Small crossovers in the Philippines are dime a dozen. In fact, when you’re looking for a subcompact crossover, you will have to choose between the entry-level ones (the Nissan Juke category) that are pretty much hatchbacks on stilts, or the pricier class (the Honda HR-Vtypes) that offer more modern features and better build quality.
However, all-wheel-drive crossovers are quite few, with only three models going head-to-head in this class: the Mazda CX-3, SsangYong Tivoli XLV, and Subaru XV. For this review, we’ll look into the lower 2.0i variant of the XV.
I’ve driven the top-of-the-line, non-EyeSight XV before and I can tell you, it’s a great car that has a plethora of convenient features. Will the base variant offer the same pleasure with P200,000 off of the price tag? Read along.
Aesthetically, the base XV isn’t far from the range-topper. All the things that make the XV one of Subaru’s best-sellers are found on the entry variant except for four things: the steering-responsive LED headlamps with auto-levelizer, LED daytime running lights, pop-up headlamp washers, and 18-inch “Ninja Star” wheels.
Instead, the XV 2.0i gets projector halogens and 17-inch Y-spoke rims that don’t look bad at all. Combined with its class-leading 220mm ground clearance and rubber under-cladding, it makes this crossover look tough and ready for unforgiving Philippine roads. Of note, the XV’s ground clearance is almost as high, if not higher, than those of midsize SUVs.
All is well at this point, save one: the base XV could use better-looking DRLs. The yellow ones aren’t that great in my opinion.
Nevertheless, what I appreciate best with Subaru is that all color options are available regardless of the variant. That means, you can get the Cool Grey Khaki-colored XV even if you opt for the base 2.0i, and quite frankly, I love it. It neutralizes the rather tough-looking exterior, and a refreshing sight to see on the road. It’s like when Batista wears a pastel-colored shirt – kind of tames the personality a bit.
While you’ll be missing only a few bits on the base XV’s exterior when compared to the range-topper, there’s a number of downgrades inside, which is pretty normal since it’s cheaper.
But, the cost-cutting isn’t extensive, as you might expect with that price difference. The whole interior is clad with orange-stitched leather, along with some soft plastics and pseudo-carbon fiber prints. It’s a good look, except maybe for the shiny piano-black parts found on the gear shifter knob and infotainment system housing. I’m not really a fan of this material since it’s prone to scratches.
You’ll also need to settle for a less-appealing and smaller entertainment system (6.5-inches, to be exact) but the sound that goes out from the six speakers is decent for my ears, so I’ll give that a pass. It needs an update, though, as it lags sometimes. The multi-information display on top of the dashboard is now monochrome, as well as the trip meter between the analog gauges. Not really an eye-candy, but again, understandable with the price cut.
The automatic climate control with its tactile knobs is still there but it’s now single zone, which isn’t a huge demerit. At the rear seats, you have ISOFIX child seat tethers and foldable center armrest with cupholders. Overall, the whole look of the interior, especially the dashboard, is indeed a downgrade from the range-topper, but still better when compared to its rivals.
That previous statement holds true for the XV’s cabin and trunk space. Since it’s the biggest in its class, you’ll never run short of wiggle room for passengers, while loading cargo is easy with the lipless bay and rear seats that fold flat, maximizing the 1,240L of space.
The ample interior space is partnered with notable ride comfort, thanks largely to solid road noise isolation and soft McPherson (front) and double wishbone (rear) suspension setup, which are rampant among crossovers. Although, I must say, the suspension is still the same as the higher variant even with its smaller tires – a bit bouncy for my liking.
The best part of the XV 2.0i is its unchanged performance – the 2.0L horizontally-opposed Boxer gasoline engine lies low within the bonnet and puts out 154 hp and 196 Nm of torque. This is the same exact engine found in the high-end XV variants and the Impreza 2.0i-S, including the compression ratio and lineartronic CVT that actively sends power to all four wheels.
With that, even with 19-kg weight difference from the compact sedan, the XV behaves just like the Impreza. It’s not as punchy as a speed-hunter would want it to be, but the CVT sends power quickly to give you just enough pull whenever you need it. It’s reactive, but not too much, and that translates to a balance between comfort and spirited drive. It also has paddle shifters, so whenever you want to toggle the seven simulated gears manually, you can certainly do so. Out in the open, the XV is a great cruiser and a pleasure to drive at fast paces.
Since the XV 2.0i is 39-kg lighter than the 2.0i-S, it handles a little better than the high-end variant. With its all-wheel drive system, every command thrown at the steering wheel is commnuicated to the road politely. On city drives, the steering feels light as well, so tight maneuvers aren’t a problem at all, except maybe when backing down. Parking sensors would have been a great feature to have especially with this crossover’s size. Good thing it has electronic parking brake, which is a heaven-sent feature during stop-and-go situations.
The less weight was also a merit for the XV’s fuel efficiency. It registered impressive numbers: highway drives with cruise control nailed at 90 km/h clocked in 20.4 km/L, while city traverse in heavy traffic read 7.2 km/L. Faster paces averaging 60 km/h registered 12.4 km/L. These figures are better than the 2.0i-S, mind you.
Now, do the XV’s height and might mean that this car is a legitimate off-roader? No. It’s not a full-fledged SUV and still has a monocoque body construction, which means it’s vulnerable to torsional flexes and damages, no matter how rigid they claim the all-new Subaru Global Platform is. But going over curbs, wading through shin-deep floods, and rampaging through unpaved roads were a piece of cake with this crossover, moreso with its X-Mode that took over the car on challenging terrains.
Truth is, the Subaru XV 2.0i is a solid choice if you’re in the market for subcompact crossovers. At P1,418,000, you get a good-looking car with great driving dynamics, coupled with notable fuel consumption and essential tech features. Yes, it places a setback when it comes to some interior amenities but honestly, it isn’t hard to turn a blind eye on those few things. Just make sure to get this in Cool Grey Khaki because it’s really, uh, cool.
And oh, you know what else is cool? Speed-sensing door locks. If Subaru can add them to the next version of this car, that would be great.
154 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Subaru XV 2.0i CVT
Number of Cylinders
Number of Valves
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
Max Output (HP)
154 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Max Torque (nm)
196 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
Economy & Environment
7.3 L/100 km
Number of Doors
Number of Seats
Safety & Security
Front Passenger's Airbag
Electronic Brake Distribution
4-sensor / 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist System
Electronic Door Locks
Speed Sensing Door Locks
Lane Departure Warning System
Blind-Spot Detection System
Front Parking Sensors
Rear Parking Sensors
Push Start Button
Wheels Metal Type
Automatic Air-conditioning System with Anti-dust Filter
6.2-inch touchscreen audio via 6 speakers
Aux-in, Bluetooth, USB, and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
3 Years (100,000 km)
Electric Adjustable Seats
Steering Wheel Audio Control
Active Park Assist
Hill Start Assist
Active Torque Split S-AWD
Tire Pressure Monitoring
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