Subaru XV/Crosstrek review 2021: For when an Outback is too big, but a hatch is too small

SUVs based on hatchbacks are all the craze at the moment. But Subaru has a formula they have stuck to for some time – when creating an SUV version of something, make it usable. Unlike most other high-riding hatchbacks, the 2021 Subaru XV has more ground clearance and the ability to actually do some light off-roading. Is it any good? Paul Maric tests it out to see.

G’day i’m paul so we know that subaru loves taking standard cars and then jacking them up a little bit we’ve seen it with the outback and we’re a fan of the outback i think it’s a really nice all-rounder well they’ve also got this it’s called the subaru xv this is based on the impreza but it sits a little bit higher in standard subaru form this one right here in

Australia is called the 2.0 is this is the top specification before you get into the hybrids this is priced at just over 37 000. if that’s a little bit too much you can get into an xv at the base from a little under thirty thousand dollars this competes with things like the hyundai kona the toyota c-hr and the mazda cx-3 today we’re going to do a detailed review

To see if it’s any good if you do want to skip ahead to other parts of this review you can use those time codes up on the screen there or if you’re on youtube just scroll down and you’ll see the chapters below and if you haven’t done so already make sure you hit subscribe and press the bell icon that way you can find out every single time we drive a yellow or

Whatever colored car that is okay let’s talk design so you’ve got nine exterior colors to pick from and they’re all free which is great let me know um do you guys find that information useful how many colors there are we’ll use your feedback to decide whether we include it in future videos or not now in terms of the design of this i have a bit of a soft spot

For these because they buck the trend of suvs and it means that you can have something the size of a hatchback to drive in and around the city but also something that’s versatile enough to use off-road because this is permanent all-wheel drive as well and yes it’s not going to climb mount everest but you can do a bit of light off-roading if you go camping and

Stuff like that now let’s have a look at some of the design highlights so this is obviously quite an outrageous color let me know what color you think it is because here in person it looks yellow but it’s also got like a deep green tinge to it as well so um let me know what you think now in terms of the design you’ve got this grill down the front here that has a

Matte finish on it they haven’t gone to town with chrome here and i think that’s a good thing because it really gives this kind of that rugged look as opposed to being that luxury look but on the same token it still looks nice and classy as well same trend continues down the bottom here where they’ve got that brushed plastic feature over here with the headlights

You have full led headlights with led daytime running lights you’ve got headlight washers these are becoming a little rarer on cars these days and then a fog light down the bottom there if we whip around to the side here you’ve got 18 inch alloy wheels on a highway terrain tyre i really like this design so have a look at how they’ve integrated what looks like

An r into the top there and that’s got that chrome finish on it and then it’s black on the inside so it really makes the cast stand out nicely similar to the outback they’ve got these wheel arch cladding things that basically aren’t uniform so they start small there and then they get wider as they go and then sort of chisel in around the back a lot of you said

That you weren’t really a big fan of those on the outback do you also dislike the treatment here i’m keen to see what you think now if we move around to the side of the car you can see that black highlight continues under that wing mirror there and that cladding continues down the side of the car on the outback you actually have outback written here but on the

Xv they don’t really have anything on there you’ve got these roof rails that sit nicely on top of the car and this top spec also comes with a sunroof privacy glass more wheel arch cladding now if you come around to the rear you’ll see a spoiler up on the top there you’ve got these nice looking tail lights xv badges more of that black cladding with a reflector

Lamp in there and then instead of going with a black diffuser they’ve kind of integrated a diffuser style material here that matches the car’s body color so i like the xv let me know what you think do you think it’s over styled would you rather just get an suv i want to know what your thoughts are okay we’re inside the subaru xv and here is the key you have lock

Unlock boot the unlock is the subaru badge there nothing on the back and then you have like a brushed aluminium section on the side it’s a proximity sensing key so leave that in your pocket and you have a push button start over on this side now what about the styling i think it’s nicely presented all of this stuff is rubber it’s got these sort of stitched inlays

