Subarue XV

Subaru XV review

It’s not particularly pretty and it’s a bit too expensive but the XV is a good move for struggling Subaru.


Subaru XV review
 The XV's rivals will include the Nissan Qashqai and Audi Q3 Photo: SIMON CLAY
 Once it soared higher than the sun, its Pleiades badge affirmed rally championships, promise and, as it turned out, the hubris of Icarus. The portents were there. From a reliable farmers’ vehicle to a design ethos that lost its way, with each new model more lividly repulsive than the last.

These days, not many people want a Subaru. Last year’s sales were half those of 2010 and Porsche sells twice as many cars in Britain. These days a Subaru seems to be driven by young men whose necks have felt both a policeman’s and tattooist’s hands. A Subaru has become, like the old Jaguar Mark 2, an uncouth getaway car.

Perhaps the fightback for this 57-year-old car maker owned by Fuji Heavy Industries starts with the BRZ, an old-school, great-handling sports coupé built by Subaru in co-operation with Toyota (which calls it the GT-86), or with the XV, a crossover SUV claimed as the company’s first foray in this sector – as if we’d forgotten the Tribeca, the Forester or the Outback.

The marketing random-word generator left us knee deep with “City Style” and “Urban Adventures!” Look beyond this folderol, however, and the XV is the sort of compact sports utility aimed mainly at young suburban mums. With a body style that eschews capacity and ground clearance for style, and with no transfer box in the transmission, the XV is unlikely to trouble the Darién Gap or Rubicon Trail, but it should have the gumption to tackle light snow flurries in supermarket car parks.

You might not like these vehicles, but lots of people seem to. Against a European market down 1.2 per cent from January to October, the compact SUV market is up 34 per cent. One estimate suggests that SUV sales are growing so fast that the world will buy 20 million of them a year by 2020.

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