and despite fears of the increase in excise taxes, the industry is heating up as buyers want to take advantage of low interest rates, a huge plethora of choice, and the latest in safety and performance aiding technology.

Subaru, a brand long known to offer unique and exciting vehicles, recently unveiled its latest contender in the compact cross-over segment—and it’s a real winner.

Motor Image Pilipinas, the sole authorized distributor for Subaru vehicles in the Philippines, recently brought members of the Philippine motoring media to Taipei, Taiwan to witness the unveiling of the latest, second-generation Subaru XV, as well as give the motoring media some seat time behind the wheel of the XV on a variety of surfaces, from simulated off-road trails and obstacles, to a rally-style dirt auto-cross track, and on a paved but very slippery surface—just to see how vastly improved the latest XV is.

The all-new second-generation Subaru XV rides on the brand’s latest Subaru global platform, dubbed the billion dollar platform as development and R&D cost reached 10 figures.

This new platform, however, has vastly increased torsional rigidity in the order of 70 percent, with an increase in energy absorption on impact by as much as 40 percent over its predecessor.

Despite the increase in size and improvement in safety, the overall curb weight of the XV remains comparable to its predecessor.

It has been awarded 5 stars in overall crash safety by the Japan NCAP, and has received a special safety award from the same institution, thanks to the first-ever pedestrian airbag.

Unfortunately, this feature won’t be offered in our local market for now.

The engine is a revised flat-four or boxer engine that now features direct fuel injection, giving a useful bump in power to 156 hp and 196 Nm of torque, but crucially improves fuel efficiency as well as reduces exhaust emissions.

The upgraded power plant is mated to a revised Lineartronic CVT transmission that has been tweaked to provide seven simulated forward gears with a lower final drive to improve acceleration and response.

And for the first time, the XV now comes equipped with X-mode, Subaru’s advanced off-road assistance software that should see the XV improve its off-road performance on light to medium off-road trails and loose surfaces, aided by the impressive 220-mm overall ground clearance.

The Subaru XV is tested on the dirt-covered autocross track.

The previous XV was engineered to a cost, and the interior was the most obvious compromise made.

Second was the noticeable engine and tire noise inside the cabin on the highway.

Thankfully, the new XV features a far more refined interior with better quality materials.

It is essentially a Subaru Impreza’s interior, very upscale and upmarket from the previous model, but features more interior accoutrements and orange stitching in place of the Impreza’s grey/silver stitching.

For the 2.0iS variant, There is an 8-inch LCD touchscreen display that forms the heart of the multimedia infotainment system incorporating Apple Carplay and Bluetooth Telephony.

The base 2.0i variant makes do with a smaller 6.5-inch LCD display.

Safety is also of paramount importance as Subaru aims to be an industry leader in safety in a few years.

Aside from the solid chassis, the XV comes standard with seven airbags (front, side and curtain plus knee airbags for the driver), ABS-EBD brakes with emergency brake assist and VDC (Vehicle Dynamics Control), an integrated traction and stability control that also aids to quell under or oversteer.

It’s interesting to note that these safety features are available on both 2.0i and 2.0iS variants.

Inside, the XV truly feels up-market: aside from the vastly improved interior, all surfaces feature soft, pliant materials.

Space has increased noticeably, especially the second row seats.

The view from the driver’s seat has also improved with reduced blind spots from the A-pillar, and a wide, expansive view of the road ahead.

The power-adjusted driver’s seat features 12-way adjustment, and the steering wheel has both reach and rake adjustment, giving you a much better driving position.

Our first course was the simulated obstacle/off-road trail. The XV was made to go up a simulated slippery incline which would test the X-Mode’s ability to apportion torque to wheels with grip.

In this case, the XV had grip only on the front passenger tire and rear driver’s side tire, and would switch to the front driver’s tire and rear passenger tire.

Keep on the throttle gently, and the XV’s X-Mode would automatically shuffle torque to whichever wheel with grip and traction.

The descent tested the XV’s impressive automatic hill-descent control, which kept the speed at a steady 3-5 km/h.

Next was the axle twister or moguls that highlighted the individual axle articulation as well as chassis rigidity.

This was then followed by a short but very rough high-speed section, which further tested the chase rigidity and the suspension’s well-balanced compromise of compliance and control.

In the high-speed section, the XV showed impressive NVH isolation and confident progress despite the rough surface.

The last section was the inclined ramp, which again showed chassis rigidity as well as X-Mode’s ability to shuffle power left and right, front and back up to as much as 30 degrees of inclination.

The second course was the dirt-covered autocross track. This was arguably the most enjoyable of the three courses, as we were able to get the XV to maintain long lurid slides on the dirt-covered surface and yet allowed us to maintain full control, thanks to predictable responsiveness from the impressive steering and symmetrical AWD system’s automatic torque distribution.

This course demonstrated the XV’s ability to cover ground rapidly on a loose surface with varying degrees of traction.

The third and final course was similar to the dirt-to-cross track, except it was a paved surface but had oil thrown liberally in different parts to simulate sudden rain at highway speeds.

We were able to go as fast as possible, at some parts exceeding 100 km/h despite going through quick chicanes and esses with oil on the road.

The XV was made to go up a simulated slippery incline which would test the X-Mode’s ability
to apportion torque to wheel swith grip.

The XV maintained its composure and grace under duress, handling quick transitions and sudden braking with ease and confidence, and all this time we were four full-sized adults on-board.

The all-new Subaru XV has grown up, evolved and improved further.

Styling is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but majority of customer design clinics worldwide preferred the old XV’s current looks.

The new Subaru global platform offered increased levels of refinement, stability and safety, and the new interior is truly upmarket, a huge departure from its predecessor.

With the key words “dynamic” and “solid” built into the XV and in the image it wants to project, the all-new Subaru XV is more capable, enjoyable, versatile and practical to drive.
Expect deliveries to begin in Q3 of 2017.

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