It actually looks pretty nice so this is at the higher end of the price tag for hatchbacks or suv style hatchbacks so you know i think it does actually need to look pretty cool and i think they’ve ticked that box this all looks a little bit complicated with all the screens here but i suspect they’ll end up going down the path of what they’ve done in the new

Outback where you get that big sort of portrait screen not loving all the piano black it’s here here along here around there and as you know piano black marks pretty easily and is a little bit difficult to keep clean at times now what about all the touch points so on the center here that is super soft and then you have soft on the doors there too how soft is

It well we’ve got our durometer we’ve tested the main surfaces in this car if you want to see how this compares to other cars that we’ve tested before use the link in the description about builds quality yeah look that all feels pretty nice and solid i might as well call out while i’m here the uh faux carbon fiber along the doors there very sporty looking let’s

Talk infotainment so this is an eight-inch color infotainment system we have a detailed review of this if you want to click up here you can watch that but today i’ll take you through a brief overview let’s start with the basics that’s your home screen there you have some shortcut buttons directly beneath it and then you can customize these menus in terms of what

Appears and which shortcuts you have on display on the radio front you have am fm dab plus digital radio so full coverage there and in terms of smartphone mirroring you have apple carplay and android auto this is what apple carplay looks like full screen integration nice and high resolution and fairly quick as well let’s have a look at what android auto looks

Like there is it looks nice and sharp yep all very straightforward in terms of other features you’ve got you also have inbuilt satellite navigation and voice recognition keep in mind as well the voice recognition will forward commands through to your phone as well for smarter interpretation now in addition to the infotainment screen you’ve got another screen at

The top there that contains things like the safety systems you’ve got trip computer what the all-wheel drive system is doing um it’s an interesting way of doing things so normally you would just integrate all of that ahead of the driver on the infotainment screen but they’ve moved it up there it seems to work fairly well and it gives you all of the information

You need whenever you need it that’s also where you’re going to find some of the extra cameras that i’ll run you through shortly okay moving on to safety technology so you have low and high speed autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection you have a blind spot assistant built into the wing mirror radar cruise control a lane keeping assistant rear

Cross traffic alert and then you also have a litany of cameras so instead of a 360 degree camera this does it in a slightly interesting way let me show you so if i push the view button on the steering wheel i get to cycle between cameras on the top screen and that’s pretty handy because it means that i’ll be able to figure out where i’m going without having to

Be in reverse and then when you do select reverse you get the side view which helps you with not curving your wheels and then down here on the main camera you get this full reverse screen now this is a really high quality camera so you can see there it’s quite high definition you only get rear parking sensors though there’s no front parking sensors which is a

Bit disappointing but you do get those guidelines there so it is a pretty comprehensive package and i think this is a better implementation than a 360 camera which generally isn’t very high quality this is far more usable and i think that drivers are going to prefer this kind of setup okay so i’m going to interrupt the video just for one second um subaru owners

That are watching this tell me in the comments section below what is subaru ownership like is it good are you happy with them are they doing everything you want them to do what could they do better i’m keen to hear from subaru owners i want to know what the fuss is about the brand moving on to comfort so i forgot to mention earlier that apple carplay and android

Order are both wired so not a wireless setup in terms of connectivity though you have two 2.1 amp usb ports up the front here with an auxiliary input you also have a 12 volt outlet and then if you dive into the center console you have another two 2.1 amp usb ports and another 12 volt outlet so you are fully covered here in terms of your power requirements ready to

Store your things so your phone can easily fit in the cup holders and then it fits down the front there as well there’s like a gripped tab to hold it in coffee cups mmm gotta be careful even though you’ve got teeth they sort of sit quite high and it means you might take the lid off as you go grabbing that and spill coffee everywhere bottle storage bottle easily

Fits in there and then the little retractable lips stop it from coming out then inside the door you also have storage for a bottle and other odds and ends as well the center console itself is massive it’s really nice and deep and you also have plenty of room in there to put your bits and pieces although that won’t quite close but it is quite a big compartment and

Then down here you have the glove box which is fairly decent sized let’s talk comfort so you have dual zone automatic climate control you have heated seats for the first row you have electric seat adjustment for the driver with memory as well in terms of the seats themselves i reckon they’re really cool so the design i love you’ve got those perforated sections in

The center that stops you kind of sticking to the seat on hot days you also get that contrast stitching the seats themselves hug you in nicely and they’re really comfy when you sit in them steering wheel as well you get that um orange highlight in there with the paddle shifters it’s quite a sporty looking steering wheel all of these controls are easy to reach from

The drive seat and you have a big old sunroof here on the top spec as well we’re in the backseat of the xv let’s talk about space so i’ve got a pretty decent amount of knee room heaps of toe room and head room is okay it’s a little compromised off to the side there but keep in mind this seats quite far back so i’m surprised at how much leg room i actually have

Here compared to some of the small suvs on the market in terms of creature comforts let’s have a look so you’ve got a center armrest there with two cupholders pop your bottle in there you’ve also got bottle storage in the doors as well there’s no center air vents or usb charging here which is a little bit disappointing you do get map pockets or map pocket rather

Just here i was expecting to see one there now the interesting thing here is yes you have iso fix points on the two outboard seats but you have to construct this seat belt yourself basically for the center passenger so i don’t love that system i just wish they had like a normal seat belt set up and it is also worth pointing out you get that same seat design so

You get those perforations and also the highlight stitching just here one of the downsides to this not being an suv is that you don’t get a great deal of cargo space no power tailgate either uh just here you’ve got a little over 300 liters of cargo space and visually you can tell that there isn’t a huge amount of room there so i’ll show you what it looks like with

The bags in a sec you’ve got a little light on the side there got some hooks and then beneath the cargo floor you have a space saver spare tyre let’s drop our bags in see what that looks like there’s one so that doesn’t fit long ways but sideways it fits in and then if you do need a little bit more room you can ditch that look at that i’ve made that completely

Dirty my wife would be unimpressed you can drop this then and that expands the space to just over 750 liters so what is the subaru xv like to drive we’ll start off with what is powering this and it is a two liter naturally aspirated petrol engine it makes 115 kilowatts of power and 196 newton meters of torque now if that doesn’t sound like much that’s because it

Isn’t much so the reason i laugh a little bit there is because one of the biggest issues we’ve had with this car previously is that it was always just a little bit gutless and that’s kind of what’s happening here it’s all mated to a continuously variable transmission which means it has no defined gears yes you can put it into a manual mode where it has a set number

Of gear ratios but for the most part if you nail it it will just make a whole bunch of noise and sit within its peak talk band if i do that now yeah i think it’s safe to say that the speed is leisurely rather than fast so you’re not really going to notice that when you’re in the car on your own but if you do have friends in the car and you’ve got it loaded up with

Gear it’s probably going to become a little bit more evident subaru claims a combined fuel economy of seven liters per 100ks let’s see what we’re sitting at 7.3 hey that’s not too bad so that’s pretty much bang on the official claim yes it is a smaller engine which means it’s not going to have as much punch but the upshot is that not going to use a great deal of

Fuel while you’re driving around you’ve only got two drive modes to pick from and you select them here on the steering wheel you have your standard mode and then one push of that button puts it into si drive you can see the revs climb immediately and then when i get on the throttle it’s more eager to jump up and give me more revs so that is an easy transition

Between those modes subaru claims a 0 to 100 time of 10.4 seconds we put it up against our stopwatch and this is how it went let’s move on to ride now this is one of the things that i praised the subaru outback 4. now if you want to watch our subaru outback review click up here to watch that one i praised the outback for its ride because it was just really

Well tuned really nice and compliant and just handled country roads well it’s a similar story here in the xv it just feels nice and compliant it’s not too firm it’s not too soft it’s right there in the middle and it means that when you are soaking up some country miles like this everything feels nice and comfortable there is though quite a bit of tyre noise and

You’ll notice it more when you’re on the course chip sections of road it just comes into the cabin and it can be a little bit unpleasant but if you turn the stereo up it drowns a little bit of that out let’s talk handling so sits a little bit higher but it doesn’t really affect its handling it tucks in nicely through corners and the big advantage of this car over

Some other cars in this segment is that it’s permanent all-wheel drive which means you get that little bit of extra traction compared to an on-demand or a front-wheel drive car turning circle comes in at 10.8 meters that’s actually pretty decent for a permanent all-wheel drive and it means that with a bit of luck you won’t have to be doing any three-point turns

Anytime soon on the visibility front i can see clearly down the front there i have the blind spot monitor built into the wing mirror visibility out the rear is excellent it’s a really big envelope there so there’s clear vision out the rear and for the most part this is easy to park thanks to that camera setup that pops up on the screen there that’s going to come

In really handy if you’re not entirely confident with parking okay so i thought given it’s an xv we should do a little bit of light off-roading in it um but i’m not going to send it down the rocks because every like four-wheel drive we take down there it hits beneath it and i think that it might just rip the whole sump out of this and we’ll end up with a subaru xv

That doesn’t really work but i’ve got this little course here so it’s got a seesaw that’ll send us up 25 degrees and then it has an offset mogul which will test how the all-wheel drive system works and test where the traction control can manage itself now in terms of the actual stats you have ground clearance of 220 millimeters you have an approach angle of 18

Degrees which is the angle of the face you can approach before you hit anything that’s actually quite little compared to something like a dual cab ute which is also part of the reason you don’t want to be doing anything too crazy in this because you will hit all of the plastic on the front there the departure angle of 27 degrees is actually pretty reasonable if

You want a better idea of what all those things mean and how four wheel drive controls work click up here to watch a video we recorded previously that explains it all to you and given this is a permanent all-wheel drive it should actually handle this fairly easily you do have x modes as well so these are drive modes for off-road driving so i’ve popped that on to

Snow and dirt we’ve got all of our things set up there actually i can actually feel the hill descent control has automatically activated let’s see how we go here nice little bit of tilt there i’m liking that it’s actually it’s funny because it feels like i’m gonna fall out of the car here okay here’s our crossover old cars see-sawing there as we roll forward and

Then go up the other side now at the other end of this when we get to the offset mogul we’re going to have two tyres effectively in the air and it’s going to try and use the traction control to give itself enough movement to get out of there so right now we have a tyre completely off the ground just going to lay into the throttle gently that is so cool that’s

Actually getting out of there without any dramas fantastic so that is a sign of a really good all-wheel drive system i can see how it’s responding to it all up the top there even dual cab utes when they don’t have the rear diff lock running they struggle to get out of situations like this so really impressive there that the xv can do light off-roading but stuff

That could see some dual-cab youth stuck if they don’t have the four-wheel drive modes and diff locks activated so really impressive for a standard vehicle so you’re probably going to think i’m weird for liking the subaru xv as much as i do but i don’t know i’m just really impressed that you can drive it in and around the city and then if you do a little bit of

Off-roading it can do that as well the off-road system and the sorry the all-wheel drive system rather is really capable it has 220 ml of ground clearance which means has about as much ground clearance as most dual cab utes do as well so you’re going to be able to clear most of the things that they do and because it’s permanent all-wheel drive you’ve got that

Reassurance that it’s not really going to get stuck in anything that i guess isn’t too serious and you can do a lot of mods to these as well to bring them up a little higher fit them with all-terrain tyres if you do want to do something a little more in-depth but it is let down by one critical feature and that is the engine the 2-liter just i don’t know it’s okay

If you’re on your own but the second you load it up and you know put your things on the roof and whatever you want to do it starts getting a little bit sluggish so i would love to see this available with the two and a half liter out of the outback or even a turbocharged engine i think that would make this such a compelling package don’t bother with the hybrid it

Is pretty much as bad as the forester hybrid which we’re really not a fan of but if you can get away with the engine and you’re not too fussed by that this is a really good package so let me know what you think of the comments section below if you did enjoy this video please make sure you hit the like button share it with your friends and if you haven’t done so

Already hit subscribe on our channel but always keen for your feedback but until next time take it easy

Transcribed from video
Subaru XV/Crosstrek review 2021: For when an Outback is too big, but a hatch is too small! By CarExpert