Pros and Cons: 2022 Subaru XV facelift, driving sophistication at the cost of space

Sanjay · Mar 5, 2022 10:00 AM

Pros and Cons: 2022 Subaru XV facelift, driving sophistication at the cost of space 01

To an extent, the 'default' choices in Malaysia's price-sensitive compact SUV market are pretty predictable: you'll usually hear of the Honda HR-V, Proton X50, and the Toyota Corolla Cross. We applaud those who mention the 2022 Subaru XV EyeSight, because this relatively left-field choice is one not to be missed if you're in the market for a new SUV.

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Squeezing in late last year, the facelifted model (still locally-assembled, CKD Segambut) receives a fair few goodies, most notable of which is standard ADAS. Prices start from RM 139,788 to RM 146,788 (inclusive SST discount until 30-June 2022), and we'll weigh what's hot and what's not with it in this entry.

Pros and Cons: 2022 Subaru XV facelift, driving sophistication at the cost of space 01

Pros:

  • Smooth powertrain, excellent ride
  • True 'SUV character' with AWD
  • Good features, full ADAS as standard

Cons:

  • Biggest dealbreaker is lack of space
  • No rear-aircond vents
  • Fuel consumption is not the best

Pro #1: Smooth powertrain, excellent ride

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Flat engine helps with reducing car's centre of gravity, thereby improving maneuvarability

The lack of a turbo and a CVT-automatic combo may not sound the most 'Subaru' thing in our turbo-SUV era – especially with just 156 PS and 196 Nm – but the XV's strengths lie elsewhere.

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Pros and Cons: 2022 Subaru XV facelift, driving sophistication at the cost of space 04

It's the definition of what buttery smooth means. The compact flat-four (Boxer) engine is quiet, and plays well to the Lineartronic gearbox which is tuned to a be little quick off the line, but smooth otherwise.

Putting your foot down is seamless, without any awkward judders or jerks.

Also read: Are boxer engines overrated? – Pros and cons of boxer engines

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All of these is further complemented by top-notch sound insulation and a very supple ride. How it handles is another plus point (below) but as far as comfort is concerned, the XV absorbs ruts and rough roads a fair bit better than conventional rivals do.

Pro #2: True SUV nature with AWD

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The brilliant Subaru Global Platform (SGP) underpins the car, and like most models in the brand's catalogue the XV gets the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system.

No, marketing creatives, it's not love. What makes a Subaru, a Subaru is AWD.

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Dual X-Mode presents Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud settings. Don't think otherwise, what they do can be plenty useful on certain Malaysian conditions too

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Petal-like 17-inch wheels are a GT Edition item, as is the bodykit

In practical terms this translates to better traction during less-than-ideal conditions, and a steady-footedness most front-wheel drive rivals can't quite push in demanding driving situations.

Also read: Mazda CX-30 vs Subaru XV – Want to buy a compact SUV that also drives well? Look no further

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Great handling, at the cost of manufacturing complexity and...er, cost

But this is also due to a combination of factors, including an eager steering wheel, lower centre of gravity, and multi-link suspension at the back, of which it's the sole car among segment rivals that has it.

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Sure, there's real-world benefits to it, but it's also psychologically reassuring to know that the SUV you have can genuinely do 'Sports Utility' things like getting out of a pinch, or just heading out to the woods for a weekend without having to rent another vehicle.

Also read: Subaru's boxer engine and symmetrical AWD, worth paying more?

Pros #3: Good features, including full ADAS as standard

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Leather seats are also a GT Edition-only thing. Regular variant gets fabric seats

Though it’s true you are paying comparatively more than most competitors for a car of this size, the XV sweetens the deal with niceties like 8-way, power-adjustable (with memory) driver seat, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, and a drive mode selector.

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EyeSight uses a stereo-camera setup

But the real good stuff is that the EyeSight active safety suite (ADAS) is standard, bundling features such as: 

  • Pre-collision braking
  • Adaptive cruise control with and stop & go (0-180 km/h)
  • Pre-collision throttle management
  • Lead vehicle start alert
  • Lane sway warning
  • Lane departure warning

Also read: Understanding the Forester's and XV’s Subaru Global Platform

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Pros and Cons: 2022 Subaru XV facelift, driving sophistication at the cost of space 14

Monitor on top of the dashboard reads vitals, also elevates the interior ambiance

EyeSight is right up there at the top as one of the better-calibrated ADAS for Malaysia. The XV's adaptive cruise contro's stop and go function brakes gently, and with its electronic parking brake (EPB), setting off just needs one button press or a simple tap of the accelerator (looking at you, Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid).

Con #1: Tight space is a dealbreaker

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Pros and Cons: 2022 Subaru XV facelift, driving sophistication at the cost of space 16

This by far is the XV's biggest Achilles heel: space. It's a bit hard to overlook its packaging issues, as beautiful as it is to drive.

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Faisal is 178 cm tall, giving him 1 tennis ball of headroom, and two for legroom

Space in the second row is just about enough for two adults, with average legroom but tighter-than-standard headroom. A family of four might find this to be a problem (especially if there's taller members), and that's even before their luggage is involved.

Also read: 2020 Honda HR-V vs 2020 Subaru XV - Which is more comfortable?

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That's it. Under the boot floor is a space-saver tyre. Finding a place to fit the tonneau cover rail (once removed) robs even more space

Cargo space is also an issue, with just 385 litres to play with, its much smaller than the Corolla Cross' and HR-V's 440 and 437 litres, respectively.

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Small aperture and tall boot means putting heavier things can be a bit harder than it needs to be

There's also a relatively higher distance between the boot and the ground, which means fitting larger items gets rather exertive. I tried fitting in a bicycle, but the complexity (okay...and the fear of nicking the white paint) meant that I best just get a bike rack for next time.

Cons #2: No rear air-cond vents

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Forget USB ports too

Turns out most of the XV's weakpoints are in the cabin, with one being its space, and two the lack of rear air-conditioning vents. Even harder to overlook is the fact that every major rival in its segment comes with them.

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As consolation, the front gets dual-zone air-conditioning, but having a seperate set of blowers for the rear passengers could've at least taken some sting off the tight space at the back.

Cons #3: AWD hurts fuel consumption

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RON 95 is enough for even Boxer engines

‘With great grip comes higher fuel consumption’ is an adage that unfortunately rings inherently true. It’s expected - the system is heavier, and there's extra mechanical resistance.

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Right on the money

Much is the same with the XV, which, in our hands, returned 9 litres/100 km, mixed between equal parts city and highway routes.

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Yes, it one-ups the X50 (10.2 litres/100 km), but the XV still loses to the HR-V (7 litres/100 km), and obviously the Corolla Cross Hybrid (5.7 litres/100km) which can be had for slightly cheaper.

Also read: Pros and Cons: Almost perfect, the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is why good is good enough

Conclusion: It's one to be experienced

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If you have RM 150k to sign off on an SUV, you are in the right place at the right time. Choices are plenty, and it's all just down to what you look for in your daily driver.

Also read: Subaru XV facelift vs Toyota Corolla Cross in Malaysia: Practicality isn't the only yardstick

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Really, the XV is one that needs to be experienced before you make a decision. Perhaps on paper it may have things that you think you wouldn't need, but try it out first because sometimes, that's how everything makes sense.

Sanjay

Senior Writer

With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.

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2019 Subaru XV 2.0i

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