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0 - 60 mphFalses
WLTP - CO2180 g/km
By Jonathan Crouch
From 2021 onwards, Subaru's XV mid-sized SUV focused on self-charging hybrid power and featured a light facelift to keep it competitive in its segment. The e-Boxer engine allowed this full hybrid crossover to directly take on segment models like Toyota's C-HR, Kia's Niro and Hyundai's Kona hybrid, cars that by 2021 already had this technology. For a little more money, this Subaru offers more space, much more capability but a little less efficiency.
5dr SUV (2.0 CVT e-Boxer)
For years, Subaru's have sold on tough, no-nonsense virtues - like practicality and go-anywhere 4WD. If that meant they weren't quite as efficient as rivals, then so be it. But customers aren't quite so forgiving in the modern era. Even something very capable needs to have a degree of electrified efficiency in today's market, hence back in 2021 the need for the Fuji Heavy Industries brand to introduce its e-Boxer full-hybrid engine. By then we'd already seen this unit in the company's Forester mid-sized SUV, but we look at it here in the brand's more compact XV crossover model. This second generation XV was first introduced in 2018, then the eBoxer engine was introduced in 2019. The XV was lightly facelifted in early 2021, at which point the decision was taken to focus only on the e-Boxer hybrid-engined variant. The XV e-Boxer can't be plugged in, but it is a proper self-charging hybrid. In contrast to the mild hybrid engines that were marketed in this period by Ford and Volkswagen Group brands which feature powerplants that can't at any time run independently on battery power, so are nothing like as efficient as full-hybrids. The XV eBoxer sold until late 2023, when it was facelifted and re-named the Crosstrek.
What You Get
The XV e-Boxer benefitted from a revised front grille design for the 2021 update, featuring an active grille shutter. The exterior received other discreet upgrades, including a smart fog lamp bezel which surrounds the LED fog lights. Inside this e-Boxer model, it's just as in any other XV. In the centre of the instrument panel lies an 8.0-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system, with the usual smartphone connectivity via Subaru's Starlink media system. Other manufacturers would also build the various vehicle informational functions you'll need into such a monitor, but here Subaru continued to prefer to separate these into a separate smaller colour screen at the top of the centre stack. From this display, you can oversee the various 'EyeSight' safety systems, plus there's a clock, a compass, trip computer read-outs and a useful off road-orientated screen that shows you the current body angle and the ongoing status of the Symmetrical 4WD system. Anything that both these main monitors can't tell you will probably be covered off by the further screen that sits between the two clear instrument dials that you view through the tactile three-spoke multi-function steering wheel. Accessibility to the back is helped by doors that open wider than those fitted to many competitor models. Once inside, Subaru talks of room for three adults, but the high centre transmission tunnel will make that difficult to achieve on all but the shortest journeys. It'll be fine for three children though. Out back, there's a 340-litre boot which is pretty compact for this size of car, but fold the rear seats down and things improve quite a lot, with 765-litres on offer - or 1,173-litres if you load to the roof.
What You Pay
Prices for this facelifted post-2021-era XV eBoxer start at around £21,550 (around £24,500 retail) for a typical 'SE' variant on a '21-plate, with values rising to around £26,500 (around £28,500 retail) for one of the last late-2023 XV models. Add on around £1,100 for plusher 'Premium' spec in either case. All quoted values are sourced through industry experts cap hpi. Click here for a free valuation.
What to Look For
The underpinnings of the XV are shared with the Impreza, so it's about as tough as that suggests. Don't go searching for a spare wheel, as this XV doesn't come with one, which seems a bit of an omission for a car that proclaims its off-road ability. The eBoxer engine gets top results for durability and the running gear is also bombproof. Keep an eye out for signs of overzealous off-road action, which usually means hedge scrapes in the paintwork, chewed alloy wheels, dented exhaust boxes and possibly misaligned suspension. The interior has proven hardwearing, although the dashboard mouldings can creak and rattle.
(approx based on a 2021 XV eBoxer - Ex Vat) An oil filter is in the £4 bracket. An air filter is in the £23-£35 bracket. Front brake pads are around £77: rear brake pads sit in the £43 bracket. A wiper blade is around £9. Shock absorbers sit in the £81-£203 bracket. A radiator sits in the £111-£177 bracket. A thermostat is in the £11-£65 bracket.
On the Road
The engine here is the brand's familiar normally aspirated 150PS 2.0-litre Boxer petrol unit, sending power to all four wheels via a CVT belt-driven auto transmission. But what's different here is that it's assisted by a 16bhp electric motor built into that Lineartronic gearbox, the motor powered by small battery under the boot floor. That's enough for all electric driving at speeds of up to 25mph. The electric assistance doesn't have much impact on performance - rest to 60mph takes 10.7s on the way to a top speed of 120mph. More significantly, peak pulling power isn't delivered until 4,000rpm, so the engine needs to be stretched quite a lot if you want to make any significant progress and the 'rubber band' characteristics of the CVT auto gearbox can be a further impediment to rapid progress. Still, all will be forgiven when you get this car off road. There's a decent 220mm of ground clearance and as usual with Subaru, a Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system that'll get you to places that other volume brand four-wheel drive mid-sized crossovers would struggle to reach. The e-Boxer's electric motor is used to help improve off-road ability, providing extra low-down pulling power when 'X-Mode' is selected using a rotary dial on the dash. This means the car can take on steep slopes and descents, shuffling power between its various wheels. Subaru says the XV can lean over at up to 30-degrees, an unheard-of stat for a car of this kind. For this updated model, Subaru introduced enhanced 'X-MODE 'and 'SI-Drive' functions to give drivers reliable control at the push of a button. 'X-MODE' features a dual function button to select 'SNOW/DIRT' mode for slippery surfaces covered with snow, dirt, or gravel. Or a 'SNOW/MUD' mode for especially treacherous road conditions where vehicles can become easily stuck, such as deep snow or dirt. There's also a drive mode system - 'Subaru Intelligent Drive' '(SI-Drive') -which allows the driver to select engine and transmission characteristics according to their driving style. Select 'Sport' mode for immediate throttle response or 'Intelligent ' mode for more fuel-efficient power delivery.
We'd hoped the e-Boxer engineering on offer here might be more transformative to the XV than it actually was. The gains in efficiency brought by this switch to a degree of electrified power weren't huge - and certainly weren't big enough to offset the weight penalty the XV had over obvious mid-sized volume brand crossover rivals. But it has that weight penalty because it has a far more sophisticated and capable 4WD system than those competitors can offer. The brand's Symmetrical All Wheel Drive set-up is this car's biggest draw. Most alternatives in this class from this era don't offer 4WD at all, except sometimes on ridiculously pricey variants. And even then, it simply won't get you the places this Subaru can go. If you live out in the country or you regularly tow, that's going to be a huge attraction if you're shopping for this class of car. And if you are, fact that Subaru can here offer it with a modicum of extra efficiency will be welcome news.
Whilst every effort is made to verify and ensure the accuracy of the data, the information should only be used as a guide and no purchasing decision should be made without verification of the data from either the manufacturer or franchised dealer. Our offers may be on a different model year to that represented by this data and so specification may differ accordingly.
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Based on 48 month contract and 5,000 miles per year. Initial rental of £4,236.55 followed by 47 monthly rentals of £470.73. Processing fee £298.80 Inc VAT. All prices Inc VAT . Excess mileage charges may apply if contract mileage is exceeded. Fair wear and tear charges may apply at end of contract.
